My post last Friday received the highest number of comments I’ve ever had on a single post (over 500). It was not because it was such a great post. Rather, I think it was because:
1) The post gave helpful information, but most importantly, it was about the reader — not about me.
2) The post encouraged readers to interact with one another in the comments.
3) There was an inherent promise in the post — that if readers put the “one sentence summary” of their book in the comments, they might receive valuable feedback, not from me but from fellow readers.
This bears out something I’ve learned from writing over 1700 blog posts, and I think it may be the most important blogging advice ever:
Make your blog about your reader.
Engagement is an important part of blogging. The more your readers interact with your material — and interact with each other in the comments — the more motivated they will be to keep coming back. Getting your readers highly engaged is an important goal of blogging.
One of the ways to increase engagement is to allow your readers to contribute meaningfully to the blog by making their comments an integral aspect of your blog.
How do you do this?
1. Ask questions — in a way that communicates that the readers’ answers matter.
2. Encourage interaction between your readers.
3. Allow them to talk about themselves, their opinions, their thoughts (or in the case of this blog, allow them to talk about their writing).
When your readers understand that their contributions are just as important as what you’ve blogged, they are much more likely to be engaged and to come back.