One of the best returns on the investment of time and effort in a blog post is when a reader leaves a meaningful comment.
For the most part, legitimate commentors fall into either one of two categories:
- Grateful reader: A grateful reader will often leave a short comment stating that they really enjoyed a point you made somewhere along the line, or the overall tone of your site. Some folks have left comments on the layout, or the photographs, you name it – anything they liked, they may leave a positive, thoughtful comment. These “feel good” comments shouldn’t be overlooked. If the person took a moment to thank you for your hard work, why would you dismiss the comment as being unimportant?
- Stimulated reader: Readers may find something in a blog post that really spurs them to think in new directions, or perhaps to disagree with your ideas. Most serious writers find this type of reader stimulating as well, stirring additional ideas and approaches to a subject, and at times, reinforcing the points being made by your post.
There of course is a third type: the “troll” – a person who visits a site with the specific purpose of being negative about anything you have to say. In my experience this is fairly rare; but that is in large part because I don’t write about religion and politics (rarely, anyway) . For the most part, I generally dismiss this category of commentors, only because they really aren’t looking for meaningful interaction, or to bring something of value to the table.
Rather, I focus my energy on building a rapport with readers, one at a time.
How do you take care of your Commentors?
The key to building regular commentors is simple: Engage them. There are two approaches that I’ve found to work best. The first is to reply to each commentor in the comment thread, for everyone to see. Often when you leave a comment on a site, you have the option to subscribe to replies. The reason that is there is obvious – it’s very common for commentors to follow a conversation thread, or look for a response.
So your best move? Recognize that fact, and give them what they’re looking for – a reply in the comments. I try to reply to nearly every comment I receive, even if only to be grateful for the comment. Granted, there are some who might find this annoying, but I view it from the same angle as common courtesy. Some might be irritated that you say please and thank you repeatedly, but I would rather err on the side of being overly courteous than callous. The same applies with replying to comments.
The second requires a little more effort, but really pays off: email each commentor who leaves a meaningful comment. This added personal touch really sets you apart from the vast majority of writers and bloggers who barely acknowledge their readers. This basic, personal service will build loyalty and connections that you couldn’t buy with any SEO product. Personal contact is unusual in the world today – use that knowledge to your advantage.