A common challenge for most bloggers is, “How can I get more people to comment?” And even better, how can you get commentary that is healthy (even when disagreeing), insightful, and interesting?
We’re gonna pick MizFit’s brain, and see what we can learn! She’ll share her secret sauce, what type of posts illicit higher comments, and a thing she calls “commentversation.”
Me: MizFit thank you for taking the time to share with us some of your secrets to success on how you are now averaging about 100 comments per post, many a blogger dream come true.
You post on average 5-6 posts, 5-6 days per week. What’s even more amazing is that your blog MizFit Online is not even a year old yet. When is said blog birthday?
MizFit: MizFit Online shall turn one this February 4, and tremendous celebration shall ensue! I can’t believe it. It feels like I just started MizFit yet have been blogging there forever.
Me: Can you share with us a quickie on your background?
MizFit: I think people often think I’m a trainer. I’m not. I owned a training studio in Chapel Hill, NC when personal training was just starting outside of LA (1996).
I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling which also helps me I believe in my post writing and community building.
Besides blogging at MizFit Online, I am a full time writer by day. I have a monthly fitness magazine column along with two advice columns in the Austin American Statesman.
One is for elementary school kids and is a Q&A like “What’s the biggest planet?” The other column I write targets tweens and teens.
Me: So, you’re a pretty busy lady, and with the Counseling background it’s easy to see why you are so helpful and well liked.
Can you share with us the top two things you do on a regular or daily basis that has led to you getting a large number of comments on your posts because 100 on average is truly remarkable even for the blogs that get millions of hits a month?
MizFit: I love to read other peoples blogs – A LOT. I’m not sure if I’m unique in that regard but I find that it really serves as motivation to me both in the realm of fitness and beyond. I like to start my day with a big cup of coffee & a buncha blog reading.
I find if my workout motivation is particularly low that day (I’m a morning exerciser) reading about someone else’s great workout success/experience pushes me on the days I rather sit on my arse.
The flip side is true as well. When I read about a bloggers struggle and comment to them a few thoughts of encouragement I internalize those positive insights as well.
…The immediacy of feedback in the comments is alluring to me. Whether people agree or disagree, I love to hear it…
That’s really all I do. I read. I comment. I genuinely care about other people. I want to be there to cheer them on in their attempts/successes and to help lift them back up in times of struggle.
Me: What’s also extraordinary is that your traffic numbers are not in the millions but you have one of the highest traffic/comment response ratios out there compared even to the big boys & girls which means your readers are HIGHLY engaged in participating in the conversation.
What do you think was key in getting your readers that active in participation?
MizFit: I was a blogger back in the day 2001 at a site called MuscleJournal.com.
Back then we called it online journaling but, in a sense, it was blogging.
The biggest lesson I took away from that experience, and kept in mind when I was planning MizFit’s launch, was that at Muscle Journal I felt I was talking at people and giving a fitness monologue versus having a two way conversation.
As a result, I received very few comments and found the experience only semi-satisfying.
I’m a community builder, a firm believer in the fact that, for 99.9% of life, it takes a village to truly achieve a goal.
I saw the posts at MizFit Online as merely a launching pad for commentversation, a place where, I hoped, the same people would return day after day, form their own relationships with each other beyond MizFit, and at some point, I/MizFit may not even be ‘necessary.’
I started “MizFit Motivational Match Ups,” as a way to bring the community together outside of MizFit Online. I also launched a Commenter of the Month post which I’d not seen anyone do before.
Each month I randomly select a commenter and do an interview with him or her. Some of the men and women have blogs.
Some don’t. Some are quite into fitness. Some aren’t. All people, as the saying goes, have a story.
The Commenter of the Month post is always highly trafficked and, I think, another indication that readers do seek community and not just another blog.
Me: So really then, your secret sauce is the “commentversation” strategy? Now some people would say that’s wonderful and all but that’s too much work to be hanging out in the comments section and responding to everyone.
We’re too busy coming up with new content and social media-ing trying to get more/new traffic. So, at the end of the day that goes deeper into what you want to accomplish as a blogger then, you think?
MizFit: I find it surprising that anyone would say that commentversation is too much work as it is really one of my favorite parts of blogging.
Now that I think about it, I think I thrive on the commentversation because all of my day job writing (magazines and newspaper) is pretty much feedback free.
Sure, people will sometimes email saying they enjoyed a certain article or column but for the most part the fact that my editors are still hiring me is my only ‘evidence’ people enjoy my work.
The immediacy of feedback in the comments is alluring to me. Whether people agree or disagree, I love to hear it and so often my thoughts end up growing and changing and shifting throughout the course of the day as well!
Me: What type of posts do you find that people comment more on? For example, giveaway posts, workout video posts, or your Monday Facetime where you ask people their opinion on a given subject?
I ask this because it can help other bloggers with content development.
MizFit: If only I knew. It varies wildly. Just when I think ‘people only comment on giveaways,’ I do a post on a random topic near and dear to my heart sans a giveaway, and the comments pour in.
Many days there seems to be no rhyme or reason to commenting so I’ve stopped trying to figure it all out and write from my heart.
I receive comments and emails frequently from people saying they look forward to Mondays for my Facetime but that isn’t necessarily always the highest comment day.
Me: How long then did it take you to start getting to the 50 comment/post level?
MizFit:: About six months, which sounds like such a short period of time but I planned MizFitOnline for months before I launched.
Me: When you say “planned out” can you give us 2 things you did or incorporated into that pre-planning?
MizFit: I laugh that it took me ages to come up with a name. The name I most liked, Sisyphit, was universally panned by friends and family so that piece took a while.
Beyond that all I really did was decide what would be written about on each day of the week. I wanted readers to know what to expect at MizFit week in and week out.
I have been fluid with my categories like Thursday is Food Glorious Food day and isn’t always a recipe.
Sometimes, my rhyming Friday Link Love is a product giveaway more than links but the general framework remains the same.
People really seem to like knowing that, for example, every Monday is Face Time and there will be a video. I work to keep things consistent.
Me: I agree with your F& F’s. MizFit is much better and is so you! When you’re socializing online, do you frequent and comment yourself more on blogs, forums, regular websites like an iVillage or on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook?
Or, is it a combo, and if so can you give us a rough percentage of time you spend in each place.
MizFit: I spend about an hour each morning reading blogs and that’s about it. I’m trying to befriend Twitter.
I’m MizFitOnline there too.
However, I still think I don’t really ‘get it.’ I did throw some MizFit info up on Facebook recently but, I spend very little time in either place – very little.
I have a friend who specializes in social media who shakes her head at me, laughs and says I’ve been successful IN SPITE of myself.
Me: So then, how pro-active are you in developing direct relationships with the bloggers, writers, and editors of the places you frequent?
MizFit: (Cringing) Proactive? Hmmmm. It’s all as I said before: I read other peoples blogs, comment, and if I have something to say I often follow up because I’m interested and I care. Is that developing direct relationships? Then yes 🙂