As a writer, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your content is actually successful. Feedback is important because it encourages the writer to continue writing and can also provide direction. Aside from stat tracking software, it becomes difficult to test whether the content on your page is actually doing its job. If you are one of the many users with a blog, you can take advantage of the comment system to get feedback from your audience. We will look at how to engage your reader in order to solicit comments from them.
Engaging Your Reader
Have you ever read a news article that left you with questions of your own? When we read things, if they affect us, those things usually stick with us. If you want repeat traffic, ask the reader a few questions. As you write, look for openings to question ideas and provide opinion and insight.
A well placed question is often very effective at garnering some extra attention. It also provides space for you to answer that question and present a different point of view. The action of asking the question forces the reader to attempt to answer that question in his or her mind. When you provide an answer to a question that does not sync up with the reader’s perspective, you open a space for you to make your case.
A well developed argument is a great way to get comments. Try getting 10 people to agree on one thing, it can be a difficult task. When we argue with others, we find that they usually do not side with us. If you encourage an open discussion of ideas on your blog, your comments will flow.
Having great visual content can also help encourage comments. This is especially useful for bloggers just starting out. Taking time to design a blog header, learning how to manipulate colors on your blog, and inserting pictures within your content helps give off a slick visual appeal readers will come to appreciate.
When your blog reflects the work you put into it, readers are also more willing to accept what you have to say. Simple layouts do still have their place. A news or gossip blog may not need a fancy header, but could benefit from stock photos with captions. Take time to test the appearance of your blog. If you are using WordPress, there are a multitude of themes you can install, some of which are free. Find the theme that’s best for you and your blog.
Controversy is a great way to solicit comments from your users. The moment you present a counter point, or take a mocking tone, your readers have a reaction. Remember that a good writer chooses every word that he or she uses, so take time to use language that may have an antagonizing effect.
You don’t want to bad mouth or slander people or issues; however a colorful and argumentative approach is a great way to engage the reader. Challenge their beliefs and they will defend them.
Readers often won’t just “take your word for it.” This is why you should take time to cite your sources. When you are constructing your article, look for other articles covering the same or similar topics. Other writer’s can provide fuel for your article if you know where to look. Remember that when you link your users, make sure you set the link to open in a new window. When you give the reader background, you challenge them to finish reading your article and ultimately comment with their own opinion.
The hardest part of any blog is to get that first comment. People rarely want to be the first to do anything, so if you can get one, you can get a million. It takes time and a well constructed, provocative article. Remember to engage the reader on as many levels as you can, visually, argumentatively, and controversially. As you spread your link around, you can literally watch your comments grow!
Richard Bashara has been blogging for 8 years and is an expert writer for a variety of topics on ezineseeker.com. He consults small businesses on adapting to the internet market place, and currently writes articles and blogs for a wide array of publishers and topics.