AskPat 070 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hello. Hello, everybody. This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 70 of AskPat. I can't believe we're up to Episode 70 already. This is so cool. Thank you guys so much for joining me.
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Now, today's question comes a from 16-year-old named Danny, and he's doing some cool stuff. Gosh. I wish I was doing this when I was 16. Anyway, let's listen to Danny's question about blog comments.
Danny: Hello, Pat. My name is Danny Gomez. I'm 16 years old, and I just started my first website by the name of thestudyingmusician.com. My question to you, Pat, is, how do you get people to engage, and discuss, and leave comments on your articles. I've written about 20 articles so far, but I can't get people to leave comments or any sort of feedback. I know that these articles are getting views, because if I check on the site stats, it'll show that there are views. There are people that are viewing these articles. They just won't leave comments. I'd really appreciate it if you could help me out with this problem. I really look up to you, Pat, and have a good day.
Pat Flynn: Danny, thank you so much for your question. First of all, just I want to say that you're awesome, because I wish I was blogging at the age of 16 also. I can't even imagine how much, you know, further ahead I would be if I was doing that. Anyways, just keep going. You're doing amazing, and a great question. Thank you. This sort of reminds me of a question we had from another youngest, Briggs, in AskPat episode number 3, who asked about how to get people in his membership site to sort of engage, and talk, and leave comments, and so I'm going to answer this question using some of the same things I said in that episode, but I'm also going to add a couple more things.
I want to start off by saying, first of all, when it comes to comments on blogs specifically, you have to realize that, yes, it's awesome to have comments. Right? It's great to get feedback. It's great to get people to continue to talk about whatever it is you wrote about in your blog post there. However, the percentage of people who comment versus the number of people who actually view that particular blog post is going to be very small, even for my own site. Yes. I do get, you know, up to 100, even sometimes up to 300 comments per post, which is great and amazing, but there are tens of thousands of people who are reading those posts, so the percentage is extremely small. You have to realize that you shouldn't use commenting as a way to determine whether or not your blog post was successful. I don't want you to think that because nobody is commenting, that your writing isn't good or you're not doing a great job. You are probably doing an awesome job. It just so happens that the articles you're writing or maybe you're just not leading into something where people feel like they would have a need to comment, even if you ask. The first thing I would just say, just to sum that all up, is don't focus too hard on the number of comments. Comments are great. It's a great way to add social proof to a post. People go to a post and they see, “Wow. There's hundreds of comments,” they're going to know that's something worth reading and sort of perhaps talking about as well. However, if it's a zero, that's okay. If there's views, that's what's most important. Hopefully you'll have links in there and you're tracking those links, or perhaps getting emails from those particular blog posts as well to grow your list.
That's what's most important, but it's also a great idea to try and get people to comment, because when people comment that is a form of a transaction. No. It's not a monetary transaction. They're not even subscribing to your list necessarily, but they do have to take action to do that, and by doing that you're sort of training them to take further action with you down the road. You know, they have to leave their name, and email, and their website, if they have one, and then leave a comment. That's some time out of their day for you and your site, and it's good. The more of that that you have, the better it is, of course. How do we increase the number of comments on our posts? How do we increase engagement in our community? First and foremost, I think you should realize also that your blog topic, the topic of your website, and even the topic of some posts that you write, they might not lend themselves to, you know, gaining a lot of comments. They might be about something where people would be afraid to speak up or leave comments or sort of admit to something, for example. Just off the top of my head, you know, depression. Some people aren't going to, if your blog is about depression or maybe a particular blog post that you have is about depression, some people aren't going to want to admit that, and they're not going to want to write about it. That's just something they want to read about. That's why they're reading your blog, because they don't want to talk about it with anybody else. That's one thing to think about.
But the other thing you have to think about is, are you welcome-ly inviting people to leave comments, and are you making it a welcoming environment? What I mean by this is, maybe you have just one or two comments, and if those one or two comments are there on your site and people see that, but there's no reply from you, how do they know that those comments are actually being read? I mean, nobody who's leaving comments knows if they're being read, unless other people respond to them. Because, Danny, you're just starting out, I would recommend that any time you get any sort of comment, unless it's an obvious spam comment that has nothing to do with the topic of your particular post, in which case you would delete it, I would hope, I would always respond to comments. Since you're in the early days of your blog, I would respond very thoughtfully and try to increase comments from there by asking questions and actually having a conversation with people in your blog post, so when you reply to somebody else you can ask a question at the end or ask, “What do you think about that?”, or, “How does that make you feel?”, or, “What else would you have to add?”, things like that. That helps increase the comments, which would increase the comment count, and anybody else who comes to the site would not only see social proof from that increased comment count, but they would see that you're actually there, you're reading those comments, you're engaging in conversation, and you're friendly, and, you know, you're not going to be mean to people, that you don't bite. That will get people comfortable with leaving more comments on your site. Even if you just get one or two comments on your post, I would reply to them, and reply in a very thoughtful, thorough, engaging manner.
Another thing you have to think about is, well, what causes people to leave comments? Well, there's a lot of things. One, if it's a topic that people have to choose a side for, that often will lead to people leaving comments. If you actually make it easy for people to choose side A or side B in whatever that argument or comparison might be, that's when people are going to leave a lot of comments. A great example of this happens on a micro level on Facebook. Some of my most commented, most engaged posts on Facebook are ones that simply say, “Which do you like better, A or B?”, and there's an image of a logo, for example, in one version, version A, and then there's a second version, version B. I just say, “Which one do you like better, A or B?” Those by far are the ones that get the most comments, or sometimes I say, “Which platform do you like better, Twitter orLinkedIn?” I get 100 comments in an hour from people just saying one or the other. If you can make it easy for people to make a decision, where it would make sense and be really easy to choose one thing over another, in which case they would be expressing their opinion on something at the same time, that would help you increase engagement on your post as well. Again, that goes back to the blog topic, but also how you're setting them up to leave comments as well.
Now, one thing I like to do, that I also mentioned in that episode with Briggs in number 3 of AskPat, is, and I want you to think about this—it goes back to game shows. You know, when we're watching a game show, any game show, we hear the question, and we immediately try to think of that answer, and even when we're by ourselves, we'll often blurt out the answer, because we love to know that we know the right answer. What I would do is, I would quiz your audience. I would actually ask them questions where there is a correct answer. Even if you know that correct answer, you want to open up the opportunity for people to validate that they know the correct answer as well. Oftentimes, that will lead into a lot of sort of mini debates and quarrels in your comments section from people thinking one is right over somebody else's answer. It's really interesting, actually. The example I give comes from SteveSpanglerScience.com. Steve Spangler's a scientist and a speaker. He appears on TV all the time, the Ellen DeGeneres Show and a lot of news channels, doing these cool, fun science experiments. Well, he has a YouTube channel where he would do these science experiments, and back in the day, he used to do the experiments and then share what happened, share exactly the science about why that happened. There would be very limited number of comments. Most of the comments were, “Cool,” or, “Oh. How do I get those items?,” and things like that. Well, he changed it up, and he did experiments, like he did before, but then he asked the audience, “What is happening here? How is this happening? Why is this happening this way?” He would just open it up for the audience to share the answer. Then the comments were coming in like mad. Why? Because people wanted to share that they knew the answer. It sort of empowers your audience when you do that. When you can give your audience permission to leave an answer and empower them at the same time like that, you're going to increase the number of comments on your site as well.
Lastly, the best thing you could do, and I love this the best, and it goes along with my sort of “select A or B” type of situation, but it doesn't always have to be an A, or B, or C type choice, but the whole idea here is that the more you can get your audience involved in the direction of your site, and where it's going, and some decisions that you have to make for your business or your blog, the more comments you're going to get. You're going to ask your audience, for example, “Hey. What do you want to see me write about next?” Oftentimes, you'll get people who are interested, who are reading those blog posts, who, again, you're giving them permission and making them feel comfortable, because you sort of put the guard down like, “Hey. I don't know everything. What do you want me to write about?” That vulnerability almost, I guess you could say, increases the number of comments and the likelihood of engagement on your site as well. You know, if people are there, and they have an opinion about something, and they want to see it change, if you open that up to them, they're going to speak up. Again, those small transactions, those filling out of those forms and leaving you a comment, is just a great way to train your audience to keep doing that in the future, not only in comments, but your email form and whenever you perhaps might sell something down the road.
Danny, I hope that answers your question. Those are a number of different things you could do to increase the engagement and comments on your posts. Well done on creating your first site. I can't wait to follow up with you in the future and see how well you do. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. You'll get an email from me soon about that.
If you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there using the SpeakPipe widget that is right there on that page. You can also view and listen to the other AskPat questions that have been asked and answered as well. I want to thank today's sponsor again, which is personalcapital.com. Now that the show's over, don't forget to sign up for your free account with Personal Capital right now. If you go to PersonalCapital.com/askpat, you get to check it out for free, where you can log in and see all of your accounts in one place to get a clear view of everything that you own and get your financial being, and your network, and all that good stuff. Again, PersonalCapital.com/askpat.
Finally, as always, the quote of the day by Pierre Corneille. Totally not saying that last name right. Maybe I am. Pierre Corneille. He says, “To win without risk is to triumph without glory.” Always take those bold actions in your business and in life, because that's how you make the best things happen. You know, without risk, there is no reward, really. “To win without risk is to triumph without glory.” Ponder that. Take care. Thank you so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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