Reader input will help to make your blog even better
By Roger Pierce, Small Business Expert
It’s not always easy or pleasant to hear what people think about your writing.
Some readers will love your blog, while others will dislike it. But a few people will like your blog enough to offer some constructive feedback – and those are the readers you want to hear from.
I’ve always been a tad sensitive to customer reviews of my writing. My reaction is usually along the lines of “they don’t get it!” But over the years I’ve come to learn that reviews and comments have significantly improved the quality of my writing – and made my services more valuable to my corporate and small business customers.
Reader input is the best way to improve your blog – and it’s free! There’s another bonus: by reaching out to invite your readers to have their say, you are engaging your readers and building an online community. Everyone loves to be heard.
Here’s how you can improve your blog posts.
Start by adding a comments section
Your blog publishing platform likely has a ‘comments’ feature that you can activate. It will place a small dialogue box below your written content inviting readers to ‘leave a comment’ or similar wording.
- Call attention to your new comments section in the body of your blog: “I want to hear from you! Be sure to leave a comment below.”
- Be sure to monitor your new comments section so you can respond to questions within a reasonable time period. Your blog publishing platform may allow you to receive email alerts when someone posts a comment.
- If you are nervous about readers posting negative or inflammatory comments, you can set up administrative controls for the comments feature so that you get to review and approve each comment before it goes live on the blog.
Act on the best comments
Watch for helpful reader comments intended to improve your blog in some way – you may see comments about grammar, subject matter, length, writing style, headlines, images, tone, fact-checking and more. Don’t be offended by these comments! Such comments are (usually) well-intended and posted by people who like your blog and want to contribute their ideas to make it even better.
It doesn’t mean you have to act on every suggestion. Keep a list of the best ideas.
Invite specific comments
Here’s where the comments box on your blog can help you to create future content. Write a blog about your blog, asking for content suggestions from your readers. You could even make it a monthly feature of your blog to solicit ideas for upcoming editions.
- For example: “It’s that time again when we do what you say! To help us plan ahead and create blog articles you want to read, please take a moment to list two suggestions for future blog topics in the comments section. If we use your idea, we’ll mention you in the blog!”
You can also list a few topics ideas of your own and ask your readers to ‘vote’ in the comments section for their favorite one. It’s a terrific way to generate content ideas as well as engage your online audience. If you use a reader’s suggestion, be sure to acknowledge them with a shout-out line, like “This week’s blog article was suggested by Tony B. from New York City. Thanks Tony!”
Making your blog better is an ongoing process. Your blog will never be perfect – no one writes a perfect blog. Like most aspects of your small business, aim for incremental gains – small improvements over time. You can do that by being open to reader feedback, making it really easy for people to submit suggestions, and acting on that input.
[Image courtesy of Flickr]
Small Business Expert Roger Pierce has written thousands of blog articles to help leading national brands attract small business customers. The Founder of Box of Business Blogs, (www.boxofbusinessblogs.com) his website offers affordable, ready-to-publish professional blog articles designed to attract small business owners to your business.