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The other day I was checking out Monster's blog, and while at first glance it appears to be a solid company blog, I noted a glaring problem. The blog's comment policy states that "Comments are moderated; they should appear on the Monster Blog within one business day." One business day? Are you kidding me?

To me, that long of a delay is totally unacceptable for a company blog. Can it happen occasionally over the weekend? Sure, and most readers will forgive leaving a comment on Sunday at noon, and not having it show up till 9 am on Monday. But during business hours, a delay of even an hour is too long.
But more than anything, that policy screams that Monster doesn't value input from its blog readers. Which is a horrible mistake, as a company that blogs should be doing everything possible to encourage its readers to leave comments. The more input from its readers, the more valuable feedback the company can collect.
And there are so many very simple things that companies can do to encourage its readers to leave comments:
1 - If you moderate comments, approve them as quickly as possible. This is a simple courtesy to your readers that shows them that you value their input.
2 - Post regularly. This encourages visitors to become readers, and readers are far more likely to leave comments than visitors that have found your blog for the first time.
3 - Reply to comments from your readers! Another no-brainer, but so many companies overlook this. It shows your readers that you are actually paying attention to their comments, and want to hear what they have to say. And the more comments a post has, the more likely readers are to check out the comments.
4 - Read the blogs of your regular commenters, and comment on THEIR blog as much as possible. This is a wonderful way to build community for your blog, and it's another way to show your readers that you value their input. Then after you've discovered these wonderful blogs that your readers have, why not add a link to them on YOUR blog's sidebar?
5 - Add a "window" to the comments. I love this one. Let's say you leave a post, and Laura leaves an absolutely amazing comment. Almost immediately, other readers start commenting on Laura's comment! So a great way to 'thank' Laura for that comment, and to let your readers know about it, is to add her comment to the bottom of your post! Just add at the bottom of the post 'Laura says in the comments', and then Laura's comment. And remember to 'thank' Laura, by also linking to her blog when you add her comment to your post! I do this by adding the blog link to the person's name. You get to thank a reader for a great comment, and also let your other readers know about the party that's happening in the comments to that post!
6 - Ask your readers for their comments! The other day I posted on The Viral Garden about Monster's comment policy. I started to just say what I thought was wrong with the policy, and leave it at that. But instead, I simply posted Monster's comment policy, and asked my readers what they thought of it. As a result, I got far more comments than I likely would have, and probably better ones as well since I didn't take a stand and let the readers run with the comments!
And speaking of point #6, what are YOUR tips for how to encourage more comments on your blog? If you have any, please leave a comment! (See how easy it is?)

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier