A blog should be a multi-party conversation. Rarely anyone writes a blog only for herself. We’re social beings. Besides, writing a blog is a bit of an ego trip. Last year, Anil Dash wrote that when we blog, our ideas can be effective over time as people have a chance to respond to what we write. He argues that blog posts often age into something more substantial than they are at their conception, through the weight of time and perspective and response.
We, the bloggers, expect our readers to respond to our blog posts: they can agree or disagree, but they put their thoughts into the conversation. This is a very important understanding of blogging; if you see your blog like a prelude to a conversation, then you should follow the next five points to encourage reactions to your blog posts and make it easier to respond.
1. Write as you talk
To get more readers, to get more people to talk to you and about your blog posts, you need to write as you would say the same things to your friends, colleagues, boss, etc. It doesn’t matter, whether it’s a personal, corporate or technical blog, TALK to your readers. There’s nothing worse than a blog without an opinion or a blog post that reads as if it had been written by a robot.
2. Ask for comments
At the end of each blog post ask your readers whether they agree or disagree with you. Ask them to share their thoughts and opinions with you(r blog). Basically, make them talk to you. You have to show that you’re interested in what others have to say about the topic you wrote about and that your blog isn’t only a one-way discussion. Nobody likes to hang out with people who listen only to themselves.
3. Encourage sharing
A comment box at the end of each blog post hasn’t been the only space where one could continue the conversation online, since the proliferation of social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. Many express their opinion about your blog post by simply tweeting about it. Some add a link to your blog post on their Facebook page, where the conversation may be continued. Therefore, people may respond to your blog post, albeit on other platforms. So make it easy for them to share your blog posts elsewhere by adding a share button to your blog.
Moreover, promote your blog posts on other platforms online. I let people know about my new blog posts on my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. I don’t do it only once; I talk about the blog posts I crave a feedback for several times, even a few months after it was initially posted.
4. Talk about/to other blogs
Unless you’re really special, nobody’s going to carry a conversation with you, unless you talk about them too. So to spread awareness about yourself and your blog, you should talk to other blogs, too: leave comments on other people’s blogs, tweet about them, retweet them. And don’t just leave nice comments like: “What a great post, Nenad.” You can do that from time to time (we all like to be commended publicly), but your goal should be to add something meaningful to the conversation.
Bostjan wrote about reblogging: “Reblogging means to repost the content of another user’s post in our own blog post by adding our own comments; reblogging plays a double role: of social bookmarking and user commentary. That is how we build or expand a (meaningful) conversation.” So, instead of leaving a comment or in addition to leaving a comment, reblog a blog post and add your own comments. Or how about writing a blog post in response to another blog post? That is part of carrying on the conversation as well.
Do you see blogging as a multi-party conversation? What other suggestions would you add to the above five to spread the conversation?
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