Jeff Marsico paid me a nice compliment on Twitter the other day when he tweeted “You get good comments on your blog.”
It’s possible, of course, that it wasn’t compliment to me, but a compliment to the people who leave comments here. But I jokingly replied “here’s my secret: PPO (piss people off).”
While there’s some truth to that, believe it or not, it’s not my modus operandi.
But I do think there are certain type of blog posts that “get good comments”. This is hardly scientific, nor will it be particularly inclusive, but I tend to see a number of different blog post “types” out there (caveat: in business-related blogs).
For starters, there’s the “[fill-in-the-blank] is the greatest thing since sliced bread” type, where the blank is usually filled with “social media”. These posts are great for the people who need affirmation that their beliefs about fill-in-the-blank are justified. Nothing wrong with these types of posts, but I think they’re most likely to spur comments like “YES! I couldn’t agree more!”. Nice, but not exactly conversation-inducing.
Then there’s the “personal experience” posts. You know these posts: Someone had a (typically) bad experience with some company and uses that experience as a springboard for elaborating on all the lessons that every firm should learn from this single experience. Sometimes it’s a good experience, and instantly becomes a “best practice” for the rest of the world. Generally induces comments like “I had a similar experience with….”. Snooze.
Another type of post which is quite common is the educational-oriented post. They’re how-to posts, lessons learned, analytical-oriented. I learn a lot from these type of blog posts (I’ve recently been turned on to two blogs that deliver these types of posts: Jeff For Banks and Steve Sleeper’s blog). I really like this kind of blog post, but honestly, I’m not sure they drive a lot of comments. If the posts deal with a popular subject matter (i.e., how to get more Twitter followers), they might generate a ton of hits — but not necessarily a lot of comments. (This post might be the acid test on that).
While I’m sure I’ve written posts that fit in the previous categories, I don’t think they’re the ones that generate comments. I think the ones that do are those that are written with the intention of influencing people’s thinking. I think that’s a common thread in a lot of blog posts here: “This is what I think, this is why I think that, and why you should believe what I believe.”
This is the type of blog post that I think will generate the most comments — and, most importantly — conversation. Having your beliefs challenged tends to be a pretty emotional thing. And I think that might be the thing that gets people to comment (in a meaningful way): You have to touch a nerve.
This doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can do it with a well-constructed question or assertion. When Trey Reeme was actively blogging at the Open Source CU blog, he was the master of this. With just an intro sentence or two, he would make a comment or pose a question that got to the heart of the matter. And generate a lot of discussion. Here’s a great example of this.