Having enough time to blog and being sure to produce quality posts are two of the most important things to do when it comes to blogging. The third thing that online writers often struggle with the most, and the part that takes the most time, is interacting with your audience.
It’s a Fact, You Need to Interact!
As you may know, blogging is a form of social media. Therefore, connecting your blog to your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Tumblr and others is one of the best ways to promote interaction on your blog. While positive blog comments are obviously quite welcome, almost everyone who reads your blog will not leave a comment. However, those too shy to comment on the blog itself may well comment on your Facebook fan page, mention you in a Tweet, or share your post on LinkedIn or Google Plus. These are all great ways to get useful feedback on if what you’re sharing is working.
The greatest challenge for engaging in any sort of social media is to be consistent and stay the course. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a week or two of blogging, as things happen in life that you simply can’t avoid. In any case, it takes dedication to keep up with a blog and the subsequent promotion of it. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to understand that most of the time you won’t get immediate results for your blogging efforts. However, if you write good content and and build a quality archive through posting consistently, the search engines will pick up on this over time. It may not be immediate, but if you write articles on topics that people are consistently looking for, slowly and surely, people will come.
If you do already have a blog with plenty of content, and you know you’ll be unable to post much for a while, it doesn’t hurt to re-share your older content as long as it’s still relevant. While some readers might not like you re-sharing older content, as your following grows, more often than not, that content will be new to most eyes.
No One’s Clicking or Sharing My Posts! Am I Not Using Social Media Correctly?
Say months go by and you’re getting views, but no interactions on your social media posts or any shares or comments on your posts? You may ask yourself: “What in the blazes am I doing wrong?” It’s really quite likely that you’ve done nothing wrong. As long as people are looking and spending time browsing various articles on your site, then you have been successful in providing good content. The trick is to figure out how to make people share and interact with your content in order to build your audience and authority. So how do you make people interact?
The most commonsense way to get people to interact is to literally ask your readers questions. While this doesn’t always work, if it makes sense to end the article with a question, then it’s a good idea to do so. The best questions to ask are those that you would find yourself asking if you were searching for the question that brought them to your article in the first place. The best question to ask is if your reader found exactly what they were looking for, and if they didn’t, they should let you know. You want to let your readers know that their feedback is valuable. Always make an opportunity for people to share anything that they have to say, and be clear that feedback is always welcome.
So when you do get legitimate comments - and not the typical spam that you may daily find yourself discarding - you want to be sure that you respond. Use their first name in your response, if possible, or their screen-name at the very least, to promote a conversational atmosphere. The Comments section is meant to be a discussion forum. Your response can be as simple as, “Bob, your feedback is greatly appreciated. We welcome any questions you may have.” In the past, I’ve been asked by clients to use such responses to immediately try and promote their own interests. It’s vitally important not to do that. The focus should always be on the one who commented. They should be made to feel that their feedback is important. You don’t want them feeling like their comment is just an opportunity to push a product or service, unless that comment specifically requests that information. People can respond quite negatively if their comment is responded to in a way that is self-promoting. Be helpful, and never ever be pushy.
What Should Be Done with Negative Comments?
There is always the possibility that you will receive negative comments from frustrated or disgruntled readers. This is a case in which it’s actually best prompt someone to contact you directly. You want to be able to resolve the situation without it going out of control in the comments. For example, a business blogger may want to say something to the effect, “Please contact us so that we can better serve you.” If you’re a personal blogger, offer to have them contact you directly to resolve the situation. Something you might want to say: “Your comment is greatly appreciated. I would like to discuss your concerns privately, so that we can resolve any misunderstandings.”
In any case, it’s also a good idea to post another comment on that thread in response to your original response if you come to a resolution. Most of the time, simply encourage reader feedback and respond promptly if readers ask good questions. Best of all, if someone asks a question that you've answered before, it’s very helpful to provide a link to the content you previously created that answers that question. It makes you look very good in readers’ eyes to show that you’re creating content that appeals to them.
What if Nothing is Working for Me?
If you’re not getting any interaction or many page views, then it may be good to seek out assistance with your keyword strategy. The trick is to produce content that us relevant to your intended audience without sounding too much like you simply want to rank #1 on Google for “best blog for X ever." At the same time, make sure you’re including keyword phrases that relate to the niche you’re trying to fill with your content. This way, you have a much better shot of reaching your intended audience through organic search - that is, people simply using search engines and clicking on non-ad-related results.
But it’s more than just producing content, as we’ve already discussed. One of the greatest elements of being social online is being active on the social media networks and sharing content from like-minded people. If you find an article or other piece of content that you feel your readers and social media followers might want to say, it’s perfectly okay to link to it with a paragraph or two of your own thoughts about it, along with properly quoted excerpts. Just be careful that you’re never paraphrasing too much or flat out copy-and-pasting, even if you’re giving full credit to the author, because that does you absolutely no good.
There are so many other things that help to promote interaction, but gently coaxing social media interactions and responding properly to comments are the key components. Unfortunately, just writing fantastic content isn’t the only trick to get found. You have to work for your audience more and more every day. But once you do, and hit a sort of “critical mass” with your following, you let your fans become your ambassadors, your free marketing team.
Good luck with your blogging and promotion!
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