Blog Commenting: Smart PR or Shameless Self-Promotion?

Microphones At Press Conference

In the mad, mad, mad, mad world of blog promotion, leaving comments on other blogs tops most recommended-tactics lists, yet the “Smart Public Relations” — “Shameless Self-Promotion” debate drags on. With the launch of another IComLeavWe, many bloggers may be wondering, “Is this worth it? Am I helping or hurting my blog by slathering comments all over the comments sections of fellow bloggers?” The answer to that question is a definitive, “It depends.”

To be specific, it depends upon (at least) four things:

Does my comment contribute value?

If you’re rushing around just to get a check in your I-left-X-number-of-comments-today box, then you might be wasting your time (and the time of the blogger who must choose whether or not to approve or delete your remark). Before you scrawl your blog address into a comment area in hopes of getting link love (which depends on whether or not the blog allows backlinks from commenters) or having a horde of new visitors to your little corner of the blogosphere, first of all — read the post you’re about to comment on. Yes, read it. Do you have something relevant to say? Something that will be useful to the other readers or uplifting to the blogger? Great. Type it in. If not, keep your keyboard shut. Think: Thumper of Bambi fame — “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

It’s not that the words “Nice post” aren’t nice, but they aren’t helpful or important. The whole point of developing a commenting-posting strategy for promotion is to get noticed. “Nice post” comments (and the like) are lost in the sea of relevant comments. Put forth a bit of effort and contribute to the comments section with an insightful response and you’ll make the blogger smile and get the attention of other readers.

Does my comment contribute to the discussion?

You’ve probably witnessed this. A string of comments follows a particular topic and then someone tosses in an I-like-turtles comment that totally throws the group off guard. Most readers will say, “Huh?” and think the rogue commenter is weird and move on. Not the best way to build your online brand or reputation. Interact. Engage in the conversation at hand. If not, you guessed it, leave quietly.

Is my comment relevant to the community?

I’ve been the “new kid” at school. We probably all have been the newbie at least one time in our lives. Breaking into a new clique of friends is tough. But attempting to force your square-pegged self into a round hole is tougher. Smoothe your corners. Adapt to the environment you’re visiting. Practice “when-in-Rome” protocol. Some commenters barge into a blog like the proverbial elephant in a China closet and disrupt the atmosphere. Not a very Dale-Carnegie-ish method of winning friends or influencing people.

Does my comment take advantage of the situation?

There are several reasons to leave blog comments — the most important of which is to be friendly, a.k.a. “social” — blogging is a form of social media after all. But since you’re already visiting, poised to comment, take full advantage of your surroundings. You’ve likely selected this particular blog to post on because either (a) it came up in a search engine result and you thought it was interesting; (b) the blog was recommended to you by a friend or fellow blogger; 0r (c) the blog was on a blogroll or list of another blog you like. No matter which path brought you here — the point is, there’s a high possibilitity the blog is part of your niche or target audience. This is your chance to shine without blinding. Be relevant, engaging, and respectful of the community, and you’ll likely make some new friends and hopefully develop some new readers. Rinse and repeat regularly, combine with other blog promo tactics, and soon you’ll see your community grow.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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#1 Robin on 12.22.09 at 9:04 am

Thank you. I have actually been asking myself this exact question over the last couple of days. And fortunately, at least according to your article, I’m going about it the right way. And a plus – I am actually finding great blogs that are what I’m interested in and have already found a couple of people I want to “keep tabs” on because something they wrote moved me. So it’s a two-way street: you go out to find love for yourself and you end up finding someone to love.

Thanks. This is a great site.

#2 Linda Fulkerson on 12.22.09 at 9:09 am

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Wendy & Robin!

From what I’m learning, there are two words that pretty much sum up the entire blogosphere: Relevance and Relationships. If we bloggers do everything with those two things in mind, our blogs will do well.

#3 lily ashley on 12.22.09 at 2:21 pm

thank you for the post, it was helpful and interesting

#4 Linda Fulkerson on 12.22.09 at 2:25 pm

Hi Lily,
Thanks for stopping by On Blogging Well & taking the time to comment! — Linda

#5 Gabby on 12.23.09 at 6:55 am

thanks for stopping by my blog – looks like you’ve got some interesting, thought-provoking content. i already enjoy Seth, so i’ll take some time to read your blog!


#6 Linda Fulkerson on 12.23.09 at 7:01 am

Hi Gabby!
Thanks for stopping by! Good to meet a fellow Godin fan!

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