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How to Kick off a Great Comment Thread by Targeting Previous Commenters

CommentsDo you struggle to get comments on your posts?

This morning I was chatting to a group of b5media bloggers in our weekly internal chat about a strategy that I occasionally use to get more comments on particular posts.

This tip will only work on blogs that have had people leave comments before – but it doesn’t need a lot of previous comments.

The strategy is simple

1. If you have a post that you particularly want to get comments on – simply look at the last 10 or so comments on your blog and shoot an email to the people who left them.

2. In the email – thank them for their recent comment and invite them to check out the post that you’ve just written and to comment upon it.

I wouldn’t use this strategy too regularly – but on an occasional basis it can be great at kicking off a conversation as it targets those who are more likely to comment – because they’ve got a record of doing so.

An Example

This is actually a strategy that I used on this post at DPS.

As you’ll see in that post – it was a post that leant itself to comments in that it was asking readers to answer a question (this will definitely help). The reason that I used this strategy on this particular post was that it was the first of a new type of post that I was testing on the blog (community workshops).

The result?

I emailed 10 recent comment leavers from the blog and 7 of them left a comment (7 of the first 10). I believe that this created a sense of ‘action’ on the post and drew others into commenting also.

The other benefit of it is that it actually led to a few good email interactions with readers who actually appreciated me dropping them an email to thank them for their comments and who hopefully are now a little more loyal to the blog than they were previously.

A Word of Warning

As mentioned above – this isn’t something that you’ll probably want to do too regularly. You’ll also probably want to personalize your emails as much as possible (I sent each one separately, use individuals names, commented upon their comments and even linked to their previous comment) so that it doesn’t come across as a spammy group email.

Want more tips on getting comments? Check out these 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog (one of the most commented upon posts on ProBlogger).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Doubtlessly underhanded, but wouldn’t that same sense of need to take an action be accomplished by writing and responding to a few fake comments made by yourself? I’m sure that would have the same effects of drawing others into the conversation as well.

  2. Aaron Pepper says:

    I wonder if you used this technique on this post? It is a great tip, it ads a personable feel to your blog and shows that you appreciate each individual in your community. It also doesn’t feel spammy if you limit it to 10 people.

    You can take it a step further and only email those who have left well thought out comments in the past. Inviting back quality commenter’s will help ensure better comments in the future.

  3. Jamie Harrop says:

    Interesting strategy, Darren.

    I would imagine the key to this is how personal the email is. If I were to try it, I would probably make the part asking them to a comment a very small piece of the email.

    Off topic.. it seems you forgot to link the text in the last paragraph of this post. :)

  4. This is an excellent way to get comments and also develop a community using our blog. But at the same time we should not spam other’s inbox using this technique and limit it’s usage. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Slacker says:

    I’ve done this a few times and I too had success with it. If you take the time to be personal with people you will find that they will take an invested interest in what you have to say.

  6. Rock says:

    That is a nice tidbit of information. I think some people will take it to the extreme, however, and start e-mailing every single person that left comments on their blog. In the long run, driving more people away instead of the intended result of getting conversation started.

  7. CompuWorld says:

    yeah Darren you forgot to link to the 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog..?

    waiting for the link to be updated very quick. Now this proves that Darren is also a human. Until now I used to doubt if this was someone with divine powers :)

    by the way I still need to get my readers to start commenting on my posts. Actually due to my exams heading I am not able to write the posts which are very interactive. What I usually write is tips and they aren’t that interactive although the readers do like the articles as they always teach something new to them..

    waiting for the link update Darren.

    AND THIS IS IMPORTANT DARREN: somehow I have been trying this for last 30 minutes. Your blog is loading very slow. PLEASE LOOK AT THE MATTER!

  8. worknplay says:

    That is quite an interesting strategy on how to get comments. I am not too sure about emailing and asking previous commenters to comment on my post. It might seem like a double standard asking them to come back and comment on a post. But then again, its my view but sometimes we bloggers got to do what we got do to do.

  9. Mike Warner says:

    This seems like a pretty good idea. Another way may be to mention a person in an article on your blog in such a way that would intrigue them to make a visit and leave a comment. The other day I made a posting about Darren and the next thing I knew, he had left a comment. I suspect he does the same thing I do and has a Google alert out for his name, when he is mentioned on a blog, checks it out to see what is being said of him. In this business it seems you need a few thousand tricks to keep traffic coming in.

  10. jsanderz says:

    Darren,
    thanks for the idea, I suppose if you don’t try you will never know.
    I must admit I have thought of faking comments on my blog but it just doesn’t seem right somehow.
    Regards.

  11. Brilliant strategy Darren, and so timely – I was surfing around looking for something like this. I will be using it real soon, thanks!

  12. Joe says:

    Interesting thoughts there Darren. I think this coincides with emailing the people who comment on your blog, especially if it is new. I started doing that and I’ve been getting more comments, though not as many as I’d like stilll…

  13. LiveCrunch says:

    How come I never got an email from you and I posted over 100 comments LoL….

    Yes you are correct about the sending emails to your posters, also way to get lots of comments is with Top Commentators Plugin. I got that installed 3 weeks ago on my other blog http://www.bontb.com and I am very happy with it!

  14. Bradly says:

    I think a good addition to this would be to run a recent comments widget in your sidebar.

    People are more likely to comment if there already seems to be lots of people doing it. So put up the recent comments widget then e-mail your last 10 commenters. The recent comments section would then seem more active and would hopefully draw others in to comment as well.

  15. I can see how this would be risky. I often email commenters to thank them, and I find that personal touch is all the encouragement needed to get them to continue to visit and comment.

  16. Nick Schmidt says:

    I thought emailing people that did the comment on your blog was just a standard curiosity. However, it still hasn’t brought more comments on my site..
    But, I do more of an entertainment vlog.

  17. engtech says:

    WordPress Comment Ninja for the Firefox web browser makes it even easier to email commenters.

    It adds a “respond by email” link to the WordPress Comment Admin panel.

  18. Dan Schawbel says:

    If you have a good post…people will comment if they are subscribed.

  19. Joanna Young says:

    @CompuWorld – surely it’s deliberate, leading into the next post in the series: “how making a deliberate mistake and proving you don’t have don’t divine powers can kick off a great comment thread” :-)

    Joanna

  20. Debo Hobo says:

    That is a great idea,if and when I use it I will steer clear of coming across spammy.

  21. Pinyo says:

    I have never try the email strategy, but I found that posting a question that is fairly simple to answer, but where everyone has their own opinion about the “right” answer is a great way to draw comments.

    I did this recently and got some very good and thoughtful responses. I even got some readers who never comment before to pitch in.

  22. simon says:

    Darren

    Simply technique yet effective, i will try that on my blog now.

    but i agree that you cant do it ever post as you be dam busy and people might not appreciate it much….

  23. netvalar says:

    I like the strategy I have few enough commentors that I try to message each one and point to another post that they may be interested in based on their comment. This has led to 1 good E-Mail connection. If I had more commenters I would probaly pick one a day to respond to like this.

  24. “10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog” seems to have this special invisible link I’m not able to click :( hehe.. great post Darren!

  25. Darren,

    I find it hard to believe that you need this tactic. I never see a blog post of yours without a few dozen comments.

  26. Great strategy to encourage interaction. When a blogger emails me back to thank me for a comment, I’m always flattered and surprised. Responding right away to thoughtful contributors keeps the relationship going. Going after a group is even better. What if you selected best answers/comments ala LinkedIn on a few strategic posts?

  27. A nice technique. It’s nice to get an email when posting on someone’s blog, although like you mention, don’t use too often.

  28. Jennifer says:

    That is a great strategy, but I am such a chicken that I couldn’t do it. My strategy would be more like go leave 10 comments on their sites and this usually works too.

  29. Max Powers says:

    I call this the “personal” touch. People as a general rule love to feel appreciated and to be acknowledged and what better way to do this than what you have described.

    I especially like the separate, personalized e-mails, as I usually delete any e-mails that look like part of a mass mailing using a “standard form” e-mail where my name has been inserted.

  30. girly says:

    hmmm…thank your strategy. This is strategy is very nice

  31. mrloo says:

    I’ve tried that strategy few days ago before I received this feed from Problogger.net and it works for my blog.

    Even though my blog is not as big as the commenters here.

    Thanks Darren for all the tips. I wish that you can visit my blog. thnx

  32. CompuWorld says:

    @ Joanna: may be you are write that Darren was delibrate with that mistake but still I am not ready to believe you. He is damn honest (atleast I think that way) and I am sure he somehow totally missed linking to the post!!

  33. 66tx says:

    Interesting strategy, Darren.

  34. SK says:

    Great way and sound so excellent.

    How about correspondence by admin and comment poster, Like they put comment and you have a conversation with them, oh I forgot some people just leave comemnt without comeback to check it.

    Sometime me too ^_^

  35. David Mackey says:

    Good idea. What would you do with a site like mine that is somewhat like micro-blogging/digg?

  36. Kawaii says:

    Seems like a really good idea, I’ll have to try it out!