My current social media goal is to get an average of 10 comments a day on my blog by April 1. It may not be achievable, but it is a clear and concise goal, the kind I often have trouble making due to raging flights of fancy.
Why comments? Because they build community and add value to each blog post.
What do you think of the comments here? Are they doing what I’m talking about? Are you a regular, or would you like to comment for the first time on this post? What blog post would you like my comment on?
I write this blog because I have a lot of ideas. Some of them aren’t very good, others are great (at least to me!) Instead of just sitting down with people who want to learn how these ideas can build their business or develop more effective governance, I try to put the most developed thoughts here for everyone to learn from and discuss. When you comment, you’re helping me and my readers see others sides of any issue, validating something as important, or just being social (which is what this Web 2.0 world is about).
And comments are far more important to me than traffic. I evaluate them for each post.
If I don’t get any comments, it was because my post was so clear and important it needed nothing else. I kid! If there are no comments, usually it’s because I missed the mark, talked about something unimportant outside of my own head, or said something that’s already been said better.
In the last couple months, I’ve been pretty effective in pulling people into the discussion. And I’ll admit right now, I learned everything I know about blogging from Chris Brogan. If you want to be a better blogger, sign up for his blog and newsletter right now.
Hopefully, you listened and now you’re back! Because even though I’m on a totally different order of scale, I’ve been successful enough that I get questions about how I build my blog community. Let me tell you the tips and tricks (learned from Chris) that are working for me.
1) Write like you mean it. Inner monologues don’t get a lot of comments. Social questions do (just look at a newspaper Web site).
2) Ask questions. Many of my readers are smarter than me. If I can get them commenting, other people will want to read the original thoughts they are discussing on my blog.
3) Be provocative. Every debate has two sides. While you might a acknowledge the other side, you don’t want to be so balanced that people just shrug. If it’s important enough for me to think about it, write a note about it, discuss with people off and online, then blog about it, it’s important enough to debate.
4) Go where the people are. I post links to new posts at Twitter, GovLoop, Facebook, and, sometimes, LinkedIn. I work to stir up debate on Twitter, which even if I don’t get a comment, can lead to a great follow-up post. I comment liberally on other’s blogs, especially those who’ve already accepted me into their community. I cultivate relationships on my social sites, and hopefully they’ll like the blog enough to join the commenting community here. I also post links to the comments, and notify people when I’m responding to their contributions on my site.
5) One last point. If your not already, I think you should blog. Your blog is the best and most accessible place on the Internet for you to build community. Twitter and Facebook are fun, but they belong to other people. Your blog is yours.
A couple questions for you that have me stumped: what’s the best time to push a new blog post to generate comments and discussion? Because I work during the day, I tend to publish very late at night (I know, there are tools to time it, but I’m blogging for me, too, and I like to see it!). Sometimes I get a lot of comments in the next 24 hours, sometimes not, and I’m still considering whether there are top time slots for new blog content. Or maybe I don’t want that time slot, because I’d be competing with the bigger dogs for your attention span?
Second question: How come comments totally die out after about 24 hours? Is this unique to me, or is the media cycle just to fast (or does everyone see it the first time?)
What do you think?