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9 Callouts That Guarantee Reader Comments

callouts-for-blogger-comments

Photo Credit: domdeen / freedigitalphotos.net

Do you find it difficult to get readers to post in your comment area?

Creating comments is one thing, but what about generating an actual conversation where other people congratulate each other, give feedback or talk about writing in general?

Comments create social credibility when people show up to your site for the first time, but they also create community. Community is more important because there’s a good chance those people that show up a few times will eventually fade away.

It’s the people who find a club they belong to that stick around on a blog.

How can you create that community by stimulating the callouts you offer at the end of all your blog posts?

Let’s review nine callout types that have worked for others including myself.

Questions About the Article

A question at the end of your article is essential. This is Blogging 101, and you will notice that every blog post I include on Write With Warnimont ends with a question in bold lettering that encourages people to post in the comments. 

This is the quickest way to get others to chat with you. It’s probably not the most effective, but it works for those times when you need to finish up and publish.

Writing Prompts

Joe Bunting is the king of writing prompts. Frankly I think he has created one of the best communities for writers, because everyone contributes long paragraphs in each comment, and people actually interact with each other in the comments section (instead of the site moderator just saying thanks to each original commenter.)

Joe accomplishes this community at The Write Practice by offering up a new writing prompt for every single blog post. Sure he includes a callout question for the article, but the site always provides a prompt for people to write in the comments area.

Readers give feedback, post encouragement and become better writers in a simple comments area.

Taking a Stance

This is a popular option for stirring up a debate. The callout basically works as bait to get people to side with you or agree with you. The callout is still posed as a question, but it is preceded by a statement. For example: The Bears need to get rid of their quarterback ASAP. What do you think? Who would be a good replacement?

This would work well for a sporting site or a blog that followed the Chicago Bears. People will stop their lives for subjects they are passionate about. Voice your opinion and coax others to join you or take up arms. 

A Question in Your Follow Up

You have the responsibility to follow up with all the comments that people post on your blog. I typically try to respond to all comments that people post on my blog for recent articles. I do struggle to generate conversation after that initial comment. I credit this to my one word or one sentence replies. Readers take time out of their day to acknowledge your original callout, so why not give them another? If they tell you a story that relates to your article, don’t say “What a great story.” Ask for more. This makes your readers feel like you are interested. I have to work on this myself.

A Link to Your Comments

The comment area is typically mashed underneath other items such as related posts, email sign-up forms, ads, social sharing links and more clutter. Several pro bloggers place a link in their callout to direct people past everything but the comments. Michael Hyatt includes a link in almost all of his posts similar to this:

click here to comment

Configuring this depends on your blogging backend, but most options require you to include additional text to the end of your article URL. The standard options are #respond, #comments and #comment. I use the Disqus comments system so that would be #disqus_thread at the end of my URL. Try clicking on the Comment button at the top of your article to see if your URL changes. To clarify this post’s comment link is http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/9-callouts-that-guarantee-reader-comments#disqus_thread.

A Catchy Title For Your Callout

I noticed the other day that a simple callout in bold lettering doesn’t stand out the way a header does on a blog. Social Media Examiner proves that theory by including a large header above the bolded callout. They include fun “pre-callouts” that grab the reader’s attention right before they click the “X” in the corner. Some examples I’ve seen at Social Media Examiner include “Over To You” or “It’s Your Turn.” Here’s a good example I found on the site:

its your turn - callout for blog

Rewards

There isn’t any better way to get people talking than by offering up a reward. The only problem I have with a reward is you increase the chances of made up replies or one-and-done commenters who never return. But if you want to get some past faithful viewers to reemerge, offer a little raffle for all the commenters. The best items to give away are things that don’t cost you a penny, like a free copy of your eBook or a video you made.

Images

Full disclosure: I’ve never tried this and I’ve never seen anyone try it either, but I think an image that jumps out at people to comment after the article would be strong enough to get people moving to the comments section. I figure this would have to relate to your blog and include a fun bit of wording that makes people laugh, an arrow that points down and a link directly to the comments area if they click on the image. I’ll let you know if I try this in the future.

Leave an Obvious Point Out of Your Article

Cliffhangers create discussion in fiction, so why not give your readers something to bark about? If you write a blog post, think about one of the more obvious solutions to the problem you pose. Leave this out so readers say “duh!” and jump to their keyboard to correct your mishap. Authority is great, but covering every aspect of every topic is exhausting and leaves no room for discussion.

Your Time To Shine

Let me know in the comments how your unique callout gets people to chat it up.

Related to callouts: My next strategic change on my blog is to include a  call-to-action after all my posts to encourage people to post news about their writing careers. Post a success or failure you had this past week and explain what measures you took to land upon that result. Feel free to provide links to publications. Everyone has a success and failure every week. What were yours? If you comment find another person and encourage them to keep trying or congratulate them. Learn from secrets and mishaps to accelerate your own writing career.

I’m going to start taking a cause and effect type approach with most of my blog posts to highlight areas that I took to achieve a goal and the results, whether good or bad. The first experiment was with getting rid of Microsoft Word (which I will have an update for in a few months.)

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

  • http://stevemclain.wordpress.com/ Steve McLain

    Leaving out an obvious point is a really cool idea. Seems out-of-the-box.

    I was actually doing some thinking about generating more traffic and creating more interaction the other day and it occurred to me that there’s a substantial difference between “evergreen” topics and “time-sensitive” topics. Evergreen topics remain true and relevant forever. These topics will, theoretically, generate long-term traffic that lasts the entire lifetime of your blog. People will search for “How to Beat Writer’s Block” and they’ll find my post on it, for instance. However, time-sensitive topics are usually better candidates for immediate interest and prompt discussion. For instance, if I were to do a post about how Obamacare will affect freelance writers, I would be more likely to generate conversation. Obamacare is being searched a lot lately and is all over the news. People are passionate about it right now–more passionate than they would be about writer’s block. A post like that, however, will become largely irrelevant in a few months or years. I don’t really know what to make of the observation, but there it is.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Yea I try to focus on evergreen topics, but the time-sensitive ones sure do get a nice response. I’ve noticed that posts about holidays work nicely. It’s an interesting, and correct observation which I don’t think has a great answer. I think it’s just best to mix up a little of both.

  • Colin Noel-Johnson

    I’ve all but given up expecting comments, I don’t think I’ve had more than one this past month, maybe two. I’ve asked questions, asked opinions, but it’s the time I leave that out and just thank them for reading that I get comments. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, I’ll have to see if I can change things up after reading this.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      This is how I go about it: I start by sending out an email announcing my new post. This is what at least gets people to my page. If no one comments then I figure I’ve written something no one is interested in. But I still go out and comment on some other blogs to see if people will checkout mine after. I send to a few other distribution points like Stumbleupon and my RSS and then if none of that works I go to the WordPress Freshly pressed page and like a few articles I find interesting. If nobody after that wants to read it I probably just wrote a dud.

  • Dale Furse

    I was so encouraged to comment, I couldn’t refuse.

    I’m afraid I’m not a good blogger. I don’t post regularly and what I do post doesn’t have the oomph that I see in the blogs I read and read and read. Lol, I spend way too much time reading other people’s blogs and then don’t have time for my own.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Hey Dale,

      I often have the same problem. I’ll suddenly realize that I have been staring at other blogs for a couple hours without getting any of my own work done. I think everyone does that honestly. The best thing to do is to ask questions to yourself when reading those posts and maybe a spin off idea for your own blog will come up.

      • Dale Furse

        Thanks Joe. I’ll try to keep your advice in mind as I travel through ether-land.

    • Mireille Parker

      Dale, I made a deal with myself that I’d post at least once a week – no matter what! And I found it gave me the motivation to find something to write about and also it was fun to have a deadline. For more than a year I’ve done this except for twice recently as I’m going through a major health issue. Funnily though, the week I was having the operation I decided to write daily for a week. And I did it! I find declaring your intention on the blog makes you stick to your promise even more. Plus, having that promise and doing something no matter what helps us let go of perfectionism and just put our work out there. Hope this helps!

      • Dale Furse

        Thanks Mireille, I think I’ll try that. I just found your blog and it’s really good. Will have to do something about mine now. :)

        • Mireille Parker

          Thank you! I also looked at your blog and you have lots of comments and a large community AND have published novels. Plus you support other by reviewing their books. This is all fantastic!

  • SwoosieQue

    Thanks for the great tips!

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      :)

  • Richard Alan

    I enjoyed reading your suggestions and felt compelled to respond about my week. I’ve been an inconsistent blogger but am starting over again. I moved my wordpress.com blog to wordpress.org self-hosted. I have not made the complete switch yet because I am struggling with changing the color of the background of the sidebar. I feel successful about getting everything set up correctly, but sort of a failure at trying to learn CSS in two days. I am excited about relaunching the blog.

  • LaTrice

    Great tips and just what I need. I left prompts in order to get feedback but perhaps the key is to bold them…I don’t know but I will definitely give it a try as well along with a couple of the others. Well again thanks for sharing and as you see you’ve got my comment ;=)

    LaTrice