engage your blog readers

Big Blog Mistake #3

engage your blog readers

Have you landed on the blogs of successful, smart entrepreneurs where there are no comments and no social network sharing happening? That’s not helping build the image that they have an engaged audience!

Or have you stopped by a blog and you spotted comments where people are asking questions (maybe even about the professional’s products or services) and no one is answering them? Oh no!

Or maybe you’ve seen a blog that’s just pitch, pitch, pitch… every post is about a new product, service, client or why you should buy what they’re selling. Nothing there to help their readers or connect…

Mistake #3 is Lack of Engagement

Successful business blogging requires engaging with our readers.  We’ve got to keep the focus on our readers and delivering value to them.

What does that mean?

  • we brainstorm our content ideas based on what delivers value to our readers — so they’ll read, comment, and share!
  • we get out there and PROMOTE it so our readers can see it — engage with them where they are at, on the social networks, in forums, on other blogs and elsewhere
  • we’ve got to engage with our readers on our blogs — reply to comments, thank those who share out content, and really look for ways to connect with our communities

Your Next Action Step

Take a look at your blog and review where you’re doing great with engagement and where you’re not, then set a goal to improve in those areas.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started.  Give yourself gold stars for the ones you’re doing well!

  • Do you brainstorm content based on what could be helpful to your readers?
  • Are you actively asking your readers to respond (see the question at the bottom of this post?) to your posts?
  • Have you made it easy to comment and share your blog posts?
  • Are you replying to comments (at the very least a few per post, especially to answer questions)?
  • Are you thanking those who share your content (on social networks or by linking to your blog)?
  • Do you know where your community hangs out online and are you getting in front of them with your content?
  • Have you stopped by any other blogs in your niche, or that reach your niche, or belong to regular commenters, to leave them a few comments?
Want some homework and more ideas for engaging your readers?  Here’s a blog post with 50 interesting examples of reader engagement.

What else can we all be doing to better engage with our readers?

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27 Comments

  1. Getting in there and responding to comments on my blog is one that I need to schedule into my calendar this week. I noticed yesterday I was letting it slip. And I could do a much better job of paying attention to where my ideal reader hangs out. Thanks for the easy checklist Michelle.
    Loralee Hutton recently posted… Help! I can’t find my saved buttons in paypalMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome! And sometimes the comment replies take as long as the blogging! lol But it’s worth it. :)

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Great blog post addressing the lack of engagement. it’s overlooked a lot and I found that the more engaged that blog post is, the more others will engage as well.

    I love your action step ideas. For me brainstorming is an issue and then I get writer’s block when I do come up with blog post ideas.

    You have been a great inspiration in my love of blogging. Although I don’t do it quite enough, I do love it and look to you for moving forward motivation.

    Cindy
    Cindy Murphy recently posted… How To Create An Outsourcing BudgetMy Profile

    1. Writer’s block hits us all from time to time, I think. Not a fun one! Sometimes for me the key is taking a break and coming back to it later, sometimes I can try a different angle or approach and that helps.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with WebinarsMy Profile

  3. My goal next month is to look for a few people interested in setting up a comment circle – a small group who commit to commenting on each others’ blogs. ;-)
    Michelle Mahoney recently posted… Dream Big, Start SmallMy Profile

    1. Hi Michelle,
      You can count me in, I’m also interested in being part of a comment circle!
      Thanks,
      Lena

    2. Me, too! I would love to be part of a comment circle! To the “other” Michelle/Michele’s, this Ultimate Blog Challenge has been amazing. I am so enjoying it and really appreciate your putting this together. I will mark my calendar to participate again in future months! Maybe by the time the NEXT one comes around, blogging daily won’t be such a challenge! lol…
      Amy Putkonen recently posted… A Kumbaya MomentMy Profile

    3. Awesome! Comment circles are a great strategy.

      And Amy, it will be – because you get better each time. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with WebinarsMy Profile

    4. That’s a great idea Michelle!
      Gabi recently posted… Jackets, shoes & travel items organization!My Profile

  4. Very useful tips for making your blog more engaging, Michelle!

    While sometimes it’s difficult to answer to all comments on the blog, I do my best to do it. As with every task, put it in the calendar to make sure you get to it.
    Thank people for sharing and commenting on your blog. You can either share back their posts, retweet, or like back.
    A commenting tribe is also a good idea. It works best if the tribe members have relatively similar interests and blogs.
    Delia recently posted… Free timeline cover image: Dandy LionMy Profile

    1. Yes, that’s an important consideration for sure, Delia. Much easier to create value in the tribe if the members have things in common. Great tip!

  5. I try to visit blogs in in my niche regularly. It’s difficult to schedule commenting on each blog but it is a necessary step in good blogging and building your online community.
    sara recently posted… July 16: Learn Something New EverydayMy Profile

    1. Yep. The things that take more effort, most people skip, which gives us great opportunity!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Embed a TED Talk Video in a Blog PostMy Profile

      1. To be honest, I’m kinda scared to comment on blogs in my own niche! – reason being my photos!! I have been using an iPhone 4S and I have a small apartment with weird angles, and is almost impossible to get good lighting for my photos! I mean seriously, look how grainy they are! And I have no clue about editing and such, I just started studying about it!

        All I can say is THANK THE LORD FOR DSLR!! I just bought me self one of those babies! :D
        And now I have a lot of work 2do, reshooting and re-uploading {at least} my “after” shots. {can’t do anything about the “b4’s” unfortunately… :/ }

        {I feel much safer commenting on here lol}
        Gabi recently posted… The Process Of OrganizingMy Profile

  6. This is exactly why I have decided to not entertain any further guest posts. Because these folks do not seem to have the urgency instilled within them to respond to the comments and queries of their readers. Which then reflects badly upon me.

    I have sent this post to the folks to which this refers. Thanks, Michelle.
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… UVa provides us with business lessonsMy Profile

    1. I totally understand that position, Roy. It’s something I’m trying to figure out myself. One of the things I really stress when I teach about guest blogging is how important it is to endear yourself to the blogger who hosts you — get out there and share the post once it’s live, promote it, reply to comments, etc — so that you build a good relationship and can continue working together.

  7. I agree that you have to engage your readers/visitors for maximum exposure but the simplest trick is to provide valuable and quality thing, you need to be more honest and professional to build friendly relationship with your readers.
    Becca recently posted… Arborists WilliamstownMy Profile

    1. Hi Becca, yes honesty and professionalism do count as well.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with WebinarsMy Profile

  8. I say yes to all of your questions, however, I know coaches who are successful, at least that’s the appearance, whose blogs have few comments and they do not engage with the few who do.

    I’m a tad confused by this because I thought connecting and engaging were important ingredients for the online success formula.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Adalia John recently posted… Money Confidence: 4 Practical Tips to Change Your Money StoryMy Profile

    1. It’s interesting, isn’t it? I think it depends on the type of community you’re building and what model you’re following. I mean, at the other extreme we’ve got Seth Godin who has comments turned completely off!

      But the difference in them and me? They had platform before they began blogging. I’m building platform WITH my blog. So part of it is knowing what the role is that your blog plays. Is it just another distribution channel to push content? Or is it an engagement tool to humanize your business and connect you with people?

      Me? I choose to follow the examples of those building platform and relationship through their blogging. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with WebinarsMy Profile

  9. Google Reader has been a lifesaver with keeping up with all of the blogs that I am following through this challenge. Just today, I started starring the posts that I have commented on. I have a folder called Ultimate Blog Challenge, an idea I stole from someone else in this challenge (I forget who, but thank you!)

    Some people have a checkbox to have replies emailed to you if someone replies to your post. I never did this before but it certainly has changed the game to do so! It really helps me to build relationships by responding back if they reply to my comment on THEIR blog. It’s great.

    My blog is a new blog so I try and always visit the blogs of whomever comments on my blog. I can imagine that may get unwieldy if I get too many comments, but so far that does not seem to be a problem. lol… although I so much appreciate this challenge for at least helping me to feel like all of my writing is being seen by people. I am grateful.

    I also try to encourage conversations in my comments on my own blog. Some may not follow-up, but if they do it helps to build that relationship further.
    Amy Putkonen recently posted… A Kumbaya MomentMy Profile

    1. I use Google Reader too, Amy. Love it.

      And that feature it a great one. It gives us a way to engage even more. Some will come back and reply and some won’t but at least we know we offered the conversation.

      It helps so much when you know what you write will be read! :)

  10. Hi Michelle,

    Yes , I do agree with you. Though it’s not always about engaging with a user on your blog only, but to engage with users in other various social media channels as to drive them to your blog, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will become a loyal follower and or leave a comment on your blog.

  11. Good points Michelle! I think the #1 reason my blog gets no comments is because I fail to blog frequently enough. When I do post something, it hits my Facebook page (but doesn’t reach enough people) and also forwards to Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ll put a link to a post in my newsletter, and I also guest blog on a site that caters to my target audience.

    I need to learn more about coming up with great content, consistently! Business is good – so I’m often too busy to think about blogging – but of course, you’ve got to marketing all the time if you want to keep growing :)

  12. I teach, therefore I sell. If you want to teach your audience, answer their questions. By brainstorming and coming up with a series of questions, you by default will have a number of blog titles to work with.
    Neil recently posted… Nitric Oxide: How and why you should boost itMy Profile

  13. I personally respond to each and every comment on my blog, that really helped me in the long run. Converted my one time visitors into Returning visitors by offering what most blogs doesn’t, a prompt response to their questions
    Gautham Nekkanti recently posted… Google PageRank Update this August, 2012My Profile

  14. Actually, when I see a post where the blogger doesn’t engage at all with the readers, I get kinda sad and often think “what’s the point then? just shut the comment section off if u have no intent to reply!”..

    I have come to learn that blogging take a lot of time and I understand that if u have a huge readership, u won’t be able to reply as much, so I do sympathize with those bloggers and I have total respect for them when I come across statements where they say that they won’t be able to reply to each comment.
    I do however, don’t understand if bloggers have comments on, yet never reply..? Why have them on then..? I don’t get it..
    Gabi recently posted… On the go accessories organization! {Lanch Pad Center}My Profile

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