Blog commenting key to blogger engagement
I’ve been reading Brogan & Smith’s book, Trust Agents, where Chris and Julien spend a lot of time talking about influencers in Social Media developing a habit of daily blog reading and commenting as the best way of incresing their social capital and drawing attention to their own blog content. I agree completely. I still remember the rush of reading the first comment I received on my blog. The very first thing I did afterward was to go and check out the commenter’s blog and I ended up leaving a comment there myself. This is exactly the behavior you want to attract by leaving comments on other people’s blogs.
I get a lot of question from corporate blog owners who complain that their blogs (usually B2B blogs) don’t get a lot of comments and often don’t get a lot of traffic despite frequent posting of quality content. My response to that: having a blog is one thing, but socializing with others in the blogosphere is another and very important component of your journey as a blogger. Reading and commenting on other people’s blogs is a key part of something often referred to as blogger outreach which, in my opinion, is as important as writing blog content itself. Why is it so important? Because it take what starts as a casual reading of each other’s blogs to the next level of developing a lasting relationships with bloggers who, just like you, are producers of content in social web. Knowing them and interacting with them will benefit both of you and might lead to a partnership similar to the one between Chis and Julien that lead to writing the “Trust Agents” book.
Activities to improve your blogger outreach
Not sure how to start your blogger outreach. Here are some easy first steps.
- READ OTHER PEOPLE’S BLOGS AND COMMENT ON THEM REGULARLY. Consider adding blogs to your Google Reader or better yet, set up your iGoogle page with feeds from blogs you want to read on regular basis. This way every time you open iGoogle you’ll see new entries from your favorite blogs.
- Mention and link to other bloggers’ posts in your own blog posts. Because of pingbacks these bloggers will be notified you’ve mentioned their content and will be more inclined to visit your blog to check you out becoming regular readers and contributors to your blog.
I realize that some people are afraid to send readers away from their own content. Well, get over it. Honestly, as long as you provide value on your blog readers will find their way back to you.
- Include blogs you read frequently in your blog’s blogroll. Other bloggers will do the same for you.
- Invite other bloggers to write as guest bloggers on your blog and be open and willing to write as a guest blogger on theirs. I really enjoyed being a guest blogger on Christine B. Whittemore’s blog “Flooring the Consumer”
- Don’t forget to use your other social channels (e.g. Twitter, FB, LinkedIn) to mention other bloggers and their blog posts. If you promote them they will promote you.
- Use person-to-person interactions during industry events, conferences or more casual meetings. This is the best way to start new blogger relationships or cement ones that you started online. There is nothing more powerful than in person meeting for those who end up interacting online most of the time.
- Subscribe to a service called Back Type which allows you to sign up to receive email notifications when a blog comment is left on a specific blog post. I use it to keep track of the conversations on blog posts I left comments on. The service also allows you to set up keywords of interest to you and the system will automatically send you email notifications if there is a discussion re. this topic on social web (blogs included).
Chris Brogan recommends making it a habit to leave comments on blog posts that you’ve read. Set aside time for every day blog reading and commenting. No time for that in your schedule? Make time. Consider spending less time writing so that you can incorporate light blogger outreach into your routine.
When writing a blog comment please don’t forget about some basic blog commenting etiquette you should adhere to.
Blog commenting etiquette
- DO NOT SPAM which includes mass commenting on the same blog or across multiple blogs. Don’t leave comments designed to pimp your product or service or to send traffic to your web property.
- It’s ok to leave the name of your company along with your name at the bottom of your blog comment, but don’t leave links to your products unless you are a frequent contributor to that blog and the author and readers know you and trust you.
- Put some effort into the comment itself. Don’t just write a quickie that consists of a basic acknowledgment such as “great blog post.”That’s just boring and can be considered spamming if your signature and name of your company you leave as part of the comment are significantly longer than the comment itself. Instead, provide value, offer opinion, disagree (in a polite fashion). Be interesting or funny.
- Remember brevity is a virtue. Don’t write several paragraphs worth of text in your comment. The truth is that we are all busy and find it much harder to commit to reading large chunks of text regardless whether what’s inthere is really valuable.
- If you are being paid by somebody to engage in blogger outreach and/or to write blog comments on their behalf DISCLOSE IT. Recently issued FTC blogger guidelines are clear on that. Be fully transparent about being paid for your blogging or commenting or your blogger career will be short.
Do you have any other pointers regarding blogger outreach activities? Do you actively interact with your blogosphere network? What’s the value for you?