This week I did a webinar all about Blog Comments. To take my own advice, I wanted to write a blog post about some of the main topics we talked about in our webinar.
We know that blogging is good for SEO, targeting long-tail search terms and having a blog helps establish you as an expert in your field. We also know blogs are a great hub for your social media activity and to quickly respond to news and events in your industry. But have you thought about how commenting on blogs can help you build relationships with influencers in your industry? Or how getting more comments on your own blog helps your marketing?
Here are the key points we discussed on Tuesday
On getting more blog comments…
- For starters, know what is important for your business – There are lots of things you should be focusing on if you have a blog for your business. Getting more comments on your blog is just one of them. Make sure you are keeping track of the data points that are most important like inbound links, traffic, conversions and buying something. A blog comment does not move your bottom line, it is just one way to measure the success of your blogging efforts.
- Not getting a lot of comments? Check your tone – A lot of blogs out there have a know-it-all tone of voice: ‘this is the best software for your industry’. So other than to agree or disagree (which are boring blog comments) what more is there for a blog reader to say? Some blogs are primarily for SEO or giving expert opinions. The blogs that get the most comments are the ones that read more human, the ones that admit they may not know everything and the ones that are asking for your input. Try leaving blog posts more open ended, or ask a question or advice – you will probably see a change on how many people comment.
- Reward your readers who leave comments – Try a comment contest. Tell readers in your post that you will select one random comment and they will get a t-shirt, pen, free download of an ebook, etc. See if a campaign like that gets the comment mojo going.
- Being controversial gets comments and feedback – Do I recommend that for most businesses? No. I do think you need to make a stand for the things that make your different from your competition. Boring, vanilla content doesn’t exactly inspire your readers to leave a comment.
- Write blog posts about comments you have received – Let people know that comments are important to you. Highlight how smart your readers are. Take some of that great content and expand on it or give your opinions in a new post. Letting your readers know that their comments are that important to you only encourages more commenting.
- Make it easy for people to leave comments – Oftentimes people want to leave a comment but when faced with a form with a dozen fields for them to fill out, they change their mind. Make leaving a comment on your blog as easy as possible. I would even recommend looking into services like DISQUS or Facebook Comments to see if that does anything to get your more comments on your posts.
- Are social media sites stealing your blog comments? – Maybe. Before if you had a blog and people wanted to react to it, they had to leave a comment. Now they can tweet what they think, leave a comment or share it on Facebook or repost and comment on LinkedIn etc. Lots of bloggers who have been in the game awhile now noticed a significant drop in blog comments since the rise in popularity of social media. If how much interaction your posts are getting is important to you… you should make sure you are monitoring social media sites for comments as well.
On leaving better blog comments…
- Expand on the conversation – If you are going to leave a comments be genuine, add value, be human and make sure you are expanding on the conversation. Use this opportunity to show the blog author and their readers how knowledgeable you are on this topic. Feel free to leave a link if it is to more information on that specific topic but don’t just add a link just to add a link. Your website will be linked from your name already (with most blog comment systems) so no need to add it again.
- Promote your network – For even more blog comment points, leave your comment showing how knowledgeable you are on this topic but then link to someone in your network who is the perfect person for them to connect with. Promote not only your knowledge but your network as well. Good juju all around.
- Post on social media sites that you left a comment – Give props to work well done AND to how smart you are by sending out a tweet or status update that says ‘Great post by Bob on Marketing over here www.thissite.com/blog/ I left a comment, what do you think?’.
- What would you say in person? – Some people know they want to leave a blog comment but don’t exactly know what to say. I tell them to pretend the blog they just read was the keynote at a conference or event – what would you go say to the speaker afterwords? Lots of people say ‘nice job’, ‘thank you’, ‘I totally agree’ but the people speakers remember most say things like ‘I loved your speech. I actually have written a paper specifically about one of the points you just made and our organization found…’ Those are the people that make a new connection with a leader in their industry.
- Make your blog comment stand out visually – My friend Marc A. Pitman wrote a blog post on formatting your name so it has your website. I thought that was a good idea. Also just like all web content, make sure you format your comment with spaces or lined items. Internet readers love to skim first and read second. Make your comment skim-able and find a way to break up long chunks of text.
- Do your homework – Want to comment on a blog you have never been to before? Do your homework. You should always review the comments other people have left on that post. You don’t want to be the 40th person to say the same thing. You also should take a peek at other posts, see how this community communicates with eachother.
- Your blog comments should be long enough – People ask me a lot how long their blog post should be. I think they should be longer than something you could just tweet but shorter than a blog post in itself. If you start writing a blog post and realize it’s length is getting out of hand, consider making your blog reaction a post in itself and linking back to the original source.
- Be there early – Your post is going to get more attention from the blog author and their readers if you are there first. Some blogs leave the newest comment at the top while others do it the other way around. Either way, more eyeballs on your early comment are better. If you have a great comment but you are the 50th person to comment, again think about writing a reaction blog post instead.
Blog comments for marketing…
- Build relationships with influencers – Leaving smart and helpful blog comments on influencers blogs is a great way to get some attention for you, your business and your knowledge. Take some time each week to leave comments on blogs that you respect. Let people know that you have a presence in that space too. Be kind but don’t always just agree with the author. Share some unique insight that you have that could make you stand out from the crowd.
- Direct traffic to your own blog – We have talked about it a few times already but in between the link in your name or a link you leave in a post with more information – you are giving people who may not of heard of you a reason to go to your website. Look at your website Analytics and see if any of the posts you are leaving are generating traffic to your website.
- Blog comments do NOT directly help your SEO – I hear this one a lot too. We know that inbound links to your site are good and helps you with your SEO. Most blog comments though are marked as ‘no follow’ links, which means they are not given the SEO juice you are looking for as a link to your website. What blog comments DOES is hopefully drives more traffic to your site, which is helpful. Also, the text words you leave are index-able by search engines. Someone could Google a term and find your blog comment as a search result. Also, someone could take your comment and update or write a new blog with their response and link to your website – now THAT is good for your SEO.
A Deeper Look at Blog Comments
Phew! That was a lot of information. Thanks again to everyone who made it to the webinar! And as usual, I would LOVE to hear from you on what you think about leaving blog comments as a marketing strategy and how you are trying to get more blog comments. Let me know in the comments!