Seven Tips for Writing Blog Comments That Engage Membership-Site Visitors

“That was such a great article. Thanks.” 

“I like your article, but I disagree with you in terms of . . .” 

Which blog comment is better? If you thought the first, you’d be wrong, and we’ll talk about why. But first, why are we discussing blog comments? You can’t comment on your own blogs—or can you? Actually, you can. It’s called priming the pump, and businessmen like Ken Krogue, founder of InsideSales and one of the top Forbes bloggers, use this tactic as a way to encourage others to comment. Comments should include additional foresight or a story left out of the original article. The purpose of “priming the pump” is to allow others to see that a comment is already there and that it’s okay for them to add their own thoughts. 

However, we recommend using this tactic only occasionally in order to avoid seeming overbearing. What you can do, however, is encourage everyone involved in the creation and blogging of your membership site to comment. Other writers and employees can be trained to write comments on each other’s content—comments that engage visitors and elicit reactions. Here are a few tips on what blog comments should look like, and you can use them when commenting on others’ articles on your site or responding to your own:

1-Avoid comments that add nothing.

“That was so funny!” “I loved reading this.” While a comment is better than no comment, a comment like this does little to encourage discussion. It’s basic and will probably not garner further conversation once the author of the article says thank you. Express appreciation for these sorts of comments but never waste a comment yourself by writing something like this. If you’ve asked your employees to participate in blog conversation and they are turning out comments like these, you might consider training them on writing comments that elicit more conversation. 

2-Ask questions.

A sincere question is a great way to elicit conversation. So ask questions, but give a purpose for those questions. Elaborate with a personal story or relate a sincere concern. People love to share what they know with someone who wants answers. Here is an example of a good question asked by another blog author on a Boy Scout blog about the Pinewood Derby

Skyler,

I like the idea of the Pinewood Derby. Making a winning car takes a lot of Dad and Cub leaders time. This makes it difficult for Cubs without a father present. Please reach out to these kids because I am sure your concept of the winning car sets them up to lose. Do Cubs who make their own cars ever win? 

Her question generated several responses. 

3-Generate controversy but be polite. 

Controversy is actually beneficial to your blog. People thrive on it. They feel the need to step in when their opinion is different from yours. But be careful to stay away from hot-button political or religious topics, as this can generate damage and feelings of anger. Generally, stick to things that would be unlikely to create offense. This might mean disagreeing with the author or including something not everyone would agree with. Begin by thanking the author and finding common ground. When commenting on others’ articles, you might recommend a strategy you feel worked better than the author’s suggestion, or you might suggest something about the article that could be tweaked. Here is an example from one of our own blog articles:

Good article. Personally, I use Bloom over OptinMonster (haven’t tried it, though). I was just thinking about doing some research about automated backup plugins, but turns out I don’t need to do that now. VaultPress! Thanks. 

4-Share a personal story or experience.

Sharing a personal experience may not elicit a lot of comments, but it will add depth to the article and engage visitors in a way that other content can’t. For instance, if the article was related to magic tricks, you could share a story about a time when you did magic tricks and it went awry. 

5-Give further insight.

It’s a great idea to expand on what’s already in the article. You might explain why the author is correct in a point, or you might give a few additional suggestions. This encourages other users to feel comfortable making suggestions as well. Here’s another example from one of our blog articles regarding the pros and cons of free trials

I use to offer a free trial, but I recently stopped. Now I offer a 7-day trial for a $1.00 that automatically cancels after the 7 days. I realized the free trial was attracting a lot of people without a credit card, debit card, or even PayPal account, so there’s no chance of these people ever joining the paid membership. To eliminate those people from even being on my list, I offer the 7-day trial for $1.00. I literally only implemented this about a week ago, so I’ll let it run for a few more weeks and see how it goes. Thanks for the article.

6-Respond to others in thoughtful ways.

This is your opportunity as the author of your article to participate in the conversation in a way that elicits responses. Always respond to commenters unless comments are downright cruel or vulgar. Avoid simple thank-you responses. Try to engage the commenter by asking a question or letting them know they can always ask more questions. If they do ask a question, give a thoughtful, in-depth response. Here’s a great example from Tech Mama (her response even included a link to her most recent blog article, which will help generate more views): 

Hi, Larry, You’re right. If you don’t like the idea of smart speakers listening to you, then you shouldn’t have them in your home. Government regulations can take years to implement, so we should take steps now to protect our privacy. Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Google Maps Update Helps Guide You Away from Natural Disasters” 

7-Here are a few more things to avoid. 

Don’t write overly long comments. If it’s over a hundred words, chances are it won’t be read. Avoid sounding stiff or robotic. Be real. Always avoid arguing.

“Wow. You are so amazing, and I think you write great articles.”

“I liked your first six points, but I didn’t love the seventh because . . .”

Which comment is better? Hopefully you now know! With these suggestions, you can write comments that engage membership visitors. Remember:

  • Stay away from comments that add little to the conversation.
  • Ask sincere questions.
  • Write about controversial things—but not too controversial. 
  • Share personal stories and insights.
  • Expound on what is already there.
  • Be responsive.
  • Avoid comments that go on and on.

What are some of your favorite comments from your membership site? How have you been able to engage visitors through commenting? How have you dealt with negative comments? Please let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please follow us on Facebook for more great content. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram.

Categories: How To Blogging
About Michelle Carpenter

Amy Michelle Carpenter co-owns a 3D printing business called STEM Garage. She is a national blogger, a YA editor, and a professional marketer. She also teaches children in China at 4AM in the morning because she thinks its fun.

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