One of the things that I constantly try to reinforce here at the Guardian is that one of the crucial differences about blogs and really all social media - Twitter, Seesmic, social networks like this - is that we're trying to engage our audience. Participation and conversation is the goal. It's one of the things that separates the internet from print, and it's a strength that we should play to. From a technical standpoint, your CMS or blogging platform needs to make participation easy and highlight participation. But even if you're dealing with a relatively primitive platform (and I was when i started blogging in 2004), you can editorially reward participation by 'listening'.
- Respond to a few comments to show that you are part of the conversation.
- Pick some good comments and shine a spotlight on the wisdom in your crowd with a follow up post or even by feeding that back into print.
- When you have a spare moment (what are those), do a quick blog search on Google or Technorati and find people who are talking about what you. Leave a comment there and a link back to your post.
As I often say, community building is one of the things that most news organisations overlook when blogging and doing other forms of social media. The more you take part in the conversation, the buzzier your blog will be.