My secret strategy to commenting like a rockstar

By David Crandall
Comment like a Rockstar!

Comment like this guy...J&B optional. (source: Tiagø Ribeiro)

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.

I do.

You should practice by leaving a comment on this post! (So smooth, aren’t I? Just like a Rockstar!)

  • First off, your method is awesome! When you first brought this to my attention, it blew my mind. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it or thought of it before because it is really quite obvious

    Yet, this post just proves (at least to me) there are new things to learn everyday…and not just new things, but astonishing new things that come from every vertical, experience level, etc. For example, I just watched the most recent Hubspot TV with Marcus Sheridan as a guest, and even though he said a lot of stuff that I already knew, he framed it in such a way that made me think, “Yeah, I really should be doing more of what he says.”

    Great post, David. Keep it up!

    • Eric, when I first mentioned in my email to you that I used this strategy, I didn’t realize that others were NOT doing it. Thank you for the encouragement to document what I’m doing. It’s a good eye-opener that some of the tools that I use might save others some time and heartache.

      You are right about new stuff to learn every day! I’d say it is by far my favorite past time now. Ha!

      Thanks again for the encouragement. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. Even though I of course got the email update about your reply to my comment, I still used Delicious to come back here to check other comments 😉

  • Great post! I recently established a strategy (last night at 11PM) where I would have my reader up with blogs I established as “people I want to comment on”. When something new comes up, it refreshes and I can see it just went live, so I can jump to it and add my insight high on the page.

    Well done on this sir – one of my favorite posts from you yet.

    • What can I say…great minds think alike. (I don’t care if it’s cliche!) 🙂

      I think I will try to focus on providing more tangible and practical tools like this as I go forward. I still will be chronicling my own journey so stories like that will appear, but these tools are part of it so I will be including them for others on the same journey. I hope to create more favorite posts for people as a result of giving them something they can actually use in their own life.

  • David, this is a gangster post. I actually just got to your website by clicking on a comment I saw on another website!

    Commenting is a strategy I tend to neglect due to countless internet distractions and my lack of attention span. Thanks for sharing your great strategy that I am going to take into immediate action. Great motivational article for me, Thanks!

    • Gotta say that you lend a fair amount of credibility to my post by saying you got here by the method I shared. Ha!

      I’d love to hear what kind of results you get by using this!

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  • Cue the Top Gun soundtrack, bro. This is great post, David! For some reason I’m not getting your blog posts. I think I’m on your e-mail list but I must not be subscribed. I don’t currently use “delicious” so I’ll consider that, too.

    Another thing you can do w/ the TWEEPS you follow is to set up some great lists to reference what your FAV’s are tweeting & posting about. There’s my two bits. Peace 🙂

    Oh, and Aug. 2nd is my date!

    • I just checked and it looks like it has you in my email subscriptions now so let me know if you don’t get it tomorrow. 🙂

      The Top Gun reference makes me laugh! My wife says I remind her of Val Kilmer from Top Gun right after I get my hair cut. (I’ll take that, thank you very much!)

      The idea about setting up Twitter lists is a good one. I actually pay more attention to my lists than my main stream now. Smart idea!

  • This is spot on. I’ve seen a direct correlation to the amount of comments I post, to the amount of traffic I get. I’ve been lax the past few weeks on my blog reading and commenting, and have noticed a HUGE difference. HUGE!

    The one thing that got me the most followers on my blog was hosting a blogfest. I attract writers to my blog, so I hosted a day where writers would post an excerpt of a kissing scene (Christmas/mistletoe time). I put a Mr. Linky in my post where people could add the link to their post and boom….I had close to 100 sign up. (and I had that and more sign up as followers) It was crazy.

    I will say I have been having some doubts as to the viability of my keeping up this blog schedule. Working full time and having a blog, plus commenting, etc has put a dent in my writing. (and yes, tv too!) If I am really wanting to write, shouldn’t I focus my time on THAT? It is such a balancing act, isn’t it?

    • I remember you doing the blogfest. I think that anything that involves the community you are a part of is smart! Hmm…wonder how I could use this. 🙂

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  • Commenting has been so valuable to me in my short career blogging. I use a few different techniques and not as hardcore as you (bookmarking them & such) but I’ve seriously found the majority of my readership through comments =)

    • Ya, I’m not sure if it is my commitment to excellence, a version of OCD, or a masochistic desire to tag every blog that I comment on, but I too have found a high percentage of readers through comments on other blogs.

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