When it comes to articles, I like a big buzz and I cannot lie. Anyone who's ever spent time writing and publishing content knows the disappointment of a flat reception. No comments? No social shares? No republications? No feedback whatsoever? What an anti-climax.
Now, we're not all Buzzfeed authors. No matter how hard you try, the odds of you writing an article which takes the internet by storm, goes viral on social media and wins thousands of comments are pretty slim. Upping your engagement game, however, is actually surprisingly easy.
Here's 7 ways you can shake it, shake it, shake that content up! (Okay, that was definitely the last reference to Sir Mix-A-Lot...)
1. Don't be a bore
Newsflash: people aren't going to share or comment on boring articles. If you've sent them to sleep in your first two sentences, there's no way they'll be hitting that 'share' button, let alone scrolling down to add a comment. Keep readers engaged if you want them to engage.
This means not writing rambling essays or cloning content that's already been done to death. It means picking a relevant topic and writing it with panache. And it means actually having something worth saying. If you make people snooze, you lose.
2. Questions, please?
Newsflash number 2: your opinion isn't the be-all and end-all. Presenting it as such (aside from being unbearably arrogant) only puts up a brick wall. Without posing questions and asking your audience for their opinions, you're closing the conversation.
You wouldn't have a verbal exchange in which you asked no questions, would you? Well, not unless you're a fan of stilted, one-sided conversations that is. An article isn't a conversation, but it should still be a talking point.
3. Get social
Are you making it as easy as humanly possible for people to share your content on social media? In today's digital, instant world, copying and pasting a link and then writing a status around it is way too much like hard work. You need share buttons, preferably both at the top and the bottom of your page, and you also need to include tweetable quotes throughout your copy which readers can simply click to tweet. Seriously, never underestimate the laziness of the human race.
Then, don't forget to share the post yourself. Commenting on blog articles is sadly dying a slow death, but people are still happy to comment away on social updates
4. There's nothing wrong with a bit of cheek
Don't be afraid of a playful call to action. Instead of just having a comments section with the highly original "Write a comment" heading, try something different. "Go on, get involved" is an easy way to sound more appealing. You could jokily appeal to emotion and say something like: "Comment. Our copywriter gets a bonus if you do!" You could be creative and have a thought bubble pop up saying: "Like this content? Sharing is caring."
Seriously, have fun with your content. If it's fun for you, the odds are that it will be fun for your readers too.
5. No more barriers
People don't want to have to go through the palaver of creating an account and verifying an email address just to add a comment on your post. Make it easier and allow instant comments. Then, why not add up-vote/down-vote buttons so that users can quickly give feedback within one click? If readers can't engage on the spot, you're making your content too inaccessible.
6. Get involved
Another newsflash: you're not too prestigious to reply to comments. If someone leaves a remark on your article, write back... and promptly! If they share your post on social media, give the post a like or a favourite.
Not only are you helping to build up that buzz and increase your article's visibility by getting involved, you're also letting readers know that you value their engagement. Plus, you're building relationships which will encourage future comments. It really is a win-win.
7. Be a giver
Do you comment on other people's articles? Do you share or give feedback? Then you're in no position to complain if you get zero article engagement.
If constructed well, giving feedback on blog entries is a great advertisement for yourself and your work. Writing "Nice post" is pleasant and all, but it won't personally win you results. A thoughtful response will pique interest in you as a commenter, which in turn will improve traffic to your articles. Plus, being a giver generally encourages others to reciprocate. Try it!
What do you think? Will you take the tips on board? It's well worth giving it a go....and that you other brothers can't deny. (I lied about Sir Mix-A-Lot.)