5 Reasons Why I Reply To All of My Blog Comments & Why You Should Too
December 31, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park
As an aspiring “A-list blogger”, you try so hard to get people to comment on your posts. You ask questions, you install the Top Commentator plugin, you run contests and offer incentives, and you even beg and plead others to leave a message. In fact, you do anything and everything to pump up comments on your blog. Sound familiar?
Let’s say that your efforts pay off and someone actually comments on your post… now what? Do you celebrate and write another blog post?
So many times I see bloggers focusing on getting comments and feedback that they fail to realize that a blog is a tool for real interaction. They forget why they wanted the comments in the first place. These bloggers are so self-absorbed that they don’t see the valuable feedback and relationship building opportunities right in front them. Instead, blogging to them is merely a game where they write a soliloquy and judge it based on the number of comments it gets. Is this you? I hope not.
A blog comment represents the attention of a reader and potential customer. It’s essentially a lead. Someone is actually interested in what you have to say, but you have to seal the deal and convert them into a sale (i.e. loyal readers, subscribers, buyers). However, a lot of times bloggers fail to react and go the distance. They drop the ball when it matters most.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic here, but I hope you get my point. Responding to all of your blog comments is a good practice and can help you to develop a community on your blog and grow your readership of loyal fans.
Honestly, it can be a difficult task to keep up with your blog comments and respond to every single one of them (I still have a bunch in queue I need to attend to). If you get a large number of comments for every post you write, coming up with replies could take hours and is usually not feasible. However, if you have a small or medium-sized audience and get 1-25 comments per post, then you can really benefit from taking this approach. WordPress 2.7 comes with threaded comments now so your job is even easier.
So why exactly should you respond to every blog comment you get? Here are my reasons.
1. Develop a community of loyal readers
Replying to individual comments shows your readers that you value their feedback. If you demonstrate that you listen and that the opinions of your readers matter, then you’ll have a strong community of loyal followers at your hands. Like I said, a blog is a tool for social interaction and building key relationships in your industry should be a big priority. What better place to do it than on your own blog? Go the extra mile and reply to your readers’ comments, even if you’re just saying thanks. You reap what you sow – one reply at a time.
2. Expand on points that you didn’t cover in your post
If you’re writing interesting posts, the comments that you get from your readers will be filled with valuable feedback, questions, and unique perspectives. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a commentator to unveil a different point of view that you didn’t think about in your original post. You can touch upon these additional thoughts in your responses and offer your own opinions. In other words, your blog posts get better because people add to them and put them to the test. By responding, you solidify your points or defend your arguments – which is necessary if you want to be perceived as an expert.
3. Be accessible, work on your personal branding
Being the guy (or gal) who is always accessible and responds to comments is great for your personal brand. If you want to be an authority in your field, you have to be highly visible and responsive to what others are saying about you – especially on your own turf. Not only that, but people are more likely to reach out to you and respect you if they see that you take the time to respond. It’s not just a matter of writing replies, it’s about building your image and your credibility.
4. Make your blog a hub for good conversation
By replying to your blog comments and adding to the conversation, you potentially spark up good discussion where others will want to get involved. In other words, your comments and replies urge others to chime in to offer their feedback as well. If you want to develop a community on your blog that is bustling with conversation, you have to at least meet your readers halfway. Social interaction is a two way street. You can’t expect good discussion on your blog if you yourself aren’t willing to reply.
5. Drive traffic back to the post
Believe it or not, most new readers who leave a comment on your blog expect a reply from you. Shocking, isn’t it? They come back to your post and check to see if there are any new messages from you. If they see that there are none, they’ll most likely leave your site and never come back. On the other hand, if you usually reply to all comments, people will be more inclined to read your posts and comment often. You’ll get a ton of repeat traffic and many will opt to subscribe to your comment feed or get new replies sent to their inboxes.
So what do you think? Will you start replying to your comments? I know you have some waiting for you in your WordPress admin panel that you’ve been ignoring until now…
Just remember not to get carried away with this method. When I say “reply to every comment”, I don’t mean comments that are obvious spam or say nothing but “thanks, good post”. You can safely ignore these without feeling bad about it. Heck, maybe the comment spammers will be impressed and decide to leave real feedback.
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