Commenting as a strategy for blog promotion
Read much about blog promotion and you’ll eventually encounter commenting as a strategy to increase your readership. The premise is that people will find your comment valuable and click on your link to visit your site.
However, I’ve been using a modified version with great success. Today I’m going to tell you my secret strategy that has brought the majority of my readers to my site.
Commenting is a discipline
Commenting consistently is a discipline and a necessary one if you want to succeed in building your own community. Like any discipline, it works best if you approach it with a strategy.
If you aren’t commenting on the blogs you are reading then you are just an outsider looking in. You only become part of the community when you start to comment. If you are promoting a blog, you WANT to become part of the community so you can get its attention.
The strategy I’m about to share has worked great for me! While my top two individual referrals are Twitter and Facebook (where I spend most of my day), the overwhelming majority of referrals are from my profile links on comments I have left on other blogs.
The typical commenting strategy
Note: In order to implement this strategy you have to have blogs that you are already following. If you aren’t subscribed to blogs in your niche, find some!
Ok, so let’s get started:
1. Identify blogs in your niche
Go through the list of blogs that you follow and pick those with the same or similar audiences you want to attract.
2. Pick blogs to intentionally comment on
The key here is to focus so you need to keep this number manageable. Too many and you will feel overwhelmed; too few and you won’t see enough results to stick with it. I find that between 10 to 15 sites works well for me. I also recommend picking blogs of varying degrees of success and longevity.
3. Group them together
Put all of the blogs that you are going to follow in one folder in your RSS reader. Move that folder to the top of the list. You don’t want it to be easy to ignore.
4. Check this folder regularly for new updates
Your goal is to be one of the first people who comment, so check this often. Don’t sweat it though, even if you’re not one of the first, leaving a valuable comment is still gold though I usually don’t contribute to comments once they exceed about 40-ish.
5. When a new post pops up, read it
Read the actual post. Do not try and guess what it said by skimming because you’re going to leave a valuable comment in the next step. That can only be accomplished by actually reading what was written.
6. Leave a valuable comment
The quicker you catch a post means the quicker you can comment. The quicker you can comment means the closer that your comment appears towards the top. And (here’s it is) the closer your comment appears towards the top ultimately means that more people will see it.
This isn’t called a strategy for nothing, folks!
I personally avoid putting links to my site in my actual comments. Instead, I let the link attached to my name do all the work. Doesn’t look so desperate.
IMPORTANT WARNING: Do not vomit out self promotion for the sake of leaving a comment! As Gary Vaynerchuk says, our BS radar is highly tuned so you’ll just look like a douche-bag if you do. Instead, respond to a specific point in the article. Leave an encouragement to the writer for something specific they taught you. Answer a specific question asked by the author. Remember, you want to actually contribute to the conversation.
Note: Remember back in step 2 I said to pick blogs of differing success and longevity? The reason is that blogs with smaller audiences will be easier to comment on and appear at the top. There may not be a ton of people reading it, but those that do are likely to click on your link just to see who else is commenting on that blog. I have more referrals from small to midsized blogs than I typically do from the larger ones. Obviously if you can get to the top of larger blogs, you just increase your visibility to a larger number of people…so that’s good too.
These steps probably look familiar with perhaps the exception of grouping them together in one folder and choosing different sized blogs. Just keep repeating steps 4 through 6. Also note that you will comment on posts that you come across organically that are not in your watch folder.
All of this is fine.
My rockstar strategy
You don’t want to be fine…you want to be a rockstar!
So, we’re going to go a little bit further.
7. Bookmark and tag your comment
After you leave your comment, bookmark that page with Delicious (or whatever you prefer) and tag it as COMMENT. This only adds a few seconds to the previous strategy but will be an invaluable tool in steps 9, 10, and 11!
8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 throughout the day
Your goal is to be seen so you need to be commenting. Set a goal for how often you will comment and then stay on top of this!
9. Review your comments
Once a day using your COMMENT tag, pull up all of your bookmarks in Delicious. You now can see at a quick glance where you’ve commented regardless of what commenting system those blogs used!
This is where you start playing the part of the rockstar.
Follow your bookmarked links back to your comments and review each one to see if anyone has responded to what you said. Hopefully you left great comments that caused some sort of interaction on some of the posts. (If not, you may need to work on your technique for Step 6.)
10. Respond where appropriate
If your comment was replied to and it is appropriate to respond, do so. That means answering a question that someone asked you or thanking someone for a response that you find especially useful. Don’t force a response where one is not needed because you’ll just come off as that creepy guy that stalks everyone and won’t shut up.
If you do this step well people will start viewing you as a valuable contributor to the community of that blog and eventually your niche as a whole (hence the whole rockstar thing).
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 daily
I never know when someone is going to respond so I usually keep checking back for about 2 weeks after I leave a comment. It takes less than 10 seconds to see if no one has responded so this is not a huge time drain. If there is something there though, you have a great opportunity to interact with someone.
Add these last these last five steps and you’ll need to wear a leather jacket and mirrored aviator sunglasses while commenting.
You should practice by leaving a comment on this post! (So smooth, aren’t I? Just like a Rockstar!)