Comments and How They can Make You More Successful (In Just 10 Minutes) – Part 2

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on November 01, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Social Media Marketing, Tips in 10

Today’s web is a social one. We’ve moved from media that is one-sided and static to media that is a dynamic conversation. Your blog is part of that and in the last article of Tips In Ten I showed you how to encourage more comments and what to do with them.

But getting comments is only part of the story. Commenting on other people’s blogs is also an important part of the conversation. You can’t expect people to comment on your blogs if you’re not commenting on other people’s blogs. (That’s not to say that the people whose blogs you’re commenting on will specifically be the ones to comment on yours, but the whole idea of getting people to comment on your blogs requires people to be commenting! So you should contribute to that, too).

So in article issue of Tips In Ten I’m going to show you how to easily comment on other blogs in just ten minutes a day and build up some valuable marketing “currency” while you’re doing it.

Leaving comments on other blogs

Commenting tools

In the last issue I mentioned CommentLuv and Disqus as commenting tools for your own site. However, they are also useful for you when you comment on other people’s sites. With a CommentLuv account your picture will show up when you post elsewhere, and with a Disqus Profile you can manage your comments across several sites really easily. Consider at least one of these tools, maybe both, since they are common commenting systems.

Commenting often

You should consider commenting on a couple of blogs each day. This gets you actively out there reading what other people are writing and it helps to get your name out there. But if you don’t do it right, you could end up spending your time searching for blogs to comment on and you’ll blow that ten minute target easily. (Trust me, I speak from experience). While browsing the web is fun, it can also be time consuming. So here’s what I would suggest:

Find 5 blogs that you love to read that fit the following parameters:

  • They need to be relevant to your subject matter
  • You need to have something valuable to contribute
  • It should be something read by your target market
  • They post a blog at least once a week (or perhaps more frequently).

Once you’ve chosen 5, bookmark them in a folder named: “Commenting” and rename them as follows:

  • Monday – [blogname]
  • Tuesday – [blogname]
  • Wednesday – [blogname]
  • Thursday – [blogname]
  • Friday – [blogname]

If you use an alphanumeric sorting bookmark system, like Delicious’ Firefox plug-in, you’ll want to name them something like 1 – Monday – [blogname]; 2 – Tuesday – [blogname], etc.

Also, you’ll want to bookmark another site like Alltop.com or Technorati, which are a source for many blogs.

Now here’s what you do:

On Monday, click to your Monday blog and read one of the posts that they’ve written since you were last there and comment on it. Then click to your multi-blog-source like Alltop or Technorati and pick a blog and read and comment. There, you’ve commented on two blogs and you’ve likely done it ten minutes; maybe less.

On Tuesday, do the same thing: Go to your Tuesday blog, read one of the blogs that they’ve written since you were last there and comment on it. Then click to your multi-blog-source and pick a blog and read and comment. Another ten minutes.

Do the same thing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. (Heck, why not take ten minutes each day on the weekend and do it Saturday an Sunday, too)

Depending on how fast of a reader you are and how long the blog posts are, you might even be able to pick 2 blogs from your multi-blog-source and comment on them. But don’t push yourself. Start with 2 a day and go from there.

At the end of the week, you’ll have at least 10 and possibly up to 15 blogs you’ve commented on. Five of them will be your regular community and another 5 to 10 will be new communities. By the end of the year, you’ll have commented on between 520 and 780 blogs by just spending 10 minutes a day from Monday to Friday. If you comment on 2 a day every day of the year, you’ll have commented on 730 by the end of the year, and 1,095 if you comment on 3 a day. That’s some significant contribution to the blogosphere.

Those comments not only give you good backlinks but also can mean potential traffic to your site. The likelihood of getting traffic to your site based on your comments is enhanced by…

Insightful comments

Not enough people leave comments and of those that do, many don’t leave insightful enough comments!

I would encourage you not to rush through the commenting process. You can do it well in ten minutes but don’t try to do it in less time than that! My recommendation here isn’t for you to hit a dozen blogs in a week with “Great post, Bob” or “I enjoyed your blog, Mary”. That’s not helpful. As a blogger, I love hearing that stuff, sure, but I enjoy it far more when I hear something that is more insightful, constructive, and participatory. If you want to compliment them on how good their post was, that’s fine, but be sure to follow it up with something else. Interact with what the post was about. You can talk a bit about yourself and what you do, just be careful not to overly promote yourself. A good blog comment might look like this:

“Great post, Bob. You’ve given me some really valuable ideas to think about in my work as a productivity coach. The insight I read here reminds me of a book I recently read called ‘The Power of Focus’ by Jack Canfield, which is something I recommend to my clients. Have you read it? It covers similar issues although Canfield approaches the concept of delegation slightly differently. Thanks again!”

“I enjoyed your blog about productivity, Mary! I’ve found the productivity rules you wrote about to be valuable tips that I share with the executives I’ve coached who were struggling with time management. Along with the tips you’ve shared here, I often also recommend that they track where their time goes.”

Something simple like that compliments the blogger, interacts with what they’ve just written about, and also helps to align you with them in some way or position you as someone who thinks along those lines, too.

It doesn’t have to take long but it should be more than just “thanks” or self-promotion. Add something to the conversation!

Additional tips

  • Sometimes the commenting software gives you the option to subscribe to replies. Because of how much I comment, I generally don’t subscribe to replies. That’s not to say I never do, but my comments are often like those I’ve written above and it’s not likely that someone will add additional comments after refuting my position. However, on a particularly controversial issue or if I’m participating in more of a multi-person discussion in a comment section of a blog, I will subscribe to replies. But if you’re posting a few hundred comments a year, you can fill your inbox pretty quickly with potential replies so I’d advise that you do it sparingly.
  • When you’re selecting who you should pick as your 5 main blogs to comment on, consider a blog that is an active blogger and commenter. I am less motivated to post a comment on a blog that has lots of comments but nothing from the owner. I am far more motivated to post a comment on a blog that has slightly fewer comments and active, prompt replies by the blog owner. This tells me that the blog owner is interested in building up a community and not just putting out content and ignoring it after that.
  • I like to comment on blogs that have anywhere from zero to 25 comments per post. Of course, if I have something to say, I’ll comment on the blog no matter how many comments there are, but if I’m going to be strategic about positioning myself, I find that I can give some good insight and not get lost in the onslaught of commenters if there are no more than 25 comments on a post. While lots of people are automatically attracted to the blogs with huge followers (and those bloggers obviously have good things to say and it’s okay to comment on those blogs), there are lots of hard-working bloggers who are coming up through the ranks who will likely be more communicative with their commenters. Think of it this way: You will probably make far more of a contribution and receive far higher benefit from commenting on a site that gets 10 comments – and being noticed – than you will by commenting on blogs that can get hundreds of comments. By findin g bloggers with zero to 25 comments per post, you are strategically getting your foot in the door of the successful bloggers of tomorrow rather than jumping on the bandwagon of the insanely popular bloggers of today.
  • If you get to the end of a blog post and you think the writer covered it well and you’re not sure what to write, don’t despair! Comb through the comments and find something that a commenter has written and respond to that.

So, now you have the tools and ideas to help you manage comments on your own blog and in this issue you read about how to comment like a pro on other blogs! Get commenting, help to build communities. When you grow other people’s comments, you will grow your own business!

Heather Recommends:

I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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