I’ve been a comment evangelist for a long time. I believe it is one of the best tools to advance your “influence” and presence online. Its rewards are many and it’s one of the easiest things to do. In my early days writing and blogging and learning Social Media, I developed a strategy of commenting that I believe served me well. Social Media is to a large degree – as I’ve chosen the name for this blog series – about Social Good, at least as I choose to view and use it. Commenting will help you achieve results in doing good, doing well, and doing better.
The question often asked by new bloggers is how to get more readers to come visit their blog, their website. Frankly, I don’t like the term, “blogger” or any version of it to describe what I do, but it is the popular vernacular of the day. I believe that blogging is a form of writing. A perfectly fine form, but since I do so many different kinds of writing, I prefer to reference what I do as writing and what I am, as a writer. But, I digress (that is the first time I believe I’ve ever written those three trite words!).
Getting people to read your writing, your blog, is easily achieved by commenting. There are numerous websites that can provide lists of bloggers that write about things in your particular niche or interests. Find those bloggers. Read their writing. Immediately you will get the benefit of learning from others that may have achieved the success you desire.
Now, begin commenting. I’ll give you my dirty-little-secrets about commenting later, but let’s start with simply reading the blog and making a simple statement of affirmation and perhaps add an idea or ask a question. If you disagree with something in the blog, perhaps you should choose your words carefully in how you express that. Disagreement is fine as long as it’s done with respect. In fact, I welcome disagreement because it often elicits more discourse. I’m sure most writers would agree with me.
It’s those comments that are simply name-calling or don’t back up their disagreements with thoughtful arguments that are frowned upon. I wrote a column disparaging the Occupy Wall Street movement and it garnered perhaps the most comments of anything I’ve written. A good 75% were incredibly well thought out agreements and disagreements. I replied to every one of those, which is something that will encourage further dialogue. To those name-callers, I simply let their comments stay put because I felt they shot themselves in the foot with their angry diatribes and only reinforced my ideas.
What will happen, after a while, is that the writers on whose sites you’re commenting will notice you. You may engage in a comment debate. These debates may lead to – gulp – some meaningful real-life interactions, perhaps first with emails outside of the comment-sphere and later phone calls and possibly, as shocking as it may read, a real life encounter.
When I began doing my commenting, I did it religiously as part of my morning routine. I learned tricks to make it easier. I learned shortcuts. And, I made terrific relationships. Some even dubbed me, “The Comment King.”
What are some of the tricks and shortcuts I employed? Sorry, you’ll have to kill me for those. Nah, here’s a short list – but beware – do them at your own peril (I’m serious):
~~ Not every comment has to be genius. Sometimes I would simply say something positive and something additional to the topic of the blog without even reading the whole thing.
~~ Writers/Bloggers love feedback. So, going one step beyond the previous tip, I learned to make valuable comments simply by knowing the writer (after reading enough of their material) and reading only the title of the blog!
~~ I created what I call a Comment Posse. This is a terrific thing to do since you build a little community of other writers and bloggers that you’ve met virtually or know in real life. You agree to comment on each other’s material. It’s ad-hoc and I probably had a rotating group of a dozen or so for well over a year. We only commented when we had something of value to add. There was no formality or sense of obligation.
Ironically, as my Social Media life progressed, I became too busy – or so I thought – to comment as regularly as I had earlier in my career. The topic of comments and its value came up at a #blogchat not so long ago and I suggested forming a new Comment Posse on Triberr. It’s been going strong for several months now and it got me back to regular commenting so I’m back to doing what I preach!
~~ Reply to every legitimate comment. Make sure you have a user-friendly comment system (Disqus and Livefyre are both excellent) and do NOT moderate comments. You should check your comments regularly enough that if the occasional spam or obnoxious comment slips through (a good comment system), you can delete it. Moderating and poor commenting systems discourages people to comment at all OR to comment again.
~~ When you reply, respond to what was written. Don’t just say, “Thank you for your comment.” Try and add to the comment so a string of dialogue may ensue. And, try and address each commenter by name. Good comment plug-ins allow you to easily include the name of the person who commented.
So, are you ready to begin commenting? I have a last suggestion.
Leave a comment here…
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