One of the great unwritten rules of blogging is that if your posts get comments and interaction, then they are successful. But if you are blogging for a business or organization, you can’t survive on comments alone. You need to convert those comments into something of real value to your business. In other words, getting more comments is NOT the end goal of your blogging strategy. You want your blog to generate more sales, or leads, or donors, or awareness, or SOMETHING else besides comments.
Now that’s not to say that comments don’t have value, because they absolutely do. But the point is that YOUR company or organization has to decide what value comments have in relation to YOUR blogging strategy.
Let’s assume that you blog for a company that sells Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters. If your blogging strategy is focused on sales, then if you are going to invest time in cultivating comments on your blog posts, those comments need to lead to sales, either directly or indirectly. Here’s a snazzy diagram I drew to outline this simple process:
Now the problem that many blogging companies have is that they work to encourage blog comments on their posts, but they don’t do anything to leverage those blog comments to help them reach their ultimate goal of generating a sale. Many people will read a blog post, then comment on it, and then nothing happens to move them closer to a sale.
Let’s look at how we can correct this, first starting with the approach that we want comments to DIRECTLY lead to sales. Or in this case, we want our commenters to buy something. If that’s the case, then obviously we need to give them the OPTION to buy something. Think about it, if you want your blog to directly generate sales, how can this happen if you don’t offer goods for sale ON your blog? It can’t, the best you can hope for is that the commenter will contact you and ask how they can buy something from you. But if you want your commenters to buy something from you, you need to give them that option.
Now the other option is the one that far more of us likely employ, and that is using comments to indirectly lead to sales. In this scenario, we need to understand that since comments won’t be leading directly to sales, they need to lead to people taking some OTHER action that eventually WILL lead to a sale.
For example, in my own blogging case, I want to encourage comments here, but I know that they will likely INDIRECTLY lead to sales for me. I know that the more comments I have here usually leads to more RTs and sharing of my content online, which means I have higher visibility, and am more likely to be viewed as a ‘thought leader’ when it comes to how companies and brands can better use social media. This increases the likelihood that I will be hired as a speaker, a trainer or consultant.
But also notice that I have pages here dedicated to my speaking, training and consulting. So if someone does comment here, and is interested in hiring me, I have given them information on how to do that.
This is the one area where many blogging companies (or even solo bloggers that want to monetize their blog) fail: They don’t focus on calls to action and closing the sale.
If you want to use your blog as a way to generate sales, either directly or indirectly, then you have to help your visitors get to that point. If you want the blog to directly generate sales, then you need to give them an option to buy on the blog. If you want your blog to indirectly lead to sales, then you have to figure out what Action A and Action B is above, and how to move them along the cycle toward a sale.
And that’s what we’ll be discussing tonight at #Blogchat, how to convert comments into sales/clients/donors/etc, either directly or indirectly! Hope you can join us starting at 8pm Central tonight on Twitter!