“Comment on blogs, so they comment back.” Doesn’t matter that most times friends comment on friends blogs.
“Increase your blog’s visibility by hanging around blog superstars and commenting on their blogs.” Doesn’t matter that since everyone’s doing the same thing, they forget to visit the “commoners” blogs.
“One way to gauge a blog’s effectiveness is by the comments.” Doesn’t matter that some people have a target audience that just don’t comment, or subscribers that read but don’t go back to the website to comment.
These are just some of the advice that was being shoved down the throats of newbies, when I entered the blogosphere in 2007.
There I was, coming from a conservative business background (banking of all places where you weren’t even allowed to have a picture of your family on your desk for fear of bad people planning banking heists) and overwhelmed with the rules, the cliques already formed, the structure, the tools, and now I had this to think about. Talk about intimidating. Why am I even writing? No one’s reading!
Few years later, and that advice still had me blogging for comments, like Marcus Sheridan so eloquently explains it. 20,000+ views on this post, 11,000+ views on this one, 5,000+ views on this one and I was still wondering about the comments.
It took me a while to realize that blog comments don’t matter.
I mean don’t get me wrong, everybody loves comments on their blogs. Comments are real-time feedback, an acknowledgement from someone that they’re out there listening, or that they hate you. But blog comments are not all that matters.
Blog comments have been replaced with influence.
We write to influence a certain kind of reader. Entrepreneurs influence people to buy by educating them and making them comfortable. Writers are influencing people to do something: share the news, participate in a cause, get educated about a current event, change their life, buy something.
When you concentrate on blog comments alone, you forget about the silent motivators.
This silent group once had me confused. When I started my first business, they weren’t leaving comments to help my blog become “popular.” Instead, they were signing up as clients, sending me business referrals, attending my seminars, coming in to see me and saying things like, “I remember when you said to do this…”
How did you find out about me?” I would ask. “Oh I read your blog all the time,” I would hear.
“Oh I like the book you’re reading, it’s one of my favorites,” I said to someone once. “Oh yes that’s because I ordered it after you talked about it on your blog,” he said.
In fact, the first major brand I contributed to, found me because of one of my blogs and wanted me to give the same information to their audience (I’ve since then revamped and am still getting rid of some old blogs and information, but you get my point).
These silent motivators helped my business pockets in a big way, and you would think that I would have picked up on this. But no, I kept thinking about comments and how I sucked because I couldn’t get them. After all, the “good ones” were getting comments.
The “share” button came along and gave “silent motivators” a voice.
Think about this for a second: would you rather get one comment from someone, or would you rather that same someone shared your information with their 5,000 Twitter friends? Whether we write a book, launch a business, etc., we want people to talk about it to their friends.
I’ll go ahead and say it: to have you “share” my post, is to have me fall in love with you. I love you even if you don’t comment, even if you don’t want to bother telling me who you are. All that matters is that you took the time to tell someone else, that you found the information useful.
Let’s go over the stats again:
I had 21,000 views from this post, and only 12 comments (including mine). But 350 people shared it with their Facebook friends (which helped it get the views that it did).
This post, 600+ views, zero comments, but 64 people tweeted it and I received tons of tweets, followers, and emails because of this post. Somewhere, somehow, there were fewer views and comments but lots of people who stopped to email me, give feedback, talk about this topic, and ask for more of it.
The moral of the story is this: we write for people
Whether they comment, share, subscribe, or email, is up to them. Some blogs may have 10,000 subscribers and may write a post that elicits no comments. Do they still suck? If you’re a blogger with the comment-syndrome, you might as well get over it now.
I’m an entrepreneur and writing is my business. So I approach this the same way I would approach a start-up: with a target audience in mind. I’ve written for two major business brands (soon a third) and what I do is always think about the target audience. I write for people, to move them to appreciate a subject, learn from it, and/or do something about it (in whatever way is comfortable to them). I write for change.
So if you’re discouraged because you have a “silent” blog, just write. Write stuff that matters to the people you write for, be consistent, and once they latch on to a particular topic, keep delivering. Call me crazy but I’d rather do this than play any kind of game.
And of course, feel free to share this post if it floats your boat