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Writing a blog can feel like writing a diary, especially when you’re first starting out. We wonder who is reading through the sweat and tears we pour into our articles. Is a little reader engagement too much to ask?

I must shamefully admit. There have been many times when I’ve let myself fall victim to a severe case of comment envy. How do they do it? How do they draw in their readers and inspire them to share their thoughts online?

We talked about “Blog Engagement” last week in our Tuesday evening Twitter chat, #FreshChat. Using some of the expert advice from our community of bloggers (and some of my own findings), I’ve put together a quick guide that will help you shed that “dear-diary” feeling and engage your readers on your blog.

1. Quote Mentors, then Thank Them

 

Many of us sit in our secluded home office, listening to the drumming sound of our fingers hitting the keyboard, while simultaneously resisting the urge to stop writing and go fold a load of laundry. This atmosphere isn’t as convenient as an office-dweller might expect. We are tempted to believe that this is a lone venture. There’s no one in the next cubicle (or the next room, for that matter) with whom we can brainstorm, or even vent. But, this is NOT a lone venture. There is a large community of bloggers from whom we can draw inspiration and encouragement. #FreshChat is a great place to network and meet other bloggers who are struggling (or have mastered) the same obstacles you’re facing.

2. Make Commenting Easy

If you require me to go through a lengthy login or approval process, chances are I’m not going to comment on your blog. It’s scary to leave ourselves open to criticism. You never know what people are going to type into that comment box. You might get your feelings hurt. But, you will also be lifted up, supported, and comforted by all the people whose hearts were touched by your article. You can’t please everyone. Take that risk.

3. Ask For Comments

 

 

I love this piece of advice. There’s nothing like being smacked upside the head with the obvious. If you want comments, ask for comments. When asking, remember to engage your readers in a way that helps them feel comfortable sharing themselves with you. If you are writing from a place of authenticity, this should come naturally.

4. Highlight Someone’s Comment

Did someone leave a comment on your post that sparks conversation? Highlight that comment at the bottom of your blog post. This is a great way to let readers know what’s happening in the comment section. It’s also a good opportunity to thank that person for their comment and to share the love by including a link to their website.

5. Be Edgy

 

People love to talk about trending topics. Don’t shy away from a little controversy. It is possible to have a friendly debate in the comment section of your website. You don’t even have to pick a side! Just set the stage for conversation. You might be surprised where this leads when you don’t share your opinion straight away.

6. Graciously Reply to Every Comment

Foster conversation by responding to every comment. Engage someone with another question, or simply thank them for leaving their note. Show your readers that you appreciate the time they took to share on your blog. It will encourage them to comment again in the future.

What Are Your Blog Engagement Strategies?

 

Engagement comes in many forms. Every day there’s a new social platform released to help share information on the internet. These platforms are readily available and heavily engaged. Should we concentrate our interactions within these networks? Are they replacing blog comments? Or is commenting through social media diverting the interaction that increases the value of your website?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!