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Make it Easy for Your Readers to Participate

At Blog World Expo this year, I was in a great session on using Facebook pages by Amy Porterfield. The session was very helpful on many levels, but one thing that Amy said that I immediately put into action—within a few seconds of her saying it, in fact—was to ask simple questions of readers to generate discussion.

Amy had been working with a client on their Facebook page and the client had suggested a discussion starter that was quite open ended and which required a long answer from readers. Amy switched the question into this format:

“What’s one word to describe…?”

This question lowered the barrier of entry for anyone considering responding to the question. Instead of having to write a few paragraphs in response, all that was required to participate was a single word. Amy reported a much higher than normal level of comments.

I immediately asked my own photography community a “one word to describe” question on my photography Facebook page.

367 comments later…

The same principle applies to generating comments on your blog … or any other attempt at reader engagement, for that matter. Make it simple to participate!

Another example of this was recently when a sponsor ran a competition on my photography blog. Initially, the sponsor wanted our readers to fulfill four requirements to enter the giveaway. They had to follow the sponsor and our site on Facebook, tweet something, and then leave a comment of 500 words explaining why they wanted to win the prize.

I pushed back—four hoops was more than I suspected most of our readers would jump through. The sponsor decided not to run the competition with us and I later saw them do it on another blog. The result? Three entries!

The same lesson again: make it simple for your readers to participate on your blog!

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. Exactly!! I’m experiencing this now with a giveaway on my blog…just a simple comment and you’re entered and I’ve had many more entries than I had for my previous giveaway! Thanks for the tips!

  2. se7en says:

    I love this call for one word idea!!! Love it!!! Gotta say that when it comes to GiveAways, I have found that unless you I have a truly AWESOME prize, you aren’t going to draw in more readers but you are gong to consolidate your loyal readers… and they will keep on coming back for more of the same, they like it!!! Why make it impossibly hard for them to enter… they are reading your blog anyway!!! A GiveAway sponsor should really be happy with the shout out without expecting a circus performance.

  3. Wow great idea. One Word to Rule Them ALL!!!!!! muhahahah

  4. I’m a huge fan of entering little blog/fb comps and occasionally run them on my blog too, I think it is really important to make it simple to enter! I just click away from comps where I have to jump through hoops. Sure, you might want them to link to you on their fb or twitter, but there is a balance between getting your name out there and making your comp arduous to enter.

  5. This is exactly what I’m doing on my Facebook page.
    A funny joke, an inspirational quote, a funny picture could also work.

  6. Going with the theme of this post, my one word reply would be -

    Simpleffective!

  7. Milehimama says:

    SO true! Recentlly I was part of a social media campaign that gave away items and gift cards- but they required people to create a 30-60 second video and upload it on YouTube to enter! And they always had chronically low entries. Who wants to go to that trouble for a $25 Starbucks card?

  8. Guy Hogan says:

    When in doubt, simplicity is the way out.

  9. I would add that the simple response needs to be about something your readers really care about. I get more responses when I ask questions about them, rather than just ask for a response about a “topic”. Thanks for the tip.

  10. Loopy says:

    Ditto! Simplicity is the way out. There is no point in making it complex

  11. James Greg says:

    Exactly what I had in mind. Great point raised here Darren. Thanx for publishing this post. I’ve seen many unrated blogs with little or zero traffic and yet they make it hard to post comments. A question should not restrict the commenter.

  12. Scott Dudley says:

    Yes we live in a world where nearly everything is complicated these days. Simplicity, just like the good old days.

  13. naijadotcom says:

    I get it,simplicity and effectiveness saves the day.Good.

  14. Darren:

    Here’s my one word for you: Helpful. Always.

    Okay, two words.

    Sorry to have missed BWE. Still have great memories of the ‘Elvis’ wedding in Vegas….

    Hope all is well.

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  15. Steven Fogg says:

    Regarding commenting I think it’s all about asking open questions rather than closed questions. And more importantly as the blogger interacting with people’s answers. Cultivate the conversation once it’s started. I do that all the time on my blog.

    Regarding competitions, sure get someone to tweet out or share on Facebook, but unless it’s a retail product giveaway most people will treat it as a spam post and ignore it.

    For both the KISS principle applies. Keep It Simple Stupid!

  16. A simple yet profound truth; goes along with the “less is more” philosophy for sure. Is it a coincidence that most of the comments so far are short? LOL

  17. Bryan Weller says:

    This is a situation where the blogger/company needs to put themselves in the shoes of their audience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve chosen not to comment/retweet or do some other form of interaction because the site made it so much harder than I was willing to put up with.

  18. Pj Zafra says:

    Hey Darren,

    Great post here! Less steps for readers to go through in terms of commenting, the more comments we would get. For me personally, if it’s too complicated or takes too much time to leave a comment, then I would just leave. It’s always important to keep things simple. Thanks and keep it up! :)

  19. Philos Mudis says:

    What was the sponsor’s reaction after going for the other blog?

  20. We tested the “one word” approach as soon as we read this post and the results were instant. Thanks for another practical tip. We are looking forward to using it on a regular basis.

    Wondering if there is a difference in response between one word and a few words?

  21. Deb Ng says:

    Amy gave me her “one word” tip last year and every time I use it on one of the BlogWorld social media channels it works like a charm. Folks like to comment but don’t often want to commit to a major conversation.

  22. Trying “What’s one word to describe ________?” now.

  23. Marcie says:

    I am going to try this and see what happens. Simple, yet effective.

  24. Barbara says:

    I love this. I hope to do more giveaways on my site but with very few hoops. That RaffleCopter on blogs these days is annoying. I much prefer the “leave me a comment telling me XYZ” approach. It’s so much more conversational.

  25. HistoryOfSL says:

    Yeah Engaging with the community is fun. After Reading this article I’m also started to ask questions with my community. And From now I’ll engage with my community for the sake of this post. Keep updating simple things that are very well when seeing with every corner. this one is very simple but well working one. Hope one my community member will answer that question I asked..

    Thanks!
    Shyam