One way that outsiders (i.e. other bloggers, non-bloggers/readers, and potential advertisers and sponsors) gauge reader engagement is by checking the number of comments blog posts receive.
This is because we tend to equate higher comment counts with a more engaged readership. In some ways this can be a false equivalent, and it may even seem unfair when you think about how many trash blogs get dozens or hundreds of comments while the more thought-provoking and well-written blogs do not.
However, as bloggers, we have to remember that engagement is not only in how readers are responding to you in the comments section, but how they are reacting to your content elsewhere.
Increasingly, people who read blogs have found quicker, more convenient ways to interact with content beyond the actual blog. Below, I’ve listed a few ways that I’ve noticed.
BY RETWEETING ON TWITTER
Most of my blog readers happen to be Twitter followers, so when I tweet links to my posts they’ll either ‘favorite’ or retweet the posts.
In my view, this is their way of engaging with my content away from the blog. It’s their way of saying, “Drea, I read and liked your post, and thought it was worth a retweet.” In addition, I have a few readers who start chats with me about my posts via Twitter.
While I secretly wish we could have those discussions in the comments section of my blog, I understand that Twitter is just quicker and easier for some people.
BY SHARING POSTS WITH FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK
If you have a Facebook page and regularly update it with links to your posts, your readers who are avid Facebook users may be ‘liking’ and sharing your posts with their Facebook friends.
Or, they might be leaving comments under the post because it’s easier for them to comment via Facebook than it is to comment through the commenting system you have installed on your blog.
BY PINNING PHOTOS ON PINTEREST
Say you publish an easy-to-follow DIY tutorial or a recipe, and rather than leave a comment that reads, “Can’t wait to try this recipe at home!”, a few blog readers pin photos of your recipe or DIY project to Pinterest.
This is still engagement because readers taking time to click a button and share your posts on a social networking site, which will likely bring more traffic to your blog.
BY WORD OF MOUTH
Believe it or not, there are some people (like my best friend) whose social media presence is nonexistent. Though we live in a social media dominated culture, not everyone in the world has a Twitter handle or Facebook page.
So perhaps you have people reading your blog who don’t want to sign in to comment and they can’t share posts via FB, Twitter, and Pinterest because they don’t have an account with those sites. Instead, they might show support and engagement by telling their family and friends to go check out your blog.
As a blogger who admittedly prefers comments to ‘likes’ on Facebook and ‘favorited’ tweets, I can still appreciate when readers interact with my posts outside of the comment section of my blog. At the very least, it assures me that I’m not talking to myself and that people are reading and responding to what I’ve written.
What are some ways, besides commenting, that your blog readers interact with your posts? Leave your comment below, or tweet us @BrownGirlBlogs.[mailchimpsf_form]