User engagement is essential to your marketing success. Without it, you’re just yelling into a wind tunnel.

People need to care about what you’re saying, and they need to feel like they are part of the conversation. When they do, they will enthusiastically spread the word about your brand and what you have to offer. When they don’t, they just won’t come to your site anymore.

Out of just about all types of marketing collateral, many brands find blogs to be the most challenging for getting user engagement. Even brands that get a good readership going can have a hard time getting users to comment or to actively seek out other content on the site.

A lot of times, you may wonder if anyone is reading at all.

Here are a few things you can do to engage users on your blog and build a more thriving community around it:

Don’t be afraid of controversy

So many brands make the mistake of being overly formal, which ends up being overly bland.

Companies don’t want to take a stand on an issue because they don’t want to alienate any of their customers.

Well, you can’t please everyone, but if you do come out strong on the side of an issue, you can get people passionate about what you’re saying and you can inspire loyalty.

Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and to share it with your audience. Come out strongly on one side of a controversial issue and write clearly and powerfully about your views.

Just don’t write about controversy just to get attention. Your readers will be able to see through it.

And don’t get caught up in writing about controversy all the time or your blog will become a source of drama.

Choose the topics that you feel most passionately about, and write about your views in a way that stays true to your brand’s values. Evaluate carefully when a topic might be too controversial for your brand and whether the potential benefits and consequences of writing about it.

Write from the heart

If people don’t feel anything when they read your posts, they aren’t going to respond.

What’s the best way to get someone to feel something about what you’re writing? To write from a place of emotion yourself. If you don’t feel anything about what you’re writing, why would your audience?

If you don’t feel comfortable writing about your personal feelings, you can at least include emotional appeals in your writing. For example, you can share heart-wrenching stories or use hypothetical examples that invite readers to imagine how they would feel in the scenario.

The language you use can also set the tone. You don’t have to be inflammatory to elicit emotion, but you should use more charged language than you would in, say, a white paper.

Solicit feedback

Don’t treat your blog posts like lectures. End them with questions or comments encouraging readers to give you feedback.

You might ask a simple question like, “What do you think of x?” Or you might ask readers to share their experiences with the topic you’ve written about, such as when they had a similar problem or what solutions they found to be helpful.

The point is to always have a call to action at the end of the blog post that encourages your readers to get involved. You want to let them know that their feedback is valued and their voices will be heard.

You may start to feel like a broken record always asking readers to share their thoughts, but eventually, you’ll start to get comments and it will feel more like a conversation than a writing exercise.

Reply to comments

A lot of bloggers treat comments as little compliments. They see any reaction as a boost to their own ego, showing that people have not only been reading but that they care enough to respond.

While it might feel good to you to get a comment, it certainly doesn’t feel good to your readers to have those comments go ignored.

Show your readers that you care about more than your blog stats by actually replying to all the comments. You can follow up on something they said, ask questions, or take the conversation in a new direction.

When you feel like you have nothing else to say, a simple, “Thank you!” or “That’s a great point” will go a long way to making readers feel valued and encouraging them to continue participating.

User engagement is vital to the success of your brand’s marketing. Use these tips to help you get more engagement on your blog and encourage customer loyalty.

When your users feel more engaged with your blog, they will be more likely to return to it and to share your content on their own social networks and other channels. You’ll get more exposure and your marketing will be more successful.

 

This article originally appeared in CodeFuel.

 

This article was written by Roee Ganot from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.