Why No Comments?

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One of the stumbling blocks for libraries when we talk about blogging is the fact that so many library blogs never get comments. This article – focused on associations – might be very useful for strategic planning for the library blog.

I especially like this one:

2. Open and easy. If you really want to build comments, you have to be open and make commenting easy. Limiting your blog content or commenting features to members also limits what you can achieve with your blog. A members-only strategy may be appropriate in some cases, but not if your goal is to engage a vocal audience. In fact, to truly be open, try setting up a blog with

  • No login; 
  • Easy to find comment links; 
  • No captchas—those annoying things that make people spell out letters to prove they are human; 
  • No moderation. (You can always be notified of new posts and moderate after the comments are posted.) The instant gratification a new commenter feels when they see their name and content post to your site is not to be underestimated.
The article goes on to list ten types of posts that can rock. They fit well with our purposes:
  • Insight or opinion. If your blogger can be honest and open enough to share an opinion, you’ll build rapport and attract readers. If you’re brave enough to express an unpopular opinion, you’ll get even more comments.
  • Conference. You have a backstage pass. Why not use it to bring a whole new side of the conference experience to your members, and hear what they think about it?
  • Interview. Find out what the experts really think and share it with your readers.
  • Lists. Hey, you’re reading this list, right? People love lists because they’re easy to digest.
  • Live. What if you live blogged the congressional hearing on the most important issue affecting your members?
  • Announcement. This is about using your position in the industry to let people know about the most important stuff they have to know—even if it’s from a competitor.
  • Survey. We sure do enough of them, right? Whether you’re surveying just your blog readers or sharing the results of a broader survey, it will get people talking.
  • Response. If you’re not getting called out by another blogger once in awhile, you’re not doing it right. Debate draws audience, and a good rebuttal might even change some opinions.
  • Meme. When you’re trying to build awareness about an important topic, starting a meme (something like an online chain letter, but with substance) is a great way to get lots of bloggers talking all at the same time.
  • Guest. Hand over the stage to one of your celebrity members for a day.
  • I think I’ve done many of these at TTW. Which ones have you done? What would you add to the list?
    And watch out for the type of posts they say to avoid:

  • Announcement. I know—we said this was a good one. But it will backfire if you only announce your own new products and conference dates.
  • Rant. Stirring the pot is one thing, going on a negative rant is something different. This works great for some bloggers, but for associations, it’s a losing proposition.