Gini Dietrich

10 Ways to Get Comments On Your Blog

By: Gini Dietrich | September 14, 2016 | 

How to Get Comments On Your BlogDuring Content Marketing World last week, I had the great honor of being able to have conversations with some really smart people about the state of blogging.

EVERYONE is talking about how comments are dead, no one shares anything anymore, and readership continues to decline.

We’re all talking about how we need to reach new audiences, but there isn’t a great way to do it.

Sure, Facebook sponsored posts work to some degree, as does other types of advertising, but what are we all to do?

As it turns out, there are types of content you can create that still get lots of shares and comments…as was evidenced by the 10 year anniversary blog post that ran yesterday.

But, not all of us have decade-long anniversaries to celebrate, and we certainly don’t have them but once a year, so what are we to do?

Following is a list of 10 types of blog posts that still work to generate comments and shares.

How to Get Comments On Your Blog

  1. The Manifesto. A few years ago, Chris Brogan introduced the three words people should use to drive their success for the year. He’s done it every year, for the past four, and many bloggers have followed suit, including Mitch Joel and Felicity Fields. Not only does it help you think through your New Year’s resolutions, it holds you accountable to your readers.
  2. The Pop Culture Tie-In. Otherwise known as newsjacking, this works incredibly well if done right. I’m not talking about “The Three Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Celebrity Deaths.” I’m talking about what you can learn from the PR disaster that is Wells Fargo. What is happening in the news right now that you can derive lessons from for your content?
  3. The Debate. We often commiserate there isn’t enough debate on the social web, so why not create it? That’s what Paul Sutton and I do about once a year. Sometimes one of us plays devil’s advocate so that we can show both sides of an argument. We’ve debated both Pinterest for business and freelancer versus agency.
  4. The Good. I have to admit I was a bit leery about showcasing good PR case studies, but if it’s researched and written well, with some valuable lessons professionals can use in their daily lives, it works well. I tested this theory with how FedEx handled a customer service crisis using video and it’s one of the most popular blog posts…ever.
  5. The Bad. It’s no surprise the bad case studies are shared over and over and over again. Earlier this year, it was discovered that Honda was recalling even more vehicles, but the communication around it was, well, lacking severely. Most people found out their car was affected by seeing a post about it by friends on Facebook. Really, really bad.
  6. The Ugly. Let’s be real. People like train wrecks. They can’t stop watching. If you can figure out how to write about a train wreck without attacking a person (unless it’s Jerry Sandusky; you can attack him personally), it’s going to be pretty popular. Ragan does a nice job of this quite often by using terms such as “most hated” in their headlines. It grabs attention, makes people want to read and share.
  7. The Lists. Voila! Just like I’m doing today. Nate Riggs is the foremost expert on the blog lists. In fact, he did an entire webinar for Spin Sucks Pro on the topic. People like lists. They’re easy to read, bookmark, and return to later. Make sure you include the number of things in your list in the headline.
  8. Freebies. Give stuff away! It might be a book a friend has written, a collection of free eBooks available from other bloggers, or your own eBook. Danny Iny does a fantastic job of this on his home page. Right there, you can download three pieces of extraordinarily valuable content (and I recommend it…you’ll learn a ton!).
  9. Ranked Lists. This isn’t something we do here because, well, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But this works really well for other bloggers. Cision, InkyBee, and many others rank the top PR blogs each year. The InkyBee posted has been shared more than 2,000 times. In today’s world, where shares are a premium, that’s saying something.
  10. The Something of the Year (or month or week). Just like People does their sexiest man alive issue, you can do the same for your niche. Maybe it’s an app of the month or a productivity tool like Michael Schechter did with his Perfect Computer blog post. We do the Spin Sucks Inquisition every Friday. Others do book reviews once a month. Figure out what your something is and how often you can run it (annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly).

And now it’s your turn. What have you found that works to drive comments and shares in today’s attention-deficit blogosphere?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Predictably, I *love* this topic. My contribution is: no matter what you write and how great it is/how well it aligns with the ten suggestions above (which ARE great for generating comments), you have to be deliberate, methodical, and reciprocal in your comment acquisition strategy. I usually blog on Sundays, which means in addition to posting the blog on my Facebook page, on Monday I add it to a Facebook group I’m in where we agree to comment on three other blogs when we link ours up. On Thursday, I add it to a blog hop that has a similar reciprocity expectation. Ditto for Saturday. I KNOW there is some thought out there that “comment for comment” isn’t “real comments” (sigh) but I don’t see it that way at all. If I have written well and created something useful, it will hopefully grab the attention of the person who is commenting as part of an exchange. Side note but I’m still hot under the collar about it and it has a tangential relevance…quote from an Inc. article I saw yesterday about how “The Influencer You Use May Be Ripping You Off”: “if you’re in a sewing circle of 15 mommy bloggers who retweet each other’s posts, that’s not real traffic.” UGH. Interestingly, he does not have any comments on THAT post. Women are probably too busy threading their needles.

    • Corina Manea

      I love that, Paula. I think it’s a great idea. As long as the comments are on topic, it counts. It means they actually read your blog post and have something to say about it.

      I’d say the power is not in the numbers, but in how tight the community around an influencer is.

    • Why doesn’t comment for comment count? If the person is truly reading your content and commenting something thoughtful, it totally counts.

      That’s why Triberr has done so well—it’s nice to be reminded of content you like and want to comment on and share.

  • Hmm, I’m not sold that these post types are the ways to “get more comments”
    – it’s not always as simple as getting a topic that you feel will encourage discussion, and then running with it.

    For example, listicles. Bane of my life, and sure – they may get a lot of shares and comments, but if the comments are of the banal variety of “awesome round-up!”, do they really count?

    Ranked lists are a dime a dozen as well, and rarely offer any context apart from trying to push someone’s tech. So the tech dev drives traffic from his or her list, and the bloggers listed drive traffic from his or her list, and the self-congratulatory but pointless sharing simply adds more noise.

    For me, personally, start looking at the value of comments and shares. The depth; the authority; how they’re driving organic discussion and awareness.
    Actions resulting in the comment (a new voice in the comment section, new topics that come from that voice, etc).

    We get so wrapped up in “the death of comments”, “the death of shares”, etc. If I’m being honest, that’s probably more down to so many people in “the space” writing about the same stuff, there’s nothing left to add.

    Take a look around at the blogs that really connect (life bloggers, parents, military personnel on the front lines sharing their stories, activists, etc), and you’ll find a hugely passionate, vocal and sharing community of web users right there.

    /endmissive 🙂

    • Mitch Joel and I had this very conversation last week. We were both commiserating that we’ll hit publish on something we deem brilliant and there are crickets. But publish a list post and the entire world comments and shares.

      I think it’s because we’re truly overwhelmed and have too much coming at us, so the easier the blogger makes it to scan and read quickly, the more shares and comments you’ll receive.

      Of course, you and I have very different content goals. I totally agree with you that the value of the comments and shares should rule supreme…unless you’re trying to rule the world…or your little part of the world. And then quantity does matter and the quality can be saved for great conversation with great friends over drinks.

      • Then it’s up to bloggers and comms pros that blog to discourage that mindset. It’s the old supply and demand behaviour – if we pander to it, we endorse it.

        We can’t complain about lack of whatever it is being complained about when we follow the same behaviour, because it works for others (or appears to).

        It’s why we should stop displaying social share numbers. Start simple, show that type of “social proof” often is anything but, and start making people care again.

        • I’m not sure I agree. I think, in theory, you are 100 percent correct. But too many business leaders put credence on the social share numbers and comments and fans and followers.

          It’s like this: When a client asks us to show media impressions and advertising equivalencies in our reporting, I die a little inside. But we show them AND we show the real things that drive their business results. Eventually, we have the “we don’t need media impressions anymore” conversation. But it takes a looooong time to get there.

          So yes, we should be doing both: We should give readers what they want AND we should do better for the blogosphere, on the whole.

          • The danger there, I think (for want of a better word) is then we let ourselves be led to much. It’s like Henry Ford’s famous quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

            Much like Apple drove change (before they were a leader), consumers (or blog readers) believe they want one thing. It’s only when we show then they’re “wrong” that they actually realize they were looking for the wrong things.

          • Well, you know we’re working very hard here at Spin Sucks to show PR pros the way they’ve always done things is wrong. And sometimes you have to concede and meet in the middle, if you want to make payroll and pay your mortgage. I hate some things we have to do in order to bring on clients, but I also love it when we can change their minds. I look at blogging the same way. I hate that a good majority of PR pros are doing it the wrong way, but I love when we can get them to change and evolve because of what we’re doing here. Life is messy and you have to compromise. And not all of us are Apple who can get rid of the headphone jack, and deem every Square user dead, and get away with it.

          • And that’s a fair and valid point. Like you say, decisions need to be made that make you (generic “you”) go against what you really want to do.

            Just don’t complain when you (generic “you” again) bemoan lack of shares and comments when it’s content you’re compromising on.

  • I know that when I see a listicle on a topic I’m passionate about, on a blog I read regularly, I often delurk to post some additional resources I think would be great additions to the list.

    • Laura Petrolino

      I do the same Erika. And “delurk” is an excellent word

    • Do you have anything to add to this list?!

  • Laura Petrolino

    Or you can just write constantly about crazy communications analogies and stories about your life and associated absent minded disasters, like I do…..

    One thing I’ve found personally is that once you develop a certain voice or style, people tend to comment more on posts that follow that voice or style. The posts I write which are really, really ME-ish get the most interaction and shares, where as post that might be a bit more technical, serious, or not as much in my “voice” often get crickets. So there is something to be said about developing a style and sticking to it.

    • I mean, really. People want you to write more about skeeball. I can’t win.

    • Corina Manea

      Totally agree with you Laura.

      We love your analogies. They are really fun.

      Every Sunday night, I am thinking: “What will Laura write about for tomorrow?”

      • And then you hit refresh 25,000 times before 7 a.m. CT and wonder why it hasn’t posted it.

        • Corina Manea


      • LOL! I heart you so much! Thanks for always indulging my ridiculousness (even though Gini might fire you now….but at least we have backup jobs with Ken Jacobs already set)

        • Corina Manea


  • Corina Manea

    I have a monthly spotlight blog post where I ask PR pros and people I find inspiring about their journey to PR. Every single time, these are the most shared blog posts.

    The second place is taken by personal experiences articles. When I share something I did and learned from, the shares and comments increase exponentially.

  • Drawing readers to your post is an obstacle in itself. To take it a step further and encourage engagement through comments and shares seems almost daunting. Although I have previously heard of a couple of the ideas you’ve shared, a few of your tips have stuck out to me as innovative strategies to get that comment back. In particular, I enjoy the debate. Serving readers as a public relations publication, I have assumed our job is to supply the information. It never occurred to me we could simply supply the conversation platform and let the audience supply the rest of the content. It’s a brilliant method to declare your opinion on a subject while igniting an opportunity for reader engagement. It will surely be a tactic I’ll keep in mind for the future.
    -Megan Perkins, Platform Magazine Writer/Editor

    • I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said here, Megan. And yes, I agree, subscribers is an entirely different topic. It’s a discussion I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago about how hard it it to compete just for eyeballs, let alone comments and share. We should continue that discussion, for sure.

      But I like where you are going with supplying the conversation platform and letting the audience supply the content. I like this a lot!