Help, my blog gets no comments! It’s something I often hear being said by marketers that recently started an ‘inbound’ or content marketing program by launching a corporate blog. In order to receive comments, you obviously need some kind of community of people that find your blog worthwhile or simply find it at all.
Moreover, comments are not always essential. The commenting culture is very different in various countries and maybe you just really write darn good posts no one wants to debate about (but that will show in traffic).
Even without many comments you can have a very popular blog. However, in most cases, it is useful to have or pursue them. And especially to measure them.
A corporate blog can have different goals. You know them all by know: showing the people behind the corporate walls, having a more human face, interacting (something marketers forgot), SEO, branding and dozens of other goals.
Comments and conversations in relationships
One of the main tasks of many blogs is building relationships. Obviously, you don’t build those for the sake of having them as a brand. To build them, you need to start somewhere: social connections, known as followers, fans, tweeters and retweeters, etc. You identify them and, next, you try to evolve from a connection to a relationship that potentially can take a business nature or purely remain in the relationship marketing or branding atmosphere. We call the practices, we use to develop those relationships – depending on the context – for example, lead management, community management, etc.
Obviously, with people who comment on your posts and thus interact with them and you, you have a very direct connection. Again, there are various reasons why people do not comment, but if you do not receive any comments, it is very often a signal that something is wrong with your content. Not with what you write as such but with the way you do not offer the people you want to connect with the information or context they seek.
Note that there is some difference between people like me who write a lot on various blogs for fun or out of passion and bloggers who want to establish – business – relationships with a specific audience through their posts.
Improve your content: calculate the conversation rate and act upon it
If you do not get comments, once your corporate blog acquires a certain critical mass and visibility, it often simply means that your content isn’t inspiring and appealing. It does not respond to the preferences and quests of your ‘target audience’. You do not write about what keeps that audience busy (or awake at night), what they want to know and what engages them. In other words: you don’t take their needs into account (and to do that, obviously you must know those first).
Should your posts engage your audience and provoke reactions? Again, it depends on your goals but obviously most companies and bloggers really seek, to use a popular word, “conversations” and interaction, beyond personal gratification and whatnot. Comments are the start of a conversation (if you respond, of course). Furthermore, you want to be customer-centric and thus provide content depending on what you want but most of all what your “readers” want!
If you pursue dialogue with your blog, it is worthwhile to take a look at the conversation rate of your blog. At first sight, conversation rate doesn’t look like a “real” KPI but it is. Wait, stop t a second here: in case you misread, I said conversATion rate, not conversion rate, just to make sure.
Back to the essence. How do you calculate the conversation rate for a blog? Very simple: divide the number of comments by the number of posts. I call the metric conversation rate because Avinash Kaushik did so, when treating the question “Are we having a conversation?” from a blog web analytics viewpoint in is book “Web Analytics 2.0“. Watch how your conversation rate evolves and adapt your content accordingly from a reader perspective and interaction viewpoint if you pursue conversation and relation.
Oh yes, of course, the dialogues regarding your content take place elsewhere too (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but with the conversation ratio as defined by Kaushik and in fact many others before him (some big blogs use it since the early years of blogging) you can really go a long way already.
As always, measuring is not enough of course: acting upon the data is key.