How To Kill Engagement on Your Legal Blog

One of the biggest mistakes professionals make when it comes to blogging is to not allow reader comments.  Blogging is about building a community around a common topic or discussion.  It’s not just about publishing content. 
From a legal perspective I understand why free-for-all commenting is not permitted.  Most law firms like to “control the message” and allowing readers to state their opinion goes against the grain so to say. Especially if that comment is negative or questionable. Other problems include spam and self promotional comments.  
Blogging is part of the social media realm. Social = Two-Way Conversation. A blog that doesn’t allow comments is exactly like a static website or law firm newsletter.  You might as well spend your blogging budget on something more useful. To actually gain a steady following of targeted readers you must engage in conversation.  Ask questions. Inspire conversation. Have an opinion!  Not allowing comments is like saying that your opinion is the only one that counts – is that the message you want to come across? I think not. 
There are a variety of settings when it comes to blog comments. You can allow anyone to comment without moderation or you can enforce a moderation policy: readers can submit their comments for your approval.  This might be the best option if you’ve had a spam problem or malicious comments. 
I like commenting platforms such as Livewyre or Disqus. They are easily integrated with WordPress and Blogger and allow users to log in with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc. These platforms also encourage conversation and allow readers to share their comments on various social networks. 
Don’t be worried about negative comments either.  Most times they end up in a friendly debate and you might just end up making a great friend.  I’ve heard about this happening many times. 
I read an article over at the Social Media Explorer on how to build a community via comments and these were some of their tips:
  • Allow commenting (of course!)
  • Ask for comments
  • Write a comment policy
  • Show readers how to comment
  • Respond to your commenters
Now it’s my turn to pick your brain. Do you allow commenting on your blogs? Have you had any issues or serious problems? Have any questions for me? I look forward to hearing from you!

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