Last week I read a two well written blog posts by authors I admire on the subject of engagement.
Chris Brogan said: I shoot for being as personal as I can. I write as if I’m writing only to you. I ask you questions where I’m genuinely interested in your answer.
Darren Rose said: Three years ago if you’d asked me what strategies I’d been implementing on my blogs it probably would have been more about optimizing advertising and affiliate promotions. While I still do work on these things I guess I’ve realized that making money from a blog tends to look after itself a little more when you have an engaged and growing readership.
After reading both these posts in the same day i was inspired! I was going to talk about engagment to readers. Then I sat through Jason Falls’ presentation at BlogIndiana in which he declared that many great blogs break “established rules” He gave some wonderful examples of bloggers like Seth Godin who don’t allow comments on their blogs.
Then I was left in a quandary, for the average small business owner who has a blog, does engagement matter. Is it bad if no one comments? From my perspective I am interested in interacting with my visitors/ I always reply to people, and thank them for comments, even if the disagree with me because it lets me know they are listening. But my traffic numbers and RSS subscriptions tell people are coming, even if I haven’t motivated them to comment.
So my advice to my clients is going to be, WRITE! It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone responds. Watch your analytics to tell you if you are reaching people, and give them the option to comment if they chose too. Then follow the suggestions Darren and Chris’ lay out to increase engagment. And if you really don’t want to, remember there are no rules, if your approach works, keep doing it.