I Blog for Content, Not for Comments. Surprised?

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I don’t know if that title surprised you, but I thought the time had come to face the fact that this blog gets very few comments when compared to other blogs with similar or even less website visitors.  I see a lot of bloggers trying to get more comments for their blogs to the point that they enlist in “tribes” to comment on each other’s blogs, a tactic introduced in a famous blog post by a famous blogger some time ago.  In fact, some bloggers go so far as to install WordPress plugins for comments that actually inflate comment numbers to include ReTweets of your blog post.  To me, and I speak for myself and not the other bloggers that are contributing on this site, getting few comments really doesn’t bother me.  Here’s why:

1) I am Not Blogging to “Engage” You

Some bloggers tell very personal stories with an emotional attachment or flat out write a blog post asking you, the reader, a question.  I don’t.  I’m not here to “engage” you – I’m here to hopefully provide you some insight and education based on my own experience in the social media industry.  You don’t have to comment with, “Thanks Neal!” or feel forced to say anything, unless, of course, you want to go out of your way to or if you have a burning question.  Your sharing the posts on this blog with so many is validation that the content has value.  To me, the value of your +1, Facebook Like, or ReTweet is far more valuable than a mere comment.

2) I’m More Interested in a Community of Readers and Sharers, Not Commenters

Which brings me to my next point: Some feel having many blog comments is a sign of credibility (that link also tells how you can buy 20 comments on Fiverr for $5! So much for credibility…).  They want to, and often do, build communities of commenters who make it a point to leave at least a sentence on most, if not every single, blog post.  I don’t want anyone to feel that they “have” to comment.  I don’t want anyone trying to “engage” with me by commenting if it is artificial.  I’d rather have you in my community as a reader, a subscriber, and hopefully someone who shares my content with your networks.  I know that there is a lot of a great content out there to read, and time is money – so instead of spending a minute to comment, feel free to move on to the next post you want to read!

3) I Want to Engage Where Everyone Can See It – Not Just on My Website

Don’t get me wrong when I say engagement is critical in social media.  Anyone who follows me in social media knows that I am quite “engaging” on public platforms.  And that is the point: I’d rather you comment on a blog post on a Google+ discussion or Twitter chat, which has much more potential value because it can be seen by the general public, than the very limited world of this website.  I’m not going to delete any comments that appear on the website, but don’t you want to take the conversation to a bigger forum where more people can jump in and add value to the conversation?

4) This is a Business Blog, Not a Personal Blog

Sure, I sometimes blog about personal issues, but all with the perspective of trying to provide some insight into how businesses can utilize social media for the better.   This means that the objective of this blog is to provide insightful content for businesses, not people.  Your remembering the contributors of this blog as experts in their industry – and contacting us when you need our help from a consulting, coaching, or speaking perspective – is the end objective of this blog, not how many comments we get.  This isn’t to say that we don’t like people nor want to build a “community,” but our receiving commercial inquiries as a result of our blogging is undoubtedly the best compliment we could get.  And guess what?  People and businesses who contact us for commercial opportunities never comment!

5) Blogging Comments an Important KPI for Social Media Strategy?

I’ve written many a social media strategy, for which I always include a blogging component, but number of comments per blog post as a KPI usually fall way below other metrics such as number of post views, number of social shares, bounce rates, and conversions.  From a strategic point of view, the value of a comment is simply not as high as some bloggers seem to believe it is.

My view of blogging, and of social media strategy, has undoubtedly been shaped by my primarily B2B experience in sales, business development, and marketing.  When I went on a sales call or presentation, it was less about “engaging” on a personal level and more about trying to figure out my customer’s pain points – and offering them resourceful information to help.  This had to be resourceful information that they could share internally with many departments and decision makers in order to get buy in and win approval for doing business with companies I represented.  With the advent of social media, providing resourceful content is still the best way to “engage” with other businesses – and blogging is one of the best formats in which to do it by.

The purpose of this post was obviously not to say that I don’t care about you, my reader.  On the contrary: By providing you with resourceful content, I am trying my best to become your trusted friend and advisor.

All of this leads to my conclusion: I, and every other Windmill Networking blogger under my editorial leadership, are here to offer you content, content that is as unique as it is hopefully insightful, shaped by our professional experiences and sometimes personal passions.  Our goal is to educate and hopefully become one of your primary sources for social media for business insightful advice that you won’t find on those “other” sites.  We may not be famous – and we certainly don’t receive many comments ;-) – but we are committed in our goal of becoming your virtual advisory council for social business.

Guess what: I’m not even going to end this blog with a call-to-action question to entice you to comment.

Surprised?

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
Infographic: Google Plus health check 2014 http://t.co/Kvdd2ZAnVU - 36 mins ago
Neal Schaffer
Social Fresh West

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t worry about comments, but I don’t shut them out. In fact, I end many of my posts with a question. This acknowledges the reader … give readers food for thought that they can take with them or comment. Even if you don’t blog for comments — I recommend still having the comment feature as completely shutting out sends a bad message.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Meryl – I’m honored!

      I agree with you 100%. I also end all of my blog posts with a question, and use the most robust comment plugin that I know of (Disqus). My point was about what the objective of my blogging was, and getting comments or not on blog posts is irrelevant to me.

      Hope that explanation makes sense – and thanks again!

  2. says

    No call to action?  I just spent some time skimming through offers at Fiverr. Five bucks can get you just about anything. Definitely more entertaining than YouTube or Pinterest. Who knew? Thanks Neal, enjoyed the post. And I consider this an “aside,” not a comment. ;-)

    • says

      Thanks sir, and that probably was more of what a “comment” truly is than you think ;-) I’ve never used Fiverr, but that authoritative blog post recommending you “buy” comments on Fiverr to attain credibility was a shocker.

  3. says

    I’m glad you concur (re: my Decorum Byte) about the secondary digital footprints we leave in the Likes, +1s, shares, etc. It’s always better when it’s positive rather than negative, natch.

    • says

      Did I concur somewhere in my blog post about yours? I was only talking about objectives for blogging and why I’d rather have public rather than closed conversations – nothing about positive vs. negative. I LOVED your post – but do let me know where you think I referenced your post. Thanks.

      • says

        For example: “Your sharing the posts on this blog with so many is validation that the content has value.  To me, the value of your +1, Facebook Like, or ReTweet is far more valuable than a mere comment.”

          • says

            [Edit with proper copy and paste] Inferred or implied? (From Decorum Byte, albeit in the middle “negative” section):

            Blog post comments, Facebook Likes and Google+ posts/comments +1s, demonstrate a person’s point of view and behaviour. Much can be gleaned through these secondary digital footprints…. Most digital footprints of social business representatives are innocuous…. To paraphrase Neal Schaffer, not only are you what you tweet, but what you blog, comment, Like or +1.

  4. says

    I love getting comments on my blog and I do blog to engage my readers. That said, I choose not to leave comments on other blogs for the sole purpose of getting comments on my blog.

    I honestly don’t have time to live the life I want to live and comment everywhere just to receive a comment in return. I comment when I feel inspired to do so, and I hope that those awesome readers that comment on my blog do it because they feel inspired.

    I appreciate the honest perspective shared here.

    (Though I have read that posting a contrary opinion is a great way to get clicks, comments and shares! ;))

    Chrysta

    • says

      Thanks for coming by and choosing to comment on this blog, and I appreciate your honesty as well!

      I am very similar to you in that I also don’t nearly have enough time to comment on all of the blogs that I read, and choose to do so only when I’m truly inspired. That being said, our objectives for blogging are probably very different. If I was writing a personal blog, and I truly wanted to touch and engage with others, comments would be important to me. Probably the business focus of this blog, and with the growing number of discussions taking place in social media (especially with the emergence of Google Plus and the unlimited length you can post there), I just feel that comments aren’t nearly as important as everyone says they are – and they don’t really help me achieve my objective for blogging.

      Everyone will have a different reason for blogging, but I hope that some that worry about not getting a lot of comments stop worrying if they are irrelevant to them in the grand scheme of things.

      Hope that made sense ;-)

  5. says

    To me, a well thought out comment tells me people read, digested and considered my content over the more drive by-esque like, share or retweet. I’d much rather have a discussion on my blog than a like or retweet because it shows me people are paying attention. I’ve seen likes for no other reason than someone landed on a page, and I’ve seen retweets for no other reason than some guru retweeted first. A thought provoking comment on my blog tells  me people care enough about my blog and my writing to stop, read, and share their own thoughts.

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Deb!

      Let me first say that I always appreciate people who take time out of their day to leave a thoughtful comment that adds value to the conversation as yours has. I also agree that a well thought out comment has the potential to add more depth to a conversation when compared to a social share just because there is no restriction on character count (although Google Plus is a different story).

      My post was more about getting back in synch with your objectives for blogging and how important comments are as part of that. I don’t think that a lot of bloggers consider this, but there may be other bloggers similar to me where, in the grand scheme of things, comments _might_ not be as important as they thought they were.

      Hope the explanation makes sense. Thanks again for sharing your perspective with us!

  6. TylerOrchard says

    This is a great post, Neal. I have written at length about how there is this odd focus on popularity over value-added content. I find that many “content creators” are seeking to disseminate articles or posts that garner more RTs, “likes”, and shares, rather than contributing to the knowledge economy of the industry that they operate in. There is a sense of blind agreement just because it is perceived as being popular and these perceptions then shape how an individual writes and carries themselves. It’s a type of cyclical rotation of the same content by the same people. I will state that I strongly believe comments and engagement do advance issues, assumptions, and topics in a meaningful way, but I will also say that there is a very clear difference between valued-discussion and blanket comments like “great post” or “I liked this”. It’s refreshing to see a post that seeks to make an impact and offer value rather than just banter and the perception of popularity.

    • says

      Tyler, thank you so much for your comment, and I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, you bring up a bigger issue which is one of my tenets for blogging:

      “If you are not adding value, why blog?”

      I also see a lot of posts by “famous bloggers” or posts at “famous social media websites” that have a ton of social shares, but from a content perspective don’t really add a lot of value.

      That’s actually one of the reasons I opened up my website to contributing bloggers: Because I know there are a lot of great content creators that simply don’t have the platform to help them get discovered.

      Alas, I digress…but it’s great subject matter for a future post ;-)

      Thanks again – and hope you stop by again soon!

  7. says

    I’d rather have both but if it’s a choice between comments or RTs, I think I lean towards @debng:disqus and preferring comments. I like the discussion and yes it shows that people are reading, paying attention. I see the posts with oodles of RTs and +1s but no comments and wonder if it’s a “tribe” swapping tweets or if someone just put Big Blogger’s RSS feed on autopilot, blind RTs. Still would rather both – a healthy balance.

    That said, I love the rest of this Neal. We have different goals for blogging and it’s how I feel part of the time; not EVERY post I write is about comments, about engagement. Some are more straight up; some are about my business, trying to reach different audiences (often the kind of readers who seldom if ever comment anyway). I’m still recalibrating – (which I’m realizing is a continual state, no end) – while sticking to my goal of writing the best content I can – the stuff only I can write. And FWIW, your blog IS becoming a must-read source. :-)

    • says

      Davina, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

      I already responded to Deb, but let me just say that someone taking time out of their day to add value to the conversation through commenting is obviously a valuable thing. My point is about your objective for blogging and whether or not comments help you meet your objective. I just don’t think a lot of bloggers have given this much thought.

      I still value social shares, even if they “seem” blind, because they are helping me share my message to a broader audience.

      Love the diversity of opinion that this blog post has brought out – and appreciate your adding Windmill Networking to your “list” of social media blogs to follow ;-) Looking forward to seeing you stop by again!

  8. Bob Geller says

     I agree that comments need to be taken within context, just looking at the number per post is a very simplistic measure.  Not all articles are designed to spark a dialog.  And comments can exist elsewhere, people can share their thoughts about articles on Twitter, FB, etc.  Likes and comments are apples and oranges, most people are not natural content creators and will not take the time to write a well though out comment – that does not mean that the article did not inspire or compel some action.

  9. says

    Thanks to Davina Brewer, I came across your blog and enjoyed this post. She tweeted & a retweet of her tweet hit my attention during the 15 mins/day that I allot for reading Twitter stream.

    I agree with you about bloggers focusing too much on the wrong thing.  Most of it has to do with bloggers jumping into something new and just followed what the leaders tell them.  They forget to figure out what they wanted to accomplish from their blog.  The numbers are then needed for self validation. 

    However, social validation is important to people and we would be stupid not to use the tactics.  It’s just smarter to do it subtly as you did in posting all the retweets of your blog post via “reactions” below vs. putting it into the comment streams.   

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Kim! Yes, we don’t want to shut out comments, but their value should be placed in perspective and always be aligned with your goals for blogging in the first place! Hope to “see” you around here again soon!

  10. dougkessler says

    Great post. I often wonder if we should work harder to get more comments on our blog — not that I’m sure what I’d do to achieve that.

    You make a strong case — but I still can’t help but feel that comments, if not a goal in themselves, are a sign that our content is making an impact.

    I do get ‘comment envy’ when I see bloggers that consistently get dozens of comments even for fairly obvious posts.

    • says

      I hear ‘ya Doug. What you feel is natural for most if not all bloggers. But when you rationalize it as I have attempted to do, you may start thinking that it might not be as important as you thought. Just a thought…

  11. says

    Mmm…should I leave a comment….

    Great post. With so many social platforms conversations may start on a blog but they rarely conclude their. I agree 100% with your sentiments and blog for the same reasons.

    Thanks Neal for putting so succinctly what I, and many others, have been thinking for so long but unable to express it as well as you.

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  13. says

    Hi Neal, I agree with this – “You don’t have to comment with, “Thanks Neal!” or feel forced to say anything”. I made this mistake before, I thought to express my gratitude to blog owners but in fact, “Thanks Neal” or “Thanks Kent” doesn’t engage AT ALL!!! For me it is complete waste of time as well. Your interview video on my blog has no comment but has the most shares and likes among all my blog post and did generate traffic. That’s what we look for. :)

    • says

      Kent, commenting is never a waste of time. Different people blog – and comment – for different reasons. It’s all good. However, for my objectives, instead of trying to be popular with those who comment, I’d rather be popular with the businesses that want to hire me – as you can imagine, rarely do they comment ;-)

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