Your comments section provides a space for readers to participate in the conversation, learn from different viewpoints, and engage directly with you, the publisher. Whether you’re an aspiring movie critic or a growing local news destination, your publication’s success is driven directly by the relationship you have with your readers.

Engagement is the key to that equation. It forms the building blocks for cultivating the trust you need to grow your relationship with readers. Engaged readers spend more time on your site and are more likely to subscribe. Creating great content is absolutely critical however, for publishers today, it's not enough. You need a strategy to keep readers engaged and coming back to your site. We're here to help you do that.

Defining engagement

Engagement is the actions that both readers and the publisher take to interact with each other. If it’s not reciprocal, it’s not engagement. But, why do readers want to engage with a publisher?

The reasons will likely vary for any publisher so it’s important that you identify what they are for your audience. As a starting point, we wanted to share some insights on why readers choose to engage based on our reader survey of 973 Disqus commenters and research from the Center for Media Engagement. What we learned is that the top five reasons that readers engage with publishers are to:

  1. Discuss and ask questions
  2. Make corrections and/or add information
  3. Give feedback
  4. Express opinion
  5. Say thanks

What to expect ahead

Over the next few weeks, we plan on sharing actionable tactics that will help you increase reader engagement. You’ll find examples of publishers who’ve used these tactics to build valuable relationships with their readers. Our goal is to help all publishers learn from these strategies and become more successful. 

Here's a preview of the upcoming chapters:

  1. Listening to your community

  2. Turn comments into content

  3. Host events

  4. Promote comments outside your website

  5. Recognize top commenters to retain them

  6. Lower the barrier to commenting

If you’d like to follow along this series, subscribe to the blog to get notified when we publish the next chapter. Get started now with Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: Engagement starts with listening to your community →