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Reacting to Your Comment Community

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As soon as you get your first comment, you have a comment community on your blog. That’s one of the main differences between websites and blogs – your readers become a part of your content by interacting through comments. I know that I’ve often sent a link to someone and noted, “The comments are the best part!”

Some bloggers respond to every single comment. Other bloggers respond selectively. In my opinion, your responsiveness isn’t as important as how you respond. The way you react to your comment community could make or break your blog. There’s a reason why some people get 1000 comments on every blog post, while others hear the virtual crickets when it comes to their comments section.

Now, if you’re a new blog, it takes time to build up a comment community. It depends on  your niche – some blog topics simply lend themselves to more controversial topics than others, and controversy always leads to more comments. But no matter what your niche, you can build a decent comment community within a year. It’s all about reacting in the right ways.

Is anybody listening?

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Sometimes, people don’t leave comments because they have something super insightful to say. Some members of your blog’s comment community simply want to be acknowledged. They look up to you or like you, as much as a reader can grow to like a blogger that he/she doesn’t personally know. They want you to like them too.

I’ve certainly felt this way about bloggers. I want to make friends, and one of the best ways I feel like I can show my support is to leave a comment.

If you’re what I like to call a selective reactor (i.e., you don’t reply to every single comment), take notice to which readers are making an extra effort to respond to your posts regularly. Acknowledge these readers, if not by reacting to their comments, but following them on Twitter or sending them an email. A few days ago, I left a comment on one of the blogs I read regularly, and the author just sent me a brief DM thanking me for the comment. My opinion of that blogger jumped a good 1000 levels.

It only takes a few seconds of your time. If you have a huge blog community, take ten minutes a day and engage 5-10 of the people who’ve left comments on your blog. No one’s expecting miracles – just do your best to connect with your readers.

Who are you?

I’ve talked about building your blogger brand in the past, and it makes sense to keep this advice in mind when replying to comments. If your blog posts are edgy, be that same edgy personality in your comments section. If you’re blog posts are sweet, don’t suddenly become a no-nonsense witch in your comments. This is an opportunity to shine through, giving readers an addition look into who you are.

This is especially important when responding to negative comments. Some people are jerks just to be jerks. They’ll never visit your blog again, and sometimes haven’t even read the post initially. They’re just trolls – commenters who take pleasure leaving useless, rude comments to get under your skin.

Some negative comments, though, have merit. The person doesn’t agree with you, and whether or not they actually have a point, it can be difficult to not get defensive. Now, I know a few bloggers with personal brands where it makes sense to call out the other person or even get angry, but for most bloggers, snarky replies just don’t fit your overall personal brand. Give yourself some time to cool off after you read a negative comment, so that you can come up with a classy reply that fits your style.

Where’s the conversation?

When reacting to your comment community, do your best to create a conversation. I find that the best comment sections are one where people are not only replying to you, but to other commenters as well. Ask questions. Point others to read a specific comment. Just like you should formulate blog posts to entice readers to comment, you should  also formulate your comment replies to encourage others to react.

Remember, a conversation isn’t about repeating what you’ve already said in the blog post. One of the most basic tips for leaving comments on someone’s blog is to say something original and add to the conversation. You should keep this in mind when you comment on your on blog as a reply to your readers.

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She likes making new bloggy friends, so leave a comment (or follow her @allison_boyer).

Image credit: sxc.hu


Feedback

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  • Judy Helfand

    Hi Allison,
    I am going to share your post with my clients. You may not remember me, but I commented on your post about the Easy Bake Oven. Since then, I started a new personal blog, as a result of a Twitter #blogchat and encouragement from participants to try this OP-ED blog. Here is a link to my first post, which is about you! Blog World’s Allison Boyer Shares Easy Bake Oven Story
    All of this is common sense, but sometimes we just forget to be ourselves. Recently I discussed this with a client and the next day she wrote a blog about acknowledging comments. Thank YOu for Reading

    You keep writing and I will keep reading. Hope to meet you in Las Vegas!

  • Allison

    Hi Judy,

    I’m honored to have given you inspiration for the first post on your new blog! I think it’s a really good idea for a blog, and on an unrelated note – I absolutely LOVE the “avatars through the years” rotating pictures. Glad to here you’ll be in LV, hope our paths cross. 🙂

  • Andrea

    Really great advice! I never can tell which post will get the comments and I am often surprised at the ones that do. I love what you said about not just repeating the blog post. I think I get shy about keeping it going because I wasn’t sure if anyone would be back to read it. But now that I have a WP blog I have email notification for my readers when I reply, so hopefully things will pick up!

  • Alli

    Thanks, Andrea! You know, I think that even if the original commenter doesn’t come back to read a reply, bloggers should still reply if they have something valuable (and non-repetitive) to add to the conversation. The first person may never read what is said, but future readers will, and the conversation can continue to build.

  • Fresna

    I certainly loved reading this. Blog readers (is there a snazzy name for them?) may not always reply but they certainly do leave a lot of advice by what they do after and during reading your blog. What I’m saying probably extends a tad bit past the standard thing you’d see in a comment reply. I’m talking about where they click, what they click on, and in some cases, how long they view your article.

    On that somewhat rambling note, I particularly find this philosophy of thought useful when I was writing one of my more recent articles (yes I write tips for dating girls so I suppose I DO have to be aware of the whole sociological viewpoint here.) that I found my readers to instead of leaving comments, click out to another link and leave comments. Crazy stuff, right?

  • winter boots

    Keep up on good working!

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