When you have a conversation with a friend, co-worker or family member there’s a good chance that many of your conversations will be brought up again in the future, perhaps to add something new you’ve learned about the subject or perhaps to answer further questions about the conversation.
The ability to continue a conversation is one area where many bloggers fail to excel, whether it’s answering a few user questions or adding more information to the conversation the ability to actively engage your visitors can be what truly creates your “engaging” content.
1. Answering Questions
This step serves two purposes, the first is to instill a sense of trust in your visitors. As you answer questions you are able to position yourself as an authority on the subject you have written about (especially important if you are a new voice in the blogosphere). Even if you have to do some research on your own part to find the answer you not only learn something you but also show your visitors that you are invested in them the way you hope they will become invested in you.
The second part of answering questions is the ability to create new content. For example you may find that several of your users are looking for information not covered in your post, by writing a new entry and then commenting that entry as your answer you not only help your users with more than a simple comment answer but provide valuable content to them and other readers who will likely have the same questions asked by many of your vistitors.
2. Getting To Know Your Readers
Sometimes your readers aren’t trying to find more information but simply want to engage with you, in this case starting a courteous and active dialogue can let you get to know the type of people who are visiting your website. When I start a new website I immediately jump on every comment that is posted and simply talk to my readers. Through many conversations I am then able to determine what type of content my visitors enjoy and the build my site around that content. I have literally started a website with a specific type of content in mind only to begin offering different content based on the conversations I have had with site visitors.
3. Ask Questions
At the end of articles I like to ask my readers questions that will generate comments however in some cases I find that the questions I want to ask my readers come from their own responses. If you take a few moments each day to ask your readers questions it can help you in two ways. First you get to understand the level of comprehension your readers have about a subject, if you find that they are easily answering your questions it might be time to create more challenging content or if they are stumped by your inquiries a few beginners guides might now be a bad idea. Second, by asking questions you show your readers that you care about their opinions and that you understand the contributions they can make to bettering your website.
Engaging is simple, write content then ask questions, answer questions and simply talk to your site visitors, if you follow those simple instructions your content can continue to grow and take on a life of it’s own. Think about how many times you’ve looked in the comments section of a website to find an answer, it’s really amazing how much weight a well engaged comment section can hold over a website.