Engaging comments: Where is the beef?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2010/02/03 · 40 comments 32,761 views

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Commenting on other blogs has been, and continues to be an integral part of blogging. However, the challenge is to get blog comments that add depth and insight to the original post. Better engagement is also fostered if the blogger manages to provide thoughtful replies to commentators. That’s all great in theory, but how to put it into practice?

This blog post discusses five steps to writing a high-quality comment and three ways to elicit game-changing comments, outlining some of the obstacles to getting there and why low-level brickbats need not apply.

Recently I came across Why the retweet is a powerful engagement tool

    Image - blog title by Matt Rhodes - Why the retweet is a powerful engagement tool“… This is where the retweet, and now the via feature in Facebook, really come to the fore. They are a very simple way for all people to say “I agree with this” or “I want you to see this too” without actually having to articulate their own opinion from scratch, or start their own discussion…”

I certainly hope social media’s value proposition is more than getting people to re-tweet our Facebook or Twitter material. I left a comment:

    I am sorry but maybe I am missing something… just re-tweeting as you suggest: “… very simple way for all people to say “I agree with this” or “I want you to see this too.” ”
    Does this add much value to the discussion or debate?
    In many cases, people have not taken the time to read carefully the story about which they might send out a tweet (e.g., using Google to feed Twitterfeed that, in turn, triggers your Twitter account to send out a tweet).
    So how can I recommend something before having studied the material? Is this a scenario where sheep is following other sheep or my answering machine is talking to yours so we can meet next week?
    As a brand, I want to be sure that people support something – my brand – based on product experience, knowledge and insight not just by blindly and wildly re-tweeting other people’s opinion or tweets.
    Respectfully
    Urs

Comments like the above can add some value to the discussion, especially if the blogger writes an insightful response.

Unfortunately, our comment never made it up on Matt Rhodes’ blog – whatever the reason, this does not foster engagement (see Take-away section below for a comment about this).

Blog comments: Brickbats need not apply
So why are blog comments important? In 2007 Dave Winer explained why he thought they were in The subject of blog comments. Clay puts it another way in this blog post:

5 steps to a high-quality comment
Unless we are willing to spend 10 minutes drafting a sensible comment, we might provide the blogger a better service by just tweeting the post’s title and url on Twitter. But here are five suggestions one should follow to craft a comment that adds value to the equation:

    1. Relate your comment to the post: Quality comments refer to the blog post by quoting a portion and then refining or expanding on the thought (e.g., I agree with this point. However, in my line of work…).
    2. Have a train of thought: Make sure the comment contains a main theme from beginning to end (Why ROI fails or may work).
    3. Wrap-up the comment: A conclusion in a comment is more than, “This is my five cents.” Drawing a conclusion makes a fashion statement, so to speak (make a splash – thank you).
    4. Tell the blogger why the post helps you work smarter: We all want to write stuff that makes a difference in other people’s lives. But please, explain why it is helpful or how you were able to apply it (e.g., don’t just tell me I am great, explain why).
    5. If you disagree you should explain: Please explain where this disagreement comes from. It might very well be that the blogger forgot to consider an important angle of the problem, made an incorrect assumption or fell prey to misinformation, to mention a few examples (tell me where I have erred and how it can work – I love it).

Finally, please remember leaving a blog comment is like a digital trace and its quality will reflect upon your personal brand and reputation.

Comments mean more work for the blogger – really
When I write a comment on someone’s blog, this quickly takes more than 15 minutes, especially if a conversation develops. Commenting is far more time-intensive than writing a tweet or re-tweeting. Of course, both are needed: one to spread the news and the other to add more depth to the post.

Image - comments responding to Measuring Results in Social Media Marketing written by Bernieblog title by Matt Rhodes - Why the retweet is a powerful engagement toolUnfortunately, one will often come across comments that seem somewhat shallow or where the commenter had little time. Other times it seems to be ‘feel good’ feedback.

The comments to the right surely made Bernie feel good. Unfortunately, they do not add content or substance to the discussion of an important topic. On the positive side, writing this kind of feedback did not take the commentators more than one to two minutes.

But the blogger does not really raise the performance bar either. His comment (see last one in screenshot) provides a pat on the back for each of the three commentators above.

The ‘I am great – You are great’ approach is fine and makes sure nobody is offended, but it also does not move the discussion to a higher plateau.

All things being equal (ignoring how much traffic the blog has, language it is in and country, etc.), there are three things that affect your comment count:

    1. Write a blog post that is interesting to many people, such as ‘Calculating ROI for social media activities’.
    2. Keep your blog post short (under 300 words), and
    3. Don’t try to be too in-depth.

Guaranteed, with a short post you will always get the type of visitor willing to spend another 60 seconds to add their two cents by leaving a comment.

The challenge is that complex subjects like calculus can hardly be explained in under 300 words. We can try and people might even believe they have grasped the concept, but if we were to put it to a test, 80 percent would likely fail. In turn, addressing a complex matter in 1,600 words as done here may turn some people off, since they might feel that it takes too much time to read and comprehend the issue discussed.

More resources about the importance of quality comments

Bottom line
Image - comment and reply to comment from Jeremiah Owyang - Community Manager Appreciation Day #CMAD (Every 4th Monday of Jan)While tweeting about something does not take much time, writing a blog comment that adds value to the discussion does. Lastly, thoughtfully responding to comments is time-consuming for the blogger.

Building on your audience’s comments is a real challenge that few, like Jeremiah, manage. He tries to add value to each comment whenever possible and/or steer subsequent comments in the right direction.

However, it is probably better to approve each comment or reply before it goes up on the blog. If one fails to do this, then what happened to Jeremiah can happen to you, too. A spammer replied to several comments made on the blog (one shown to the right) and this, of course, does not foster your all-important reader engagement.

Take-aways
I have been blogging for a while and developed the following three insights that I would like to share with you:

    1. Quality attracts quality: It is perfectly okay to ask somebody you know to comment, if you are quite certain they will add substance. Even better if the person brings a different viewpoint. Our data shows that getting a high quality first comment usually attracts other quality comments and, most importantly, those afraid of going first have this hurdle removed…
    2. Being humble pays off: Try to acknowledge each commenter. Make sure that you add beef with your reply to their comment. Writing something like the comment below is okay but is this person taking her commentators seriously?
    “Thanks @Laya, @Andrew, @Laura  Thanks for your comments on the same.  Looking forward to your views / comments in the near future too.”
    A response like that lacks depth and makes you wonder if the blogger cares… please take your readers seriously.
    3. Fostering engagement means letting nothing fall between the cracks: Make sure no comment is inadvertently lost in your spam box; check it daily. Also, both negative and positive comments must go up on your blog. Otherwise you throttle engagement, even while talking about it.
    Finally, as Jeremiah’s example shows, monitoring the many comments he gets takes time, and therefore suggests all comments should be pre-approved before going up. Nobody wants spam to end up in a set of otherwise nice comments.

Please, leave a comment! We love to hear your thoughts: how do you feel about managing blog content and encouraging greater engagement for your blog? What is your experience with this subject? Have any tips to make sure we use the commenting feature more effectively? Please share your insights.

P.S. – Visit My.ComMetrics (register yourself – benchmark your blog(s) => improve performance). You can get updates for this blog on Twitter by following @ComMetrics or get a free subscription by RSS, or get new posts via email:

Article source: ComMetrics – Engaging comments: Where is the beef?

Some of you may remember the Wendy’s TV commercial in the US in which Clara Peller (August 4, 1902 – August 11, 1987 – lived in the Chicago area) posed an important question about the golden arches’ burger: Where is the beef?

Next time we write a comment or reply to one, let us all remember – adding substance is key.

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  • http://deborahdrake.com/Blog Deborah Drake – Catalyst

    Okay,

    So I love that I get to comment first and promise to do so thoughtfully and substantively.

    Yes, making a quality comment to a blog that moved you to think, be inspired, or for that matter disagree takes time that begins with really reading the post as opposed to a quick scan. So having read this post through twice, I have this too say.

    I remember all the times I submitted letters to the editors and newspapers as a teen and 20 something. It took focus and time to craft the letter. And the ones that I did, got published, and I felt both appreciated and acknowledged. And my letters were not always in agreement with the article or editorial in question. And I still felt acknowledged and appreciated for my feedback.And now we have both easy access and instant gratification if we choose to comment on blog posts or articles on websites.

    And if we realize after the fact, we overlooked a great comment within a comment, well then comment again on it and apologize for overlooking the hidden gem. Do-overs allowed in my book!

    As always Urs, thanks for writing a post that was intentional and orchestrated with intention and a hint of humor.

    It is wise to moderate comments as the owner of a site. And it is wise as Urs suggest to post both negative and positive feedback that isn't spam. I also hope that the comments inspire offline conversations and explorations be it new alliances, or simply really getting to know someone better, that you can offer assistance in meaningful ways.

    The world becomes our oyster thanks to the abundance of social networks, blogs, community forums, etc and it takes time in 3-D to develop rapport with a person, so why would online be any different?

    Simply tweeting or retweeting without a comment as to why you are passing it along doesn't typically catch my eye. What is “why” you endorse or champion a post? That catches my eye and then I read more enthusiastically.

    It's an exciting time to be a contributor to a really rich and global dialogue with opinions and stories and knowledge to share. And it's always a good idea to employ best practices for quality can beget quality more easily then. So it takes a little time to personalize each response to a comment beyond a “thanks for sharing your views” note. It is simply good business practice and good for business over time, in my experience.

    Quality is king in my book. Lazy is lazy. Thoughtful is thoughtful. On purpose remarks yield more good fruit, so to speak. Or at least in my humble opinion.

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      @deborahdrake comments: “It is wise to moderate comments as the owner of a site.
      What is “why” you endorse or champion a post? That catches my eye and then I read more enthusiastically. “

      Of course, I agree with this comment wholeheartedly. Also, to me it seems to be a fantastic way to attract traffic. It is also a great way to get yourself known in your niche.

      WHAT ABOUT METRICS
      But how do we measure comments and reactions to get a better feel for engagement?

      I have been thinking about how to do this. For instance:

      1) ENGAGEMENT: on the blog (e.g., comments) vs elsewhere (e.g., trackbacks from other blogs, discussions on LinkedIn or Xing) vs. tweets

      2) WEIGHTING: Is a tweet worth the same as a comment … difficult it might attract many visitors who otherwise do not come by …. but generally a blog comment is probably at least 5 as much effort as a tweet… should we than multiply by 5?

      3) QUALITY of comments: Do we rate comments according to quality (e.g., number of words, links to other sites, etc.) and what kind of ranking do we use.

      All I wanted to point out is the comments are not comments, meaning their depth and breadth is vastly different. Accordingly, for social media monitoring we need to be sure how to address this to come up with some kind of score for level of engagement for different posts, months or across blogs to benchmark.

      ==> How can these challenges be addressed using web analytics?

      How can we assess degree of engagement when trying to measure this phenomenon? Any other commenter having an idea … please share. I am very curious to learn more about this.

      • http://deborahdrake.com/Blog Deborah Drake – Catalyst

        As a follow up I will chime in on this: “How can we assess degree of engagement when trying to measure this phenomenon?”

        That is a blog post in and of itself…in my opinion. And there will be as many opinions as there are contributors who comment I bet.

        Here are some things I would monitor for to assess the degree of engagement: the number of return reader/commenters and the number of new visitors who comment. Then there is the conversion rate to becoming a follower/subscriber or user of a service or product. Who all converts from a free status to a paid status? Who all becomes an ambassador by way of a partner program or member of the community?

        Please clarify as you can: What gets you found more quickly online? I know you know this well. And do those items get weighted more than engrossing or long-winded comments (LOL)?

        http://biznik.com tracks the number of referrals members are responsible for, the number of articles posted, the comments made, the number of events hosted. All of which together can tell a story of engagement of one kind, AND YET members I personally know, report little or no significant business being done with other Biznikers.

        What is in it for an active Biznik member, using their profile to blog articles, comment on others event offerings and articles and post new promotions i… the greater likelihood of being found by a non-Biznik member client. The analytics behind Biznik were planned well enough to provide optimal SEO.

        As for weighting comments, the quality of them and discerning engagement levels of visitors who do comment and also tweet about it to share with their networks, I hope many others add their wisdom and insights–to reveal what the current collective minds reading your posts are suggesting might be “true.”

        Not sure if this makes sense, but offer it as a reply to you. Statistics are of great interest to me so thereforeto really understand what it takes to employ social media monitoring to benchmark one's blog well, intrigues me.

  • blogbrevity

    Oh, the intimidation of writing a substantive comment on the value of substantive comments! I offer my humble opinion.

    First, congrats to Deborah Drake, commenting first on a blog post is a distinct advantage. If the subject of the post is in your or your company’s subject expertise, run, don’t walk to be first! It will benefit you in many ways.

    Urs, you have addressed a number of topics here that could warrant blog posts in and of themselves and have provided a lot for food for thought. Some of these subjects have already been brewing.

    –The Underground Retweet Economy
    –Do You Read What You Retweet?
    –The Etiquette of Disagreeing on Social Media Platforms
    –How Commenting on Posts Affects Your Digital Footprint
    –So Little Time: How to Effectively Use Your Social Capital

    I recenly wrote that I welcome a different point of view and that is what makes a “conversation.” Some, however, prefer a wave of back slapping and even manipulate the social platforms for influence in this regard.

    If you don’t have time to comment on a post, personalizing the retweet promoting the post is the next best thing. I like automatically posting my post comments to twitter like I do on the Posterous, through Disqus, etc. My community on Posterous and on Twitter are integrated, so this works nicely to build engagement around an idea.

    I also agree that shorter blog posts make for better comments. In fact, Jeremiah Owyang and I discussed this in a post where one of his shortest posts got the most detailed comments (longer than his post!): http://bit.ly/o8J60. Of course, being “blogbrevity”, I am partial to this concept. :) Shorter posts introduce an idea and viewpoint and invite more ideas. Longer posts tend to want to cover a subject matter thoroughly to the point there is nothing more to say. This is another reason I think Posterous is popular. People don’t expect a dissertation. You can merely raise a question and have a lively post with lots of engagement.

    I disagree that all comments to posts must be substantive. I think it depends on the subject matter of the post. Sometimes, it is okay to say you just like something.

    Thank you, Urs, for raising a lot interesting questions and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

    Best,
    Angela Dunn
    @blogbrevity
    @odomlewis

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Angela

      “If you don’t have time to comment on a post, personalizing the retweet promoting the post is the next best thing. I like automatically posting my post comments to twitter like I do on the Posterous, through Disqus, etc. My community on Posterous and on Twitter are integrated, so this works nicely to build engagement around an idea.”

      I also believe that these tools are a great way to better share one's ideas and make them accessible to more interested people whatever platform they prefer using including but not limited to Disqus or Facebook.

      I can see you disagree that all comments to posts must be substantive. I agree with your sentiment that this is subject to the matter of the post. I probably failed to explain this properly. But we might have to put this a bit more into context. For instance, depending upon the subject matter and the audience one targets the content for. As well, if English or French is the person's first language and the country they come from are all factors that could moderate our answer regarding content and comments including replies by the moderator.
      For instance, I am faced with:

      – corporate readers that know a lot to a bit less regarding social media marketing and metrics,
      – have barely the time to read my posts (i.e. why I blog once every week only), and
      – multi-cultural readership (in some countries people are not as talkative as in others, especially as far as sharing online is concerned).

      Accordingly, unless I explain my thoughts thoroughly my blog's target audience – at least in Europe – will not very likely take me seriously (i.e. if I simplify issues too much – there goes my social capital or the trust the have vested in me).

      The question remains, however, are 100 short comments all saying about the same – great post – worth more than 30 in-depth ones….? This still awaits an answer.

      If I were to answer I would say, it all depends upon the purpose of your blogging and the targeted audience's needs. But we can probably agree that it helps when a comenter makes an attempt in:

      a explaining why one likes a blog post, and
      b how it helps one do one's job better or improve one's game

      In turn, such a comment contributes to a better understanding of the phenomenon addressed for those that read the comments.

      Ciao
      Urs – @ComMetrics

  • http://twitter.com/rhappe Rachel Happe

    Well, because Angela pass this to us at @TheCR for thoughts, I'll add mine here.

    The short answer for me is, it depends.

    I think RTs do add value. If I trust the source, I am much more likely to actually click through and *read* the post. Also, brief commentary is often added which allows me to quickly understand whether the person RTing the post think it is good, bad, funny, etc.

    Secondly, lurkers have a great deal of value even if they don't have the time or they don't particularly have anything to add. Reading an initial post on a new blog is the start of building a relationship and trust. Different people have different 'lurker hurdles' before they feel comfortable participating. I'm not particularly shy – if I have something to say, I typically just jump in but others may want to follow someone for a while before commenting. Each post they read (regardless of whether they comment) has value to the relationship… it's just the blogger may not realize it until that reader 'converts' to a commenter.

    Lastly, I would say it depends on what kind of blog one writes. Some are more thought provoking than others – and meant to be. People blog for all sorts of reasons. The question is – is the blogger getting the type of comments they want? If not, the way they write, pose questions, and respond to comments likely needs to change.

    So, while rich engaging comments are obviously great – I don't think they are the only purpose of blogging or the only value created by blogging.

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      @ComMetrics – Rachel says:

      So, while rich engaging comments are obviously great – I don't think they are the only purpose of blogging or the only value created by blogging.

      This is a nice statement and relates to what I answered to Angela….. rich comments are nice but of course all comments are appreciated :-)

      I want to respond to your point that a re-tweet or RT is helpful, especially, if the person added a brief commentary. The critical part is the commentary as you so rightly point out. This is exactly the problem I see with Twitter's new RT feature. You re-tweet but cannot add a comment. So you still have to use the old procedure which goes like:

      RT @ComMetrics VERY USEFUL ……here is the tweet with url….

      Your paragraph about the lurkers is very interesting especially when you say “it's just the blogger may not realize it until that reader 'converts' to a commenter.”

      I never looked at it from this way. This I think is a really important thing to add, Rachel thanks so much for sharing this insight. That really helps me to see things a bit more in perspective.

      Ciao
      Urs – @ComMetrics

  • blogbrevity

    Thank you, Rachel, for bringing your valuable perspective to the convo. I agree it depends on what type of blog one writes. A business or thought leader blog would expect more detailed commentary. Many of my artist friends who blog appreciate even the simplest compliment in a comment.

    Also interesting your thought on “lurkers.” This is one reason I review bit.ly statistics for RTs. A post may have 100 clicks and no comments. Your idea is still spreading.

  • http://twitter.com/timgier tim gier

    Great post! Valuable insights both in it and in the comments. I really appreciate all the time that went into this.

    Oh wait, there's something more to be said, isn't there? Or is there? One's inability to craft and articulate an interesting comment does not mean that one does not have an interest in, or something to add to the original post. It may merely mean that one either cannot, or cannot take the time to, give voice to ideas inside one's head. Rather that a commenter say “Kudos” than nothing at all.

    That being said, the level of noise on Twitter has less to do with retweets that add little value, and more to do with the countess self referential “how to win with social media” tweets. At some point, soon I hope, we'll all just start using the damn thing instead of talking endlessly to each other about how to do so. Or maybe I just follow to many social media “gurus”?!!

    In all seriousness, though, I think one has to decide what the point of ones blogging is in the first place is. If the idea is to encourage comments, so that others engage and that we might measure their engagement, then that's one thing. If the point, on the other hand, is to really explore, understand and then inform people about something, thats anther thing entirely.Perhaps the two things intersect where both bloggers are interested in knowing their “reach” but I think that for the first, reach is all that matter and for the second, it's a nice bonus.

    And I'd count this post as one of the second kind – Kudos!

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear Tim

      This comment made me smile …

      I like to achieve

      a) reach … so more people hear about us (brand and reputation) and hopefully use our tools at http://My.ComMetrics.com or find us smart enough to do some other work for them, AND
      b) learn from the comments (as has happened again with this post)

      For me comments are feedback and point out where I erred, forgot or was not aware of something, such as:

      Deborah: Simply tweeting or retweeting without a comment as to why you are passing it along doesn't typically catch my eye.

      Rachel: think RTs do add value. If I trust the source, I am much more likely to actually click through and *read* the post. Also, brief commentary is often added which allows me to quickly understand …

      Angela: ” I review bit.ly statistics for RTs. A post may have 100 clicks and no comments. Your idea is still spreading….”

      Tim: “the level of noise on Twitter has less to do with retweets that add little value, and more to do with the countess self referential “how to win with social media” tweets. At some point, soon I hope, we'll all just start using the damn thing instead of talking endlessly to each other about how to do so.”

      Thanks for comment and I also appreciate your praise. Look forward to read your insights again soon on one of the upcoming blog posts like: Why big companies cannot tell you how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook best.

      Merci bien.
      Ciao – Urs – @ComMetrics

      • http://twitter.com/timgier tim gier

        Urs:

        I've been thinking about your post for a couple of more days now and there are two things I'd like to add…

        When I RT something, I often change or add to the original to include my own spin or “why I like this” type of comment. Each time I do that, though, there's a nagging voice in my head saying “the author of this tweet may not like you messing with their words!” I often go ahead and do it anyway, because I think (hope?) that I'm actually adding value. But I could just as easily not and can certainly see why others are reluctant to.

        When it comes to commenting on a blog, the first thing that goes through my head is “What makes you think that you're so smart?” I mean that the blogger has taken their time to craft their message, usually on a subject about which they know far more than I and who am I to put my two cents in? Again, I'm often able to overcome this reticence but it is an obstacle to commenting nonetheless.

        Thanks for giving me something to think about this week!

        • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

          Tim: Nice going:

          “… here's a nagging voice in my head saying “the author of this tweet may not like you messing with their words!”…”

          “… When it comes to commenting on a blog, the first thing that goes through my head is “What makes you think that you're so smart?” …”

          I admire you reflecting on this issue and then you still overcome your reticence and comment anyway. That takes an effort.

          But regarding adding value, I believe in today's world where people from different cultures interact via blogs, email Twitter, etc. I feel that more often than not, people can add something. While it may appear insignificant at first, it is often significant…. different perspectives, cultures, ideas and backgrounds including education result in comments that add value.

          Thanks for comment such great stuff and please come back next week, we have a guest post again…. it will be interesting for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/RobinTaylorRoth Robin Taylor Roth

    Thanks for putting so much thought into this post, Urs. I can tell that the thoughts have been “festering,” for some time!

    First, on retweets: Although I applaud Twitter's making retweeting easier, I'm disappointed with the way they did it. There are some tweets – news briefs, for example – that one wants to spread to others, as quickly as possible. The simple retweet works well, for these.

    However, for most tweets between TwitterPals, the value of a retweet lies in what the retweeter ADDS to the conversation. Twitter does not facilitate this approach. Fortunately, many Twitter-based applications do.

    Second, on blog comments. I have a few blogs, but I'm not really an active blogger (for all the usual reasons). However, I do appreciate people's taking the time to add comments, whenever I put the effort into writing a blog post.

    The comments that I've seen fall into three categories:
    (1) Hurrahs. These do not further the conversation, but they make me feel good. They indicate that others share my opinion, or I've touched a chord with a personal story, or they think whatever I've proposed is a good idea. I'm very happy to get these.
    (2) Additional examples. I particularly like it, when readers offer other instances of the concept or principle I've described. That enriches the tale.
    (3) Disagreements. I'm not too happy to receive these, naturally, but the writers usually have a good point – something that I may have overlooked. So, they, too, are welcomed.

    The only kinds of comments that I don't appreciate are ad hominem attacks. These I delete, if I can.

    … Robin

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Robin says: The comments that I have seen fall into 3 categories (1) Hurrahs, (2) Additional examples and (3) Disagreements

      Fully agree. And your point about Twitter was also raised by Rachel in an earlier comment, unless people tell one why they RT something, its hard to know if one should read it.

      Robin Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://www.olindaservices.com Lisa Olinda

    “While tweeting about something does not take much time, writing a blog comment that adds value to the discussion does.” I do like the concept of tweeting an article to basically give my thumbs up to an article. Conversely though one thing I miss with Twitter, Facebook and blogging is the conversation. It is always nice to get gain a quick pat on the back but I want feedback. Did my post make you mad? Did my post provoke a thought? Did my post bore you?

    Thank you for the encouragement to have conversations. I think we get so busy in the reading of blog posts, tweets, etc. that we forget to interact. I always think of it as going to a party and never responding to the conversation. Maybe you nod every now and again but never really communicate with the person you are talking too. We would quickly grow tired of that sort of conversation.

    Well that is my 5 minutes of thought for today. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to converse with you.

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Lisa

      Nice point about Twitter, tweets are like a quick pat on the back but comments provide feedback and get the conversation going.

      Yes conversations are nice but they do require time and I also find it ever harder to select and choose the things to read and comment upon where I can contribute.

      Besides, Twitter and Facebook take time away from the blog, of course.Type your comment here.

      Thanks so much for your gift for today. Hope you will be back commenting again soon please.

      Ciao Urs

    • http://deborahdrake.com/Blog Deborah Drake – Catalyst

      Lisa,

      I appreciate the way you say this:

      “I think we get so busy in the reading of blog posts, tweets, etc. that we forget to interact. I always think of it as going to a party and never responding to the conversation. Maybe you nod every now and again but never really communicate with the person you are talking too. We would quickly grow tired of that sort of conversation.”

      Nice analogy to how technology can be used fully or incompletely. Nice visual too.

      I have literally made new friends and colleagues because I do seek to take the conversation offline and to a deeper level. And what starts as an email or a comment can indeed gain breadth and depth.

      In the scope of what is referred to as we say “the marketing funnel” it starts with INTEREST that captures ATTENTION that promotes DESIRE that results in ACTION, right? And in all my schooling and by way of experience there are fewer at the end of the funnel and that being said, they are ALSO typically, the very contacts we want to be connecting with.

      So I appreciate people who take time to really read a post and then comment upon it and better still really use a tool or service they uncover. I am guilty of sometimes getting excited about something new, then not following through.

      And Urs, is a great gentle poke in my ribs to “be my word.” Plus he created an easy way to measure and improve one's online presence through a blog. I am remiss in blogging with consistency these days, better at posting comments.

      Thanks again for adding your “nickel.”

      • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

        Deborah

        I love your summary:

        “the marketing funnel” it starts with INTEREST that captures ATTENTION that promotes DESIRE that results in ACTION, right?”

        Nicely put regarding what it is about. Sure enough there are far fewer at the end of the funnel than entered. Moreover, its hard work to get them to read a blog and ever harder to get people to respond. Our time is limited …. and frittering it away these days has become ever more easy (Twitter, Facebook, Second Life, and so forth).

        I always feel that one has to evaluate one's performance. This makes it feasible to see if things are going in the right direction or if changes are needed. Most often, improvements can be achieved by making a few adjustments, sometimes small ones are all that is required.

        Deborah thanks again for sharing.

        Urs – @ComMetrics
        my.commetrics.com – benchmark to improve your blog's performance

        .

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  • http://karenpurves.com karenpurves

    Interesting post and comments!

    Coming by after so much has already been said AND to add value can become a barrier for engagement and participation.

    Commenting on blogs takes time and time is one of the things we really need to manage carefully for once used can never be recycled. And, this may be one of the reasons for people consuming and being seen as lurkers.

    I used to have lurkers in a more negative view but with pressure on how I prioritise, I am a lurker in some places and sometimes in all places. Does this mean the material is not of quality or that I am not interested? No, not for me.

    There was some research done last year on the 4Cs of Social Media Framework – http://tinyurl.com/oozgxe which gives a new texture to engagement on blogging and indeed social media

    I think that sometimes people don't really know what to do and that lead to consumption and lurking than participation.

    And, on your blog, Urs, the fact that most people leave considered and sometimes, lengthy comments may put off those who would just like to say – “Great post – learned a lot”

    Engagement
    Sometimes, I don't get comments on my own blog and that is because I don't promote them. But, I do refer to them later in other posts, when talking with clients or prospects to give something more to think about. Some blog posts become articles in different forms. Interestingly, those posts that get more comments aren't always the ones that are easily transformed into articles.

    So when defining engagement, are we limiting it to leaving comments on the blog or having a conversation using a different media? I prefer to engage with people how, when and where they want to be engaged – if that's on the blog fine but its not the only way. And, nor should it be :)

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Karen, thanks so much for this comment: When I read: “Great post – learned a lot” I thought I should just leave it at that BUT I liked:

      “I prefer to engage with people how, when and where they want to be engaged – if that's on the blog fine but its not the only way.”

      This is a remark we should remember more often and live by. Thank you.

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  • http://www.catseyemarketingblog.com/ Judy Dunn

    Urs,

    So many things to respond to here. In my experience, both on twitter and sometimes on my own blog, I see retweets and blog comments that don't add value. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) People are busy and often they skim and scan. And some people retweet just to build good will or to get on the good side of someone. On twitter, sometimes they don't take the time to actually read what they are retweeting. In my opinion, they are making a grave mistake because they may be sending along false or wrong information to their twitter network. And that truly reflects on their credibility and reputation. Take the time to check the link out before you retweet! And I agree that it's a good idea to justify in your own way why you agree or disagree with someone (although, with twitter's 140-character limit, that can be hard to do).

    2) Which brings me to my second point. The most meaningful comments on a blog post are from readers who can tell what in their experience leads them to either agree or disagree with you. But I truly believe that it is hard for some people to articulate that. I have been a writer for 20 years, so my perception of how easy it is to do that is somewhat skewed.

    Years ago, when I taught first grade, I would have each student write a letter (complete with illustration) when one of their classmates had a birthday. They would always want to say something like, ” I like you. You are nice.” which, of course, is a message with no meaning. Can you imagine a kid getting 27 letters that all said that?

    Over time, as I worked with them (“WHY are they nice? WHAT do you like about them?”), they began to write funny, creative, heartfelt letters that the birthday kid couldn't wait to read. We would read all the letters in the afternoon when we had the birthday treats—cookies and such.

    My point? Six-year-olds had a hard time with “meaningful comments” and so do thirty-six-year-olds. And fifty-six-year olds. You, Urs, who are so articulate, intelligent and verbal, may, like me, have a harder time understanding where others are coming from.

    You have given me a great idea for a new blog post. Thank you (once again) for making me think.

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear Judy

      You do have a great post about this issue right here:

      http://marketingyoursmallbiz.typepad.com/market… (must read post)

      It addresses the lurker issue quite nicely and it shows that the 90-9-1 rule still applies as you explained in there (90% read, 9 % comment sometime and 1% comment regularly).

      I actually think in my case it might even be a bit less but it is surely getting better the last few months. I also liked your sentence:

      “Six-year-olds had a hard time with “meaningful comments” and so do thirty-six-year-olds. And fifty-six-year olds.”

      Your example with saying something nice that goes beyond I like you for six year olds is very interesting.

      This reminds me that I have to tell my co-workers why I thought they did a good job and not just that they did…. same problem. I am still working on it.

      Judy, thanks for stopping by, always a pleasure to get your insights.

  • http://twitter.com/KingNils Nils Ku00f6nig

    Hi Urs, very interesting post. nnI agree on many of your statements, particularly concerning the length and the complexity of blog posts. nnBut other factors are quite influential as well. Transparency for example (how visible an author is, whether you see the picture, the name and so on). nnI am currently conducting a large international online survey to figure out, how exactly blog characteristics affect reading and commenting behavior on corporate blogs. nI am grateful for everyone who participates: nhttp://kingnils.de/limesurvey/index.php?sid=276…nn Also, I appreciate if you could spread the link. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/KingNils Nils Ku00f6nig

    Hi Urs, very interesting post. nnI agree on many of your statements, particularly concerning the length and the complexity of blog posts. nnBut other factors are quite influential as well. Transparency for example (how visible an author is, whether you see the picture, the name and so on). nnI am currently conducting a large international online survey to figure out, how exactly blog characteristics affect reading and commenting behavior on corporate blogs. nI am grateful for everyone who participates: nhttp://kingnils.de/limesurvey/index.php?sid=276…nn Also, I appreciate if you could spread the link. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/KingNils Nils Ku00f6nig

    Hi Urs, very interesting post. nnI agree on many of your statements, particularly concerning the length and the complexity of blog posts. nnBut other factors are quite influential as well. Transparency for example (how visible an author is, whether you see the picture, the name and so on). nnI am currently conducting a large international online survey to figure out, how exactly blog characteristics affect reading and commenting behavior on corporate blogs. nI am grateful for everyone who participates: nhttp://kingnils.de/limesurvey/index.php?sid=276…nn Also, I appreciate if you could spread the link. Thank you!

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear NilsnnThis is a very interesting survey. I just filled it out myself.nnI am curious were most of your respondents will come from (e.g., corporate bloggers versus consumers, Russia versus Germany, etc.). nnAlso, seems as if we have to add some of the blogs you mention here in our FT ComMetrics Blog Index (the industry standard for rankingu00a0corporate blogs ofu00a0FT Global 500 andu00a0Fortune 500 companies).nnFinally, I am looking very much forward to getting the results of your study. I herewith invite you to do a guest blog about it on our corporate blog.nnnRespectfullynnUrs – @ComMetrics

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear NilsnnThis is a very interesting survey. I just filled it out myself.nnI am curious were most of your respondents will come from (e.g., corporate bloggers versus consumers, Russia versus Germany, etc.). nnAlso, seems as if we have to add some of the blogs you mention here in our FT ComMetrics Blog Index (the industry standard for rankingu00a0corporate blogs ofu00a0FT Global 500 andu00a0Fortune 500 companies).nnFinally, I am looking very much forward to getting the results of your study. I herewith invite you to do a guest blog about it on our corporate blog.nnnRespectfullynnUrs – @ComMetrics

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear NilsnnThis is a very interesting survey. I just filled it out myself.nnI am curious were most of your respondents will come from (e.g., corporate bloggers versus consumers, Russia versus Germany, etc.). nnAlso, seems as if we have to add some of the blogs you mention here in our FT ComMetrics Blog Index (the industry standard for rankingu00a0corporate blogs ofu00a0FT Global 500 andu00a0Fortune 500 companies).nnFinally, I am looking very much forward to getting the results of your study. I herewith invite you to do a guest blog about it on our corporate blog.nnnRespectfullynnUrs – @ComMetrics

  • http://twitter.com/KingNils Nils König

    Hi Urs, very interesting post.

    I agree on many of your statements, particularly concerning the length and the complexity of blog posts.

    But other factors are quite influential as well. Transparency for example (how visible an author is, whether you see the picture, the name and so on).

    I am currently conducting a large international online survey to figure out, how exactly blog characteristics affect reading and commenting behavior on corporate blogs.
    I am grateful for everyone who participates:
    http://kingnils.de/limesurvey/index.php?sid=276

    Also, I appreciate if you could spread the link. Thank you!

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Nils

    This is a very interesting survey. I just filled it out myself.

    I am curious were most of your respondents will come from (e.g., corporate bloggers versus consumers, Russia versus Germany, etc.).

    Also, seems as if we have to add some of the blogs you mention here in our FT ComMetrics Blog Index (the industry standard for ranking corporate blogs of FT Global 500 and Fortune 500 companies).

    Finally, I am looking very much forward to getting the results of your study. I herewith invite you to do a guest blog about it on our corporate blog.

    Respectfully

    Urs – @ComMetrics

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