There’s one technique for soliciting comments that hasn’t been covered explicitly this week, although we’ve shown it through each of the posts we’ve published in this series.
What is that technique? Being honest.
When we approached the bloggers who wrote posts for the series, we told them we really wanted to hear their favorite technique or secret tip. We didn’t want to hear the standard advice: we wanted their unique insights, gained from their own personal experience.
We wanted their unbridled honesty.
Looking through the these posts, and the comments they received, you’ll probably agree that deep honesty goes a long way to encourage discussion.
- Honesty in the things you say gives readers ultimate value. No matter what you’re talking about, your perspective and experience are unique, so complete honesty is a guaranteed way to present something brand-new to your readers.
- Honest in the way you present ideas backs up their uniqueness, and can help you to keep readers interested all the way to the end of the post. That gives us the opportunity to get our message across clearly and completely, which provides readers with more food for thought than if they simply skinned the post. In my experience, the more we can make readers think, the more likely they are to comment.
- Honesty in the depth of information you give truly inspires readers to comment. Don’t hold back when you’re creating the post. Give readers all the information they need not just to implement your advice, but to understand why they should, and know how to use or improve the outcomes of that work, too. This creates value, and readers know it. Value never fails to move readers to comment.
- Honesty in the way you relate to readers helps create relationships and a sense of personal rapport that encourages users to reach out to you. If we’re intimidated by a blog post, we probably won’t leave a comment on it. If we don’t think it’s pitched at our level, we’ll avoid commenting, too. So if, as bloggers, we pitch our post to the right readers, we have our best chance of encouraging them to talk back.
Honesty builds credibility, and the more credible you are as a blogger, the more worthwhile it’ll seem to readers to comment on your blog. For that reason, you might also use honesty to help drive the moderation of comments on your blog. For example, you might delete comments that are nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to gain exposure or undermine others, rather than to add real value to the discussion.
My most-commented posts
As examples, take a look at these, some of the most-commented posts from the ProBlogger archives. In each case I’ve mentioned a little about the techniques the post uses to communicate its honesty:
- Three Simple Actions that Doubled my Website Traffic in 30 Days: In this post, I shared my own personal experience of building traffic, and simply explained the techniques for readers who needed quick fixes to build traffic.
- How to Make $30,000 a Year Blogging: another from-the-trenches tale, but one in which the opening involves the true story of a conversation I had with a reader. This honest account resonated especially well with readers, because they saw themselves in the same position. It helped hook them right from the start.
- 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog: It’s true that comments reflect the popularity of topics (like this one!) but in this post I relate my own highs and lows using different techniques.
- 18 Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging: Even the title of this post tells readers it’s honest, real-world advice.
- How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World: Though it’s a change of pace from the other posts mentioned here, Jon Morrow’s brutally honest story challenges readers on a fundamental level.
Have you ever had an experience where a brutally honest blog post solicited an unprecedented number or quality of comments? Tell us about it (and don’t forget to include a link to the post if it’s still online!) in the comments.