A lot of people talk about blog comments based on the incoming traffic they can provide. The story goes, as Brian Clark noted in a popular post a while back, that if you leave tons of comments everywhere, you’ll be golden. It’s probably worthwhile to note that Brian’s post also points out that primarily, this story is more myth or legend, especially if all you’re doing is leaving one-word comments everywhere.
The fact is that commenting on blogs in a meaningful way can be one of your most powerful engagement tools. However, one needs to emphasize “in a meaningful way.”
With that said, here are ten ways you can use your blog commenting strategy to help you increase your engagement with other bloggers and blog readers.
1. Read the whole post. Carefully. When I first started commenting on blogs, I’d try to be smooth and say, “Ah, but you didn’t cover this!” Then I’d go back and reread the post when I had more time, and there’d be a whole paragraph dedicated to just that topic. D’oh. Show the blogger that you actually took the time to read the whole post, or just comment on what you know you actually read.
2. Only comment if you have something to say. This seems obvious, but sometimes I think people comment just because they want to vent about a bad day, and they don’t want to darken their own site with their ick. Alternatively, I think some people comment just for the sake of commenting. That is an ick of a different color. Again, check out Brian Clark’s post for more on this issue. He says it better than I could.
3. Instead of writing a blog post, note that you’re going to write a blog post. This not only indicates to the blogger that you really liked what they wrote (or really disliked it) but it also previews content that will be coming on your site. It also prevents others from thinking that you are an attention-grabbing prima dona, which is good.
4. Like on Twitter, not every comment has to link to your blog. Most comment areas let you add a live link so that your name is clickable to your blog. It’s ok to occasionally say, “Wow, I just wrote a post about that,” but creating a Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail of links on other blog sites is kind of poor form.
5. It’s ok to compliment the blogger. I try not to leave just a bunch of comments that say, “Hey, nice post,” but if a person is consistently shoveling out content that I think is super duper, I will tell them on occasion. Let’s face it – positive feedback is nice and rare!
6. Scan the comments and reply to interesting content there. Rather than just busting in with what you have to say, see if someone else has already verbalized similar thoughts. When you make your comment, give them a hat tip, or just reply and say, “Hey, I was going to say that exact thing!
7. Be yourself. I like to comment as if the blogger had just given a speech and I was there to shake their hand. If that means I add the occasional smart-allecky comment, well…so be it. Thus are the risks of blogging, right?
8. Watch your tonality. Bloggers are very protective of their content, so any kind of criticism you offer runs the risk of sounding harsher than you intend. Be very careful about how you present information like grammar errors, typos, or completely stupid ideas. Sometimes it’s better to take those thoughts to a direct message or email.
9. Don’t be timid about disagreeing. That said, don’t feel like you have to agree with everything a blogger says. I love a good debate as long as people keep it civil. That means not just keeping it civil with me but also keeping it civil with other people who are commenting on my post.
10. Don’t be a serial jerk. There are some people who seem to show up on every blog site, and all they do is disagree with everyone. They include at least 3 f-bombs for every 1 word, and they just bring the mood down (at least from my perspective). A lot of times, these kinds of comments don’t really seem warranted. It just seems to be “their thing.” It’s unattractive and will not really help you engage in a pleasant way with your peers.
So there you have it – my suggestions for using blog comments as a way to build your engagement online. What works for you? Let’s talk about it…in the comment section!
This is post #31 in the Engagement Series. Are you finding it helpful? Please let me know how I can improve!
Image by Kjell-Einar Pettersen. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Kjelle69