Engagement: Comments As Currency?

Many people have asked me how to get more people to comment on their blog.
My response has typically been, "Why?"

I often said that 'comments are not currency', and recommended they focus on conversions instead of comments.

Let's take a product review post, for example. If it's converting well, do you really want to interrupt the buying decision and try to talk them into leaving a comment instead? Of course not.

If they only take ONE action on your page, which action do you want it to be?

-> The buy button or product link!

That said, things are changing, and so is my answer...

I still think you should focus on conversions. You should have a very strong call-to-action, and every piece of content should contain a very clear objective in line with your overall marketing strategy.

BUT - and here comes the part where things are changing - engagement is extremely important in today's virtual landscape. Anyone with an online business should be giving serious consideration to their "engagement strategy", and monitoring it just as closely as conversions.

Why Engagement Matters

A steady response both on your blog and social media channels will give you:

  • higher social media rank
  • better placement in search engine results
  • more visibility in search results
  • attention from brands, advertisers & sponsors

The Power of an Engaged Audience

I have a new saying, which is based on new algorithms and the constant evolution of the web and social media, and that saying is:

If you have an audience, you can monetize it.

It's not so much about which niche you choose, the amount of search volume for your keywords, the gravity or score or any other metric for profit potential... anymore. These days, it's about having an engaged audience and a loyal readership. And if you have that, you will have no problem making a profit. Period.

I used to choose niches based on profit potential. Now I choose niches (or business models) I LOVE. I don't know about you, but personally - I think these are positive changes and exciting times in the world of online business!

➡ I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you keep YOUR market engaged, or what issues are you having trying to build interactive properties that attract and elicit responses from your target market?

Best,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Lynn,

    What's the best way to know how loyal your readership is (other than conversions)?

    I haven't done a lot of product promoting yet, but the few things I have promoted (books mainly) haven't sold well and rarely, if ever, get clicks months after the post went up.

    I realize that it could be the writing style I used for those posts. But I'm finding it difficult to bridge the gap between trustworthiness (which I know I've developed) and monetizing products I believe in.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  2. I agree That is just what I have done by setting up a site about fashion. I'm purely focussed on building an audience and engaging. So far, so good!

  3. Charles Ceccarelli says:

    This is one of the best blogs that I have read. I think people misunderstand and have a view that comments rather than conversions are the true indicator of how many people have read your blog posts. I think by your statements here you have nicely and clearly explained the difference between the two and how one over the other is placed and compared. Even though I have been in the blogging world for quite sometime I was also a little unsure about comments vs conversions but now seem a little more clear about the same.

  4. The collation between comments and money has been wrongly made my many who feel that if they have many comments they will be making more money. It is nice that you have pointed this foolishness out and made it clear with reasons why the former is not true. I was also one of those who equated comments with business profits until, I read a blog similar to this one and managed to understand the important points about conversions and how that is the main point that gets missed totally in the search for better comments or more comments even. Great post, very informative.

  5. You are 100% on target!

    I love my concert and music sites, but my new site about houses is in my heart, soul and being. You know how most people swim with the stingrays in the Caymans? My idea of a good time is checking out the new condos!

    So after Google slammed my primary concert site and 95% of my income came to a screeching halt, I thought "I am SO over Google." And for the first time in my four+ year internet career, I actually selected a niche with zero regard for the money (altho I knew it would come because this is MY area and I can add big value)..

    I've been live 4 months now and all my stats across the board are practically a line straight up! Forget doubling; in some months I'm tripling and quadrupling. Why? I think because my readers can sense this is really my thing and I genuinely care (and can truly help them.)

    So for all those out there not 100% sold on what Terry is saying today, I encourage you to believe her anyway.. and you'll save yourself a ton of time, money and frustration.

    Dee 🙂

  6. Hi Lynn,

    I think you are spot on with the idea of building a following and then finding or creating products to sell to those people. They already like you or they wouldn't be following you, so there is a built in trust level. If you approach this audience from the direction of, "I want to HELP these people solve a problem in their lives so what can I do to help THEM," then you can find success.

    It really boils down to what the old copy writers new a hundred years ago. Find out a problem people have, show them how your solution will help, and then guarantee it will work. This, along with the authority you have built up with your followers is a recipe for success.

    Also, I have been following your low carb blog and really enjoy what you are doing with it. I believe we would be a much healthier nation if we could get rid of all the sugar and refined carbs we eat and get back to eating foods Mother Nature intended for us to eat.

    • Thank you Andy! I really enjoy the low carb blog AND the low carb lifestyle. 😉 My twitter ID for that account is @lowcarbtraveler Would love to connect with you there.

      Good points about serving your market. Agree 100% 😀

  7. Karyn Greenstreet says:

    Lynn, I think you're right on target, but because of something you haven't mentioned: SEO. Google is now giving higher rankings to people with good social media credentials (comments, likes, etc.). Getting your audience into conversation is good for your business and good for your rankings, too. 🙂

  8. I agree with this completely...conversions and your actual money making functions of your website should be the clear objective...but engagement is important for the community your building, and for SEO purposes. I believe in the near future search engines are going to weight social metrics heavier which would include user engagement. Thus, KeywordLuv is a fabulous tool to create a strong community and benefit both parties.

  9. Peter Lawlor says:

    I don't have comments enabled on any of my websites. It's not that I'm worried too much about conversions, but rather the time it takes to moderate them.

    That said, if I were to add commenting and wanted plenty of commenters, especially in the marketing arena, I'd enable DoFollow because this is an incentive for readers ... even on non-marketing websites.

    The fact is many people will comment for the backlink, but if you only approve quality comments, the comments will be many which makes for a dynamic looking commenting section.

    Of course, using DoFollow only compounds the main reason I don't have commenting and that is it attracts more spam. Catch 22.

    Anyway, every week I contemplate adding commenting to my sites due to the fact it can be hugely effective. However, I'm worried I simply won't have time for monitoring.

    On a related note of trying new things, A few months back I decided to add Adsense to 3 websites. I always assumed having Adsense would reduce affiliate commissions.

    Anyway, the results were awesome. Affiliate commissions increased plus I added a nice income stream from Adsense. It was definitely worth trying. Note, however, I don't place Adsense in all that prominent of places - low on the sidebar and maybe at the bottom of the post. I could earn much more, but I want people to at least read my content before choosing to click Adsense instead of an affiliate link.

    Sorry for the tangent, but it's in line with trying new things to see what happens.

    • You should always be testing 😉

      I don't recommend using the dofollow plugin to entice people to comment. You will attract tons of spammers (I learned this the hard way). I don't use that plugin on ANY other blog I own.

      Much better to engage readers and entice comments naturally - through conversation.

      I outsource my comment moderation, btw. 😀

  10. Spatch Merlin says:

    Only a skilled marketer is able to choose niches that are not based on profit but on the passion and interest of the writer. Conversion is very important. But engagement is as important as the former. The more followers you have, the higher the chances of monetizing the blog. Great post Lynne. Thanks!

    Spatch Merlin

  11. I like the fact that you focus on conversions, Lynn.

    That really is the most important thing. Personally, I have when an article on my site ranks well, even if it is temporary, the absolute best thing I can have in place is a strong call to action.

    This is really paramount to being successful online.

    You do a great job of this I have noticed.

    Keep up the good work and keep writing content that converts 🙂

    Mark

  12. More importantly, though, building an audience is a slog, it’s a long, hard process, and you need to be committed enough to stay the course for the long haul. If you love your audience, then every email and tweet that you receive will give you a small boost of motivation to keep on going.

  13. It’s great to have a list of things to do (know your goals, love your audience, create great content, network like a superstar, etc.), but it’s even more useful to know what not to do.

  14. Running an effective social media campaign is all about creating engagement with your audience. If you don’t have that engagement, then trying to monetize it will not work.

  15. It's a fine line, isn't it Lynn? I mean, of course we're all interested in getting comments on ours sites - something which I see you enjoy in abundance - because to me comments usually mean traffic. It is all about getting the balance between clicks and conversation; hopefully your advice one THIS site will allow me to get there in the long run. In the meantime, I'll be sure to leave my comments to let you know how pleased and thrilled I am to have such a giving, generous mind like yourself online to help us all out! 🙂

    A. xx

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