How can you get your audience to engage without browbeating them into leaving a comment? Blogging always feels more worthwhile when your audience likes, shares, and comments on your work. Although there is no magic solution to encourage participation, a few simple steps can help prevent over-eager mistakes.
If possible, present more than one way for your audience to engage. This may include a comment section, social media sharing options, and even a “like” button. People who aren’t comfortable typing out a response may be happy to leave a “like” or share your content. Although this may not create the kind of conversation many creators hope for, all engagement is, ultimately, a good thing. The more opportunities you present, the more likely one will appeal to the various members of your audience. Content can do the same thing. If you want people to engage, give them a reason. Create a competition, contest, poll, etc.
Create Room for Community Engagement
How easy is it for your audience to communicate not only with you but with other audience members? One of the best ways to build a loyal following for your blog is to establish a sense of community. Think of your blogging space as a social event, and picture yourself as the host. As the host, you’re still in command of the situation, but part of your job is introducing your guests to each other. Features like comment sections make these introductions more natural, and while you will have to play moderator from time to time, your readers will do the majority of the work. Conversations build online communities, and while a chat box or comment section will facilitate the beginning of these communities, they may need to expand.
Listen to what your community wants. If you’re blogging about housekeeping DIYs, for instance, it might work out well to have a week of guest bloggers from the community once or twice a year. This encourages readers to participate in the conversations and submit their ideas without stress or guilt. It’s more like an invitation than an implied debt.
Always Thank Your Audience
This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with your audience. Just say “Thank you.” This acknowledges that your readers have already done the most important thing, which is reading your work. Anything else you add, such as an invitation to participate in the comments section or to submit ideas, should be postured as a thank you gift. Don’t leave readers with the impression that liking, sharing, or commenting on your work is the online equivalent of dropping a buck in the proverbial tip jar. Guilt-driven comments do not build healthy communities. You want people who are genuinely interested and engaged in your subject matter to occupy your comment section instead.
Ultimately, engaging your audience is about taking a step back and inviting your audience instead of demanding participation in exchange for your work. Have patience, and focus on making the kinds of content that will elicit a response.