This is a Guest Post by Phillip Gibb.
I don’t think there is a blogger out there that does not want people to comment on their blog. Ok, there are few that do not enable comments for a reason, but this post is not directed at them.
Even so, these people do want some sort of engagement. It’s part of who we are as humans.
I was taking a walk to the local shopping center the other day in order to browse some books that I had been interested in and as I got closer I started wondering about the process that moved me from indifference to a keen sense of interest in personal and intellectual investment, or at least the kind that makes me physically commit to walking into a bookstore.
Perhaps it’s too much thought, but track with me for a second.
Have you ever walked past a book store only to be drawn deeply into it even when you were actually headed somewhere else?
What the heck is that? What erupts within us to move us from a passerby to someone standing in front of bookshelves with an intense desire to purchase?
Now I have to imagine that the same thing happens on the internet (but at a much faster pace). People are “browsing” and “passing time” looking for something in particular (or not) and all of a sudden they find a blog that has commenting enabled and they make that amazing investment to drop a comment (or two).
What is that about? What is the driving force behind it all? I think there’s something here and perhaps there’s a unique parallel that might make sense in terms of the way we design and develop our blogs:
As you look over the books on display, some are advertised very well; the best sellers and featured books, the first thing that draws your attention is always going to be the cover.
1b. Blog: Once the potential reader find out about the blog he/she will be immediately influenced by the look and feel. They will either be intrigued to find out more or will leave based on what they see and how it makes them feel.
2a. The Blurb, a.k.a. the Focus of the Blog
Holding the book in your hand you get a good impression of what the book is actually about. You turn the book over and read the blurb. At this point you either put the book back or continue. Sometimes I don’t even get half way through the blurb and I have already lost interest.
There is nothing that can be done for a reader that does not find interest in the topic or focus of the blog, but to those that do they will want to know what you are about and how it will have an impact for them or if they find value.
3a. The First Page, a.k.a. The First Post
Opening the book and making your way to a page; probably the beginning of the first chapter or the prologue, you start to read. At this point I usually find myself in a position of either buying or thinking of buying whether that first read captures my imagination. If I find myself reading on then I am more likely to buy the book.
They say that ‘Content is King’ and just as the good story tellers are the best sellers so the good bloggers are the most popular. Good as in; make the connection with people whether well written or not, controversial or not, in a way that readers can identify and feel as if they belong to the conversation.
As a reader if you make it this far, an investment of time has already been made. The problem is translating that investment into an investment of intellect. The content and how it engages you is key.
This parallel of a person wanting to buy a book together with a reader making a comment is important because, knowing it and applying it will help the reader in making the change over from a purely inactive reader to an active commentator.
And just as the book author wins loyal readers for future publications so a blog author can win over the blog readers to make that investment to comment, and comment consistently.
[Image by Gaspi]