One piece of advice we routinely give authors – after telling them they should have a blog – is to follow some good blogs on their topic/area of expertise, become familiar with them and join in the conversation with blog comments. Yet it’s probably one of the least followed pieces of advice.
I think it’s safe to say the major reason for avoiding blog commenting is feeling uncomfortable with, and uninformed about, the process. So, let’s take a look at what blog commenting entails, and why it’s worthwhile.
Plain and simple, blog commenting helps you build links back to your site and these inbound links are important for your Google Page Rank. The higher your rank, the higher up your blog and/or website will appear in search results. That means your chance of being discovered is greater. But it’s not worth taking time to comment on blogs if it’s only about your own gain. Instead, focus on the information you can share and the contacts you can make by commenting on blogs.
Some ideas to get started
For instance, if you’re a mystery author, why not network with like-minded authors via their blogs? Many mystery authors blog about writing, their inspiration, their books, writer’s conferences â€¦ all topics that lend themselves to commenting. Those relationships you build by becoming a regular can lead to guest blogging invitations, blog tour opportunities and so on.
If your topic is in the self-help arena, seek out others who use their blogs to inspire and share your own expertise. Invite them to guest blog for you. Don’t think of them as competitors, but as potential partners in marketing. Some may not want to help, but many may be willing to partner with you in some way.
Besides guest blogging, you can offer interviews, giveaways, do podcasts, book reviews and much more. Chances are if you provide these opportunities for others they will want to return the favor.
Regardless of your genre or area of expertise there are plenty of others blogging about your topic, and good bloggers welcome and encourage comments. Once you’ve established yourself as a regular you may see traffic increase on your own blog as that blogger – and many of his or her readers – start following your blog.
There are a few things to remember when blog commenting:
Profile: What does your profile look like? Many times we forget to check our profile and that mysteryauthor@gmail address may be fine for sending emails but does nothing to brand you when you’re leaving comments on blogs. Check the preview option before you publish so you can proofread your post and see what your profile looks like. Be transparent, and make it easy for people to learn who you are.
Controversy: While controversy isn’t always a bad thing, if there’s a hot button topic and you want to stir up the pot, make sure you’re ready to handle the heat that may result. Once you’ve hit the “send” button it’s too late! If you do decide to jump in, be sure to recheck your comment for responses (you may want to reply) and also keep track of activity on your own blog as the conversation may travel to your site. There’s nothing worse than someone who amps up the discussion only to be unavailable to respond to any follow-up comments and questions.
Sharing: Feel free to share your own experiences and tips. If you have something that is truly relevant to the topic, offer a comment and/or a related link to a good resource. However, do not go link crazy, your profile already offers a link back to your site. The point of commenting is not to load up links back to your site. You’ll just appear to be a spammer and could be blocked.
KISS: Keep it short and sweet; blog comments are not mini novels. If you truly feel there are myriad areas left to explore in an issue, offer a point on the blog, then invite people back to your site where you can dig further into the topic and seek other opinions.
Professionalism: Remember that you’re commenting online and anyone online may see your comment. Even momâ€¦ so make sure that whatever you write is consistent with the image you want to project.
Blog commenting can be a useful tool in your marketing efforts. Find some bloggers who strike a chord with your topic, genre or expertise and then jump in and join the conversation. Good luck!