Blog Comments as Strategy — 10 Tips Every Blogger Should Know
Most bloggers rarely pay attention to blog comments because they are just part of the blogs that are there all the time. For them, comments are just features. Others hate comments witha passion because of the amount of blog comment spam they receive on a regular basis.
Why should bloggers pay attention to just another detail, while there are presumably other more important things to handle, such as content, promotion, and so on?
In order to answer this question, you should be clear about your intention and purpose with blogging. For some people, it is to get their messages out. Others would like to be able to build a community of people who are supportive and become fans of their products or services.
Only after that, you know what steps should you take to achieve what you want. For instance, BBU disables blog commenting for various reasons.
Others may disagree, but this strategy works well for me. That doesn’t mean that I discourage the use of comments and block any feedback. The fact is exactly the opposite.
I’d encourage people to use the forum if the answer to a question can benefit other people as well. It’s called leverage. And when someone takes the time to get in touch with me, I always answer it personally.
In my other blogs, I use comment feature to get in touch with my blog readers. The situation is different and I apply different strategies for them accordingly.
The Role of Blog Comments in Blogging
Blog comment, as simple as it sounds and looks, is a really powerful tool. It is one of the things that makes a blog different from a typical web site.
A traditional web site used to be a broadcast medium. The owner or webmaster delivers whatever content s/he wishes, and the readers consume it. If they want to get back to the publisher, they have to go through the contact form and most likely messages gone unseen.
Blog comments are different though. When someone leaves a comment, it is available for everyone to see and respond to. If a comment needs the blogger’s attention, and if that may impact his brand, he’d better respond and address that accordingly.
It may take a whole book to cover everything about blog comments, including examples. Businesses and individuals may hurt their brands if they are not careful about their communication. Reaching out, either through the media or via blog comments, is still a contact with your audience.
As a blogger, you should really see it from two perspective:
- Blog comments as a way to build community. Your blog post is conversation starter. If the readers feel they have something to disagree with, or add to the conversation, they will leave messages or comments if they feel that you are listening. And only if they feel you encourage it. According to a study by Jacob Nielsen in 2006, 90 percent of web users — not specifically blog readers — are lurkers. Nine percent of people are intermittent contributors and only one percent of them are heavy contributors. By encouraging participation, you’ve taken your audience to the next level. Your ultimate goal would be to turn them into evangelists of your company or products.
- Blog comments as a way to extend your reach. While the comments area on your blog is a mechanism for your readers to submit feedback and reach back to you, you can use other bloggers’ comments area as a way to extend your reach, both their existing readers and the bloggers.
Top 5 Tips to Get More Comments on Your Blog
Nowadays bloggers and site owners work extra hard to drive traffic to their web properties. Just because you create content doesn’t mean that people will come in drove.
After the prospective readers arrive, you may want to keep them as long as possible. With good quality content and the right MWR (most wanted response) hopefully they subscribe to your email newsletter or RSS feed so you have the chance to reach them again and ask them to come back.
Getting a lurker out of his silence is the next step that may potentially establish a bond between the readers and you. For a business blog, this is critical because people only purchase from others who they know, like and trust.
And as part of the community, they automatically sense ownership. That takes time to develop, but here are top 5 tips to get you started:
- Ask questions. Show that you are listening. Asking questions shows that you care. It communicates to the audience that instead of using your blog just as another broadcasting mechanism, you want them to be active in talking back.
- Participate. Nothing turns of a reader more than leaving a comment expecting the blogger to answer, just to find that she neglects every single comment. Certainly it is not possible to reply to every single request, but at least if you enable comments, you should do your best to participate and make yourself available for reach.
- Be humble. An authority blogger is also human being. Having weakness is not only unavoidable, it also shows to the audience that you are just like them. Conveying personality is another key component that makes blogging so different than corporate speaking web site. And by being humble, showing the gaps in your skills and weaknesses, you’ll be surprised that your readers actually care about you in a way that you never realize before.
- Leave room for questions and comments. If you cover the whole enchilada in one post, there is nothing left for the readers to expound or rebut. Leaving an open ended discussion at the end of a post encourage readers to leave messages on your blog.
- Be controversial. This requires skills to carry out well. Making mistakes while trying to be controversial may hurt you so be careful about it. The thing with controversy is that not only your supporters will listen to what you have to say (or write), but also those who disagree with you can’t wait to read what you have to blog about next just to leave comments. If you have a reason to be bold, that will be a great publicity for you and your blog.
Top 5 Networking Tips with Blog Comments
Networking can be a challenging activity online, mostly because people are strangers to each other. Everyone is busy and it is hard to break the ice, not to mention about building relationships.
It is a lot different from a Chamber event. When you go there, you can just introduce yourself and talk to everybody because when they are there, most likely they are open to networking.
Blog commenting provides an opportunity for bloggers to reach out to their peers. (By blog comments, I refer to the actual comments and pingbacks / trackbacks.)
Personally, I have encountered thousands of blogs and met many new bloggers through comments on my blog and other people’s blog. That certainly is a great way to reach out and make others become aware about your brand.
If you are looking forward to extend your network with blog comments, these top 5 tips may be of help:
- Focus on quality instead of quantity. No one is going to click and visit your blog or find more about your if all you’ve ever leaved on a blog is “thank you!” or “me too!” message. Leave insightful comments. Show that you are someone who knows what you are talking about. The readers will notice. That makes them eager to know what you have to say more. Click, it results in a visit to your blog.
- Don’t be hesistant to start small. If you only have 100 RSS subscribers at the moment, perhaps it is hard to get attention from the authority bloggers unless you are able to contribute really good content and help them out. Find other bloggers who are at your level, and network with them. Relationship is for the long haul. Who knows what you are going to get out of it a few years later.
- Speed matters. If you really want to get attention of a blogger, being the first — or one of the first — to comment makes them notice your name and remembers you better.
- Take it off blog. Email, instant messaging, Twitter and other tools are designed for more effective communication. Blogs are great for conversation starters.
- Don’t rush it. A lot of bloggers try to take the shortcut. I’m partly guilty for this too. Pitching your web site or blog on the first contact is like proposing marriage on your first date. Everyone has an agenda, but if you build your network from now, you will have people who are able to help you when you need them later.
Albeit simple, there is a whole strategy involved in using blog comments to network and/or build community with and within your blog.
That just makes sense because with so many blogs out there, and only so many hours a day, you have to decide where you want to go and plan carefully so you don’t waste your time.
Many bloggers randomly post comments on blogs hoping that people who read may click through and go to their blog. Others find blogs with dofollow in their comments to pass search engine juice. While both of those are valid tactics, at the end of the day, you may be able to get more traffic and loyal followers / readers if a blogger promotes your blog to their audience directly in one of his posts.
This doesn’t mean that other methods are ineffective, just that you should pick what you want to do to accomplish your goal effectively and stick with it. A big challenge lies in finishing what you have already started.
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