Those who blog for business must engage their audience in order to keep them coming back to their site. To this end, bloggers can include images, video, links, solicit guest posts, and the like. Some viewers, however, simply won’t leave behind comments, and guest posts can help you only insofar as adding new content from a fresh perspective. Some viewers are as liable to leave comments there as on your posts–in other words, not at all.
One oft overlooked way of engaging one’s audience that’s as effective as a comment but easier on the viewer’s behalf is the online poll. To comment, a viewer must plan, type, edit, and confirm one’s post, whereas a poll participant needs only to click the mouse once to vote. Most people are more than willing to click one button to participate in some social activity that allows them to express themselves (take, for example, the growing Click to Give sites at The Animal Rescue Site, The Breast Cancer Research Site, etc.). A poll, therefore, meets your needs as a blogger and the needs of your audience in their fast-paced, busy lives and short attention spans.
If you’re wondering what these needs of yours as a blogger are, think of all you stand to gain from adding a poll to your website.
1. First and foremost, it engages your audience. An engaged audience is a faithful audience that will return, possibly with friends who will join your audience. Thus, more people get to know your brand.
2. From poll results alone, you can produce multiple blog posts to further engage your audience. To this end, be sure to publish a post calling attention to the poll and another post following up the results.
3. You can poll about your business and garner real results from real people and customers. With this intelligence, you can better your business. You can discover if your brand is being targeted to the right people the right way, what things you could improve about your business, what people like about your site and its format, and more. The key here is self-improvement, so pay attention to the poll results. If they aren’t what you want them to be, think about what you can do to improve public opinion of your brand rather than snubbing it altogether.
4. You can pitch poll results to media outlets to do some rightful bragging about your brand. Rather than mere speculation and word-of-mouth, a poll provides you with numbers you can use in your business.
5. Regularly adding polls to your blog give your audience feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves. Polls give them something to anticipate–a chance to express themselves as well as to see what others said about the same topic. This means they will not only keep coming back, they will take your site and your brand more seriously. You can only run a business when customers come to rely on you.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education performing research surrounding online universities and their various program offerings. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.