I remember hearing once from a business executive that you can’t take percentages to the bank. The discussion was about the bottom line profit dollars versus the percent of profit per gross revenue. It was an interesting thought and it got me thinking about blogging and what businesses really take to the bank.
One thing you can’t really take to the bank in blogging are blog comments.
Business blogging is about getting more traffic, leads and sales. But that’s an interesting part of the blogging process. It involves the entire sales process.
Blog posts are a way for potential customers to discover your brand. From their they move down the sale funnel or suggest your brand to a colleague that will move down your sales funnel.
But can comments really have an impact on how you get people in your sales funnel?
How Readers Value Comments
Comments do have value for business owners with business blogs. There are a couple reasons people look at comments when encountering a blog and while some may seem superficial it’s still important to understand how people react to blogs so we can improve.
1. The Sniff Test
When we come to a new website we often perform a sniff test. We look at the design, headlines and other elements. We’re trying to determine if the site is authentic and worthwhile.
We do the same with blog posts. We look at how many times it’s been shared. We look at how many comments it has. People love numbers and we use this sniff test to see if others have read this blog. It’s how we make a determination as to whether we should read the post without looking beyond the surface.
People have evolved over the years and we’ve developed these sniff tests for all kinds of things.
People do this with blog posts. One test is the number of comments. So comments do have importance in this sense. It’s not the end all of tests because if your post is good people will still read it, share it and bookmark it.
2. Interaction With Other Readers
People like to comment on posts to interact with others. They are looking for connection with like-minded individuals. They are also sometimes looking for an argument.
Controversial posts often do well in terms of getting comments because you’ll get people on both sides of the argument leaving their feelings. It causes quite the stir up in the comments if you get really controversial or even if you ask a question in the post.
This interaction is good for the business and the blog. It gets people talking and when there is a big discussion you have lots of people and lots of exposure for your business.
The only thing to watch out for is how the discussion in your comments can reflect your brand. YouTube is known to have a reputation for some really offbeat and weird commenters. It’s part of the brand now.
3. Interaction With The Author(s)
A third reason people leave comments is they want to interact with the author. We run into this commenting situation with GBW. Our challenge is often to speak as a brand and people don’t really want to interact with a brand. It doesn’t make sense to leave a comment and expect a brand to leave a comment back. People want to interact with people and in this case they want to interact with an author.
We do write for consultants and coaches and in those cases we tend to get more comments with people wanting to interact with the brand. In some cases the owner of the site will interact with comments or they’ll give us direction to respond.
This is something to keep in mind as you start your business blog. If you want comments then you’ll need author profiles. Real people.
4. Personal Gain
The fourth reason people leave comments is for personal gain. There are varying levels of this practice. You have people that do it the right way by leaving a comment that adds to the post in a positive way. It adds value to for other readers and the author and when they leave their name they simply enter their URL, which turns their name into a link.
It’s also okay to share a URL if the content on that URL is valuable. However, some take this too far and simply share links to their posts looking to get traffic.
Ex. “Hey. Great post. Check this post out you may like…”
One way for business to take advantage of this reason is to allow people the opportunity to get value from leaving a comment. Maybe allow them to share a post they’ve written. It can get them attention and get you more content on your site.
Comments have value because they can get your more readers based on social proof and the sniff test. Comments can also get more interaction on your blog, which brings you more readers and more content on your site, which is good for SEO.
However, you need to be careful with comments. You still want to optimize your blog posts for traffic, leads and sales. The most important part is sales.
You can take a topic and write a controversial post and get 100 comments and 0 sales or you can write a thorough post on the topic with great answers and value for 10 specific readers that eventually turn into customers.
Yes. Comments are valuable, but they shouldn’t be the main focus for your blog.