An Interview With BlogChat Founder Mack Collier

Last Sunday, I participated in probably one of the best #blogchats to date. The chat was about blog comments. The advice and tips on Twitter were phenomenal. Some of the best advice came from none other than Mack Collier, #blogchat founder. Here’s a short interview that I did with Mack shortly after last week’s chat.

1. What’s your comment policy on your blog?

MC: I don’t have a formal comment policy in place at MackCollier.com.  In general, the only time I moderate comments and get involved with them is if a reader is being personally abusive toward another reader, or if they are promoting themselves without participating in the conversation.  Or if they use profanity.  Other than that, everything is pretty much ok!

2. How do you encourage people to comment?

MC: Saying ‘What do you think?’ works wonders 😉  I just try to make sure my readers know that I value their opinion and want to hear what they have to say.  I often close my posts by asking for their thoughts

3. I noticed that you use Livefyre on your blog? What are the advantages to using Livefyre compared to other commenting plugins (such as WordPress, Facebook and Disqus).

MC: Well one thing Livefyre does that readers really seem to like is it updates comments in real-time.  For example, if you were leaving a comment and while you were writing it I left a comment above yours, it would immediately pop up without you having to reload the page!  And Livefyre also makes it very easy to share your comments on Twitter and Facebook, so you can pull more people into the conversation.

4. Blogchat is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Twitter chat. What are a few of the techniques you used to grow the chat?

MC: Pick very 101-level topics because those encourage more interaction.  I have found that most people are smarter than they give themselves credit for, and if the topic of the chat is very high-level, that can scare some smart people off from participating.  But by setting the #Blogchat topics at a lower level, it gives more people an incentive to get involved, then the discussions are more vibrant and robust.
Another ‘technique’ I use is that I try my best to make sure everyone is welcome.  #Blogchat is so big that I literally miss 95% of the tweets, but if I ever see anyone tweeting that they are checking out #Blogchat for the first time, I always backtrack and reply to them thanking them.  I want their first experience with #Blogchat to be a good one!

5. If you could give one piece of advice to a new blogger looking to get more comments, what would it be?

MC: Gotta leave em to get em.  Leaving comments on other sites is the best way to generate more comments on your own.  I figured this out by accident in 2005 when I started blogging, and it still works today.  Fish where the fish are.

**Lastly, if you want more amazing insights, advice and engaging conversations, follow Mack on Twitter or on his site.