So you’ve set up a school blog (or blogs for numerous departments) and are now posting regularly. How do you create a community of regular readers and visitors who are anxious to leave comments and discuss your content and posts? The answer may not be as difficult as you expect.
Here are some suggestions and tips to get more comments on your school blog.
Ask for Comments
It sounds almost too easy, but simply asking readers to leave a comment often works. You can go with a generic statement at the end of posts, like “Post your comments below,” but customized comment request statements at the end of every blog post are best.
Respond to Comments
Responding to comments on your blog lets readers know you’re listening to them and that you appreciate their input. It also helps foster more of a community discussion to the blog.
How you respond to comments makes all the difference in the world. School bloggers have to know that they are always representing the school and its programs, and thus, they have to always be respectful and positive when responding to comments. Are students writing your blog? If they are, make sure you have policies and standards in place to guide them on what’s acceptable.
Focus on Student and Community Issues
A good way to increase the amount of comments on your school blog is to cover student issues. Are there common problems for new students? Something happening in the local community that’s impacting the student population? By focusing on these, you can provide an outlet for students, showing, in the process, that the school cares.
Highlight Student Stories
Every student population has its share of exceptional stories, why not highlight some? Are there any foreign students adjusting to life in a new country? Any award winners? Focusing on these student stories can reinforce the community dynamic and increase comments.
Announcements and Events
Graduations, awards, open houses, seminars, etc. There is always something happening at your school. Announcements and events, therefore, are an easy way to keep your audience in the loop and generate comments. These type of posts often get shared a lot, they’re short and easy to read and readers don’t have to think too hard about writing a comment.
Keep Posts Short
You may have a few Leo Tolstoy’s writing for your school blog, but you have to rein them in: excessive verbosity will only hurt you. Try to keep posts within 250-350 words, making it easy for visitors to read the entire post and still have the mental capacity to leave a comment.
Link, Link, Link
Try to add links to your posts. You don’t have to add them to every line, but linking back to news sources, student groups or other relevant blogs alert people that you’re writing about them. This can also encourage them to come to your blog.
Use Social Media
Put your blog posts up on all your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to make sure your audience is aware of your content and to increase your share of social media voice. Responding to comments on those social media platforms, meanwhile, is another way to stimulate conversation, albeit away from your blog. “Best Comment” contests are also useful, increasing comments and encouraging readers to leave high-quality comments. Just make sure to have relevant and enticing prizes. Polls, meanwhile, can stimulate debate and help you gain some better understanding of your blog audience.
Check Blog Commenting Settings
Make it easy for people to comment. Don’t have them register or jump through any other unnecessary hoops. Providing a name and an email address should be enough for someone to leave a comment.
For a visual on some of these suggestions, check out this video created by SmartPassiveIncome:
What other tactics has your school blog used to increase comments? Let us know!