How to Use Blog Commenting as a Networking Superweapon

social media how toWhen it comes to driving awareness through social media channels, most marketers think about using tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos to reach key audiences.

But very few think of leaving a comment on a blog as a strategy to driving awareness—and potentially, down the road, garnering leads.

Wait, how can leaving a comment on a blog drive awareness (or leads) for your brand? You might be surprised at how effective this strategy can be, given the right circumstances. B2B organizations, for example, are often positioned well to capitalize on this approach based on their need to establish themselves as thought leaders on various topics.

But, before we get to the “how,” let’s talk a bit more about the “why.”

Why Comments as a Strategy

Think about the leading business blogs. Take the Harvard Business Review (HBR) blogs, for example. The traffic on those HBR blogs is pretty heavy, right? According to a simple Compete.com query, the main HBR blog site had more than 330,000 unique visitors in March 2010 (its highest point during the year). That’s some serious traffic.

More importantly, if you’re interested in the kind of people who are disposed to read HBR (and let’s face it, many companies are), it can be the right traffic for your organization or clients.

Sure, the HBR blogger builds credibility and thought leadership with the 330,000-plus eyeballs that are reading the initial post—but so can you (to an extent) with a thoughtful perspective in the comment stream. In effect, what I’m saying is you can raise visibility and awareness for you and your company by commenting on well-read industry blogs like HBR regularly.

A blog commenting strategy can also serve as a solid foundation for future blogger outreach “campaigns.” By commenting regularly on blogs that you’ll be targeting in future blogger outreach campaigns, you’re building trust and credibility with bloggers that will pay off down the line.

Take that concept one step further for a moment: What about using a blog comment strategy as a way to open the door to guest posts on targeted blogs that your customers may be reading on a regular basis?

Personally, I’ve done this a few times in the past with success. Namely with Gini Dietrich and Danny Brown—two bloggers (and now friends) who are very heavily read in the digital PR industry (and, more importantly, blogs I know some of my clients are reading).

Bottom line: Don’t sell a thoughtful blog comment short—it takes time and energy to produce an insightful comment. And bloggers know that—and they’ll take notice.

Now that we know a blog comment strategy is a viable potential tactic to increase online visibility and awareness, how do you go about developing such an approach? Follow these seven simple steps and you’ll be up and running in no time:

#1: Research and identify the blogs your customers are reading

Start culling the list by using tools like Alltop, Technorati and PostRank. Or, just do some good old-fashioned Google searches. And, once you find a few industry-leading blogs, don’t forget to review their blogrolls. They’re usually full of other blogs your customers are reading.

Finally, why not use Twitter to crowdsource your blog list? For example, tweet “What are 3 blogs in your Reader that you simply couldn’t live without?” This tactic might give you a nice mix to add to the list.

#2: Organize for daily consumption

To track and follow these blogs daily/weekly, you’re going to need a system—a methodical process for scanning new posts and identifying comment opportunities. The best tool? A “reader.” Most folks use Google Reader—but not me. I religiously use Feedly. It’s a bit less “geeky” than Google Reader and is organized more like an online magazine for blogs. What I love most about Feedly is the customization—group blogs by topic, browse by most recent posts or review in “cover” mode. Whatever suits your fancy.

feedly

Feedly is a less geeky alternative to Google Reader for monitoring blogs regularly.

#3: Track and monitor bloggers via Twitter lists

Yes, you want to comment on these blogs, but you also want to monitor the bloggers’ other online behavior, including Twitter. By building specific Twitter lists, you can easily scan and see what these folks are talking about and sharing on a daily basis. Check it once a day—just enough to give you some insight into the way they think and what they’re talking about. Respond or retweeet a few of these bloggers’ posts (and leave a few comments), and believe me, they’ll notice and remember you.

twitter lists

By using Twitter lists you can track and follow what bloggers are sharing and commenting on daily.

#4: Get to know the bloggers

Spend about two weeks reading the bloggers’ posts and getting to know their style and the topics they like to write about. I say two weeks (seems like a lot, I know) because not everyone blogs every day like Jay Baer or Darren Rowse. Some people are actually human (in case you didn’t catch that, this is a compliment to Jay and Darren) and only blog 2-3 times per week. In that case, you’ll need to read a few posts to get a better sense of their blogs.

#5: Provide insightful comments

Sure, this might seem obvious, but there are a few tricks to the comment trade:

  • Add one piece of useful information. Instead of focusing on adding too much—concentrate on just delivering one super-useful contribution to the post. Specifically, look to add one quality piece of content to the frequent “list posts” we see so many of online these days.
  • Play devil’s advocate. One of the common refrains we hear is there is too much agreement among bloggers. Take a contrarian stance. Offer a substantiated argument, backed by facts and data. More often than not, you’ll be seen as guiding a constructive conversation about the topic at hand.
  • Get personal. Don’t be afraid to share a personal story or anecdote as a way of highlighting your point. Be sure to make it relatable, interesting and when possible, poignant.

#6: Leave a digital “breadcrumb”

Don’t go overboard here. Just a Twitter handle will often suffice. If you’re not on Twitter, use your blog/site URL. What you want to avoid is being too aggressive. No links back to your site (unless it’s extremely relevant). No language saying readers should follow you on Twitter. Your comment should stand on its own merits—just leave readers a way to get back to your blog/site.

#7: Follow up with an “ask”

If the goal of your blog commenting strategy is to obtain guest posts, this is obviously a critical step. In the past, I’ve found this to be a great way to broker a guest post on different blogs (a client of mine secured a guest post on Jay Baer’s blog this way). Read the blogger for a few weeks. Share a number of posts on Twitter. Leave a few well-thought-out comments. Then do your asking. You’ve established that you’ve taken the time to leave comments and share their content on Twitter.

By this time, the blogger should recognize you (as much as anyone can “recognize” someone online). If you approach the blogger with a thoughtful request and a solid rationale, it makes it difficult for him or her to say no. Then, all you have to do is follow through on that promise and deliver extremely compelling content.

What about you? Have you implemented a blog commenting strategy in the past? What steps would you add to this list? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Arik Hanson

Arik Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications firm based in Minneapolis that drives digital relevance and builds measurable growth through social channels. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

    Yes. I have a blog commenting strategy. A system is required otherwise you’re commenting at random and have a high chance to get random results, or little payoff.

  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    Excellent post Arik.

    As far as I’m concerned commenting finishes the pie, using your tips above any newbie blogger or new business blogger can easily attack the commenting game and escalate their blogs success. The only issue I see long term with blog commenting as a weapon is that sooner or later bloggers will get tired of the spam.

  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    Arik..blogging commenting is an awesome tool once you get it setup and having an plan in place…I tons of traffic from blog commenting everyday because of my consisting commenting strategy.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Like most things online, without process and a systematized approach, you’ll never achieve the results you really want.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    What does your strategy entail? Mind sharing–at least from a broad perspective?

  • http://twitter.com/DanBerkovitz Dan Berkovitz

    I’m glad you wrote about this. On most blog’s where I can enter my name or openid is working properly, I save my name as my name and what I do, i.e. Dan Berkovitz – Miami Industrial Property Specialist. I think this is also something important that would be useful for people commenting.

  • http://www.irisemedia.com iRISEmedia
  • http://twitter.com/vernongirl Courtenay Pitcher

    Arik: thanks for these ideas. There are at least two other great benefits from networking online:

    1) Traffic/Search engine optimization: I have commented often on SocialMediaExaminer and other great blogs and have received traffic to my blog which I track daily through Google Analytics reports that come directly to my inbox in a .pdf report (and it’s free). The experts at WordTracker.com also say that they comment on daily local news sites because these links back to their site help improve their search engine rank on Google.

    2) Ideas: When I read blogs, I get ideas for writing my own posts too. When that happens, I like to give credit for the idea back in the form of a link. That type of link reciprocation also builds good will. For example, Michael Stelzner wrote about “the best gift ever” in a recent post, so I’m publishing a story in the next few days about how my family survived a fire. (Thanks Michael.)

    Happy New Year! Courtenay

  • DavidPylyp

    Any topic that interests me for reading is worthy of a comment. I liked your add a twitter @davidpylyp line. What I didn’t see is the Google Keyword Strategy that the responder is trying to develop. I have been tagging every post with Living in Toronto. The keyword feedback from Google has landed me a top spot for real estate based site on that phrase.

    It is a changing marketplace, to engage, interest and communicate with a new audience. I love to embed video assuming the viewer is at work and without speakers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_A2jY6-rRo

    David Pylyp
    Love Living in Toronto

  • http://www.courtneyengle.com/ Courtney Engle Robertson

    Not only are the reasons listed great, but services like @Disqus make commenting so much more robust than that. All the trackbacks, and sharing comments across networks shows quite the map of how the post is spread.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    I have a great example of WHY you should comment. Two years ago the small business columnist at USA Today wrote a column titled, “Should Entrepreneurs Tweet? NO!”

    He had four reasons why business leaders should not tweet and they were all bogus. So I carefully crafted a response and gave him four counter points as to why business leaders should tweet.

    He called me a couple of days later and asked me a bunch of questions and then asked if we could go on the record. UM, YES!

    He’s quoted me not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, but five times in the past two years in USA Today. And he’s become a friend.

    All from one comment on one article. Not only will you create traffic to your own blog, you will develop new friends, create a new network, and possibly be featured on A-list blogs or in major news media.

    To your point, commenting on blogs and articles is a great, no-cost, little effort media relations campaign. It works better than any kind of media relations I’ve seen in my career lifetime (which, let’s be real, is only really five years).

    And thanks for the little ego boost on Spin Sucks.

  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    Nothing too fancy, but I followed 50 blogs this past year..and interactive with the communities each day by leaving comments and more. Then the I owners and I becomes friends because I’m so helpful..then I’m able to do guests posting and interviews and more..all from leaving great helpful comments..yes it takes work..but its worth it.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.district52.org mgilstrap19

    Arik,
    Thank you for your great insight to comments and Blogging. I always learn so much from your posts. I found your site around 6-8 months ago and I learn more every time I come. Just started a Blog myself, and I’m still finding my feet. I refer people to your site all the time as a great place to learn many things about social media.
    Michelle

  • http://www.district52.org mgilstrap19

    Arik,
    Thank you for all that you share. Many times when I come to your site, I learn new and wonderful insights for social media. I teach basic training for Toastmasters on social media usage and I recommend your site as one they should bookmark for constant learning. I recently started a Blog on WordPress and I’m finding my legs and appreciate all that you do.

  • http://twitter.com/socialrobinson Nick Robinson

    Commenting is surely a powerful tool for establishing relationships and increasing awareness. It’s a critical element to a blogger outreach strategy. I worked for an SEO agency, and blogger outreach was pretty much the cornerstone of every client’s link building campaign. Awesome post, and I am actually going to start documenting blog commenting as part of my overall social media strategy.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Thanks for the note, Nick. Great point about blogger outreach as a link-building strategy for clients.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Wonderful! And thanks for sharing my blog. I’m glad you find the content useful. As you start your blog, please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    That’s a fantastic story, Gini, and a testament to the power of blog commenting. I have a friend who said he’s receive a number of leads from a well-thought-out comment strategy on traditional PR and advertising blogs (the biggies). So, this kind of approach can lead to actual leads, business-wise.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Great, glad it’s working out. Like you said, it does take time and effort. But, the rewards can be substantial.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    Great points, Arik. So many bloggers bypass how important comments are, and look elsewhere, that I often wonder why they even blog.

    You can often find out a lot more about the blogger through their comments (both on their own blog and elsewhere), than you can in the post itself. How they interact, how they react to criticism, how they build from other points of view – that goes a long way to determining of we use a blogger for an outreach program. More bloggers could take heed from your post. :)

  • http://joshuaopinion.com Josh Opinion

    @Arik- how would you suggest brands can engage on comments on blogs without seeming intrusive, especially if the blogger is doing a review or mentioning a brand or a competing service/product?

  • jonmikelbailey

    It’s always interesting to me when my clients find this so strategy so odd when I suggest it to them. They often think that commenting is limited to a select group of experts or something. I always tell them that if you can constructively add to or reinforce the message (and even if you disagree) that it will help you in many ways. Your breakdown here is quite useful and I will certainly pass this along to Wood Street’s clients.

  • http://www.mulawka.com Brian Mulawka

    I’m a little surprised you didn’t mention anything about checking sites to see if they use the ‘nofollow’ tag for commenters (as this site, surprisingly, does). If you’re looking to generate leads and traffic to your own site, I’d argue that you should focus on sites that allow search engines to include links back to your own site as a higher priority than sites that do not (as a way to improve your site’s search engine ranking).

  • LucidGal

    This does work and I tend to be choosy about which blogs I read (like this one) and comment on. Readers–and commenters–welcome on mine, as well. http://www.getlucid.net/blog/

  • http://vigilantinc.com Sphillips

    I like the idea of leaving comments on blogs. This is something I hadn’t really considered before so thank you for highlighting this.

    I have a somewhat related question to blogging. We have two company blogs (one fairly established and one pretty new) and they are constantly being hit with spam (a problem I am sure many people have). We monitor all comments so they aren’t published, but how can we get useful, relevant REAL PEOPLE commenting on our blogs and not just spammers? Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!

  • Morgan

    Great post! Comment marketing is a great way to get noticed as the authority within your specialization. If I see the same commenters over and over, I’ll go to their blog and comment as well to get to know them. It’s not only a good marketing strategy, but you’re getting to know your fellow bloggers.

    I am also surprised to hear so many people just refuse to simply ‘ask’. It never hurts to ask! What’s the worst that can happen, they say no? :)

  • http://accidental-hr.com Performance Coach

    I’m surprised to hear that this site uses a ‘nofollow’ tag, and I agree that I would also want to comment on sites that allow search engines to include links back to my site rather than those that don’t.

    I’m sure I’ve read how to know if a site is ‘nofollow’ or not, but could you please share how you determine that information?

  • http://www.mulawka.com Brian Mulawka

    There are a few ways to check this, but if you use Firefox the easiest way is to get the ‘NoDoFollow’ addin (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5687/). When turned on, it highlights all the links on a web page that are masked from search engines with the ‘nofollow’ tag.

  • http://www.youreverythingservices.com/ Deb Lamb

    Thank you Arik for such informative and useful information!

    I know how important it is to leave a valuable comment, however, I have never given any thought to having a blog commenting strategy…until now. This is something I will begin implementing right away.

    Another great tool to monitor and track blogs you’d like to follow: Regator. You can set up keywords of your liking and choose specific blogs to follow.

    Thank you for great information!

    Deb :)
    Ghostwriter

  • http://mymarketer.net Paul W.

    @Brian Mulawka, I have to disagree with you. The point of Arik’s article isn’t about comment link building, it is about relationship building. As we can see from Gini’s comment she gained much more than a backlink by interacting with the USA Today Journalist. Instead of getting a measly comment backlink she received five direct links from an A-list site. To me this is so much more valuable.

    I have also found that writing a post on my blog about the article I am going to comment on–and provide a link to my post in my comment–entices the blog author to come check out my blog and interact on my site (which builds creditability with my own readers).

    Thanks Arik for the great article! I believe you are teaching a philosophy the blog gods readily agree with. Unfortunately, the blog gods and the seo gods seem to always be at war with each other concerning the purpose of commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/Wisconsinmade Cristie

    I have been commenting on blogs for a while and I have found it useful, but I like your systematic approach, I will be sure to try it.

    I also want to see if anyone else has anything to say about Josh Opinions question: How does a company blog without seeming intrusive? I blog/tweet/comment on behalf of the company I work for and I generally follow the obvious rule that I only comment on relevant topics/blogs. Are there anymore “rules” or general etiquette to follow?

    Also to Spinners comment about the spammers, I get a ton of these on my blog too! My coworker says to post them as long as the comments aren’t to bizarre, offensive, or in another language…because they are just Social Media professionals like us. But really? “Cheap Designer Handbags” commenting on my food blog seems like spamming to me. Any tips on getting more “real people” comments?

  • Mjenson

    Great stuff as always Arik. Sound advice and a great approach to driving awareness and potential leads. I’m a big believer in learning and clearly using blog commenting is a great way to learn something new. Thanks for sharing and the comments are great also. Here’s to a great 2011 for everyone in the blogging world.

  • http://www.sproutsocial.com/insights Don Power

    Hi Arik.

    The comment strategy that I’ve developed for the Sprout Social: Insights blog is to solicit comments from others. I encourage comments by featuring 4 commentors every Friday – with an excerpt of their comment, a comment of my own explaining the context and lost of links back to the commentor’s website, Twitter and original comment.

    I call this feature #FANFRIDAY. Follow the link on my profile here, keave a comment on any post and you might get featured too!

    Thanks!

    Don Power
    Managing Editor
    Sprout Social: Insights Blog

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned CommentLuv yet. It makes it very simple to find the other CommentLuv blogs in any niche because it provides a way to share a blog post or any specific page on your site. I have an old post where I measured the effects of commenting in CommentLuv blogs. If someone wants to see the stats the title of the post is Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy. (I’d provide the link but I don’t know if SME would object.)

    I updated that post later because Google Analytics default view (which compares the most recent 30 days to the previous 30 days) later showed traffic was up 76.63% after I went commenting. (Some CommentLuv users call it “blog walking”.

    With CommentLuv bloggers find each other. You’ll see the same bloggers commenting in the same types of blogs because whenever you follow one of their comments you find more blogs. Eventually the commentators know each other. It is unusual for me to find a blog where I don’t already know some of the commentators.

    Because I regularly search for them I sometimes come across a new CommentLuv community separate from the ones I already know. By commenting in their blogs their community gets connected with those I already know. Many bloggers know this so the CommentLuv communities grow rapidly.

    The Social Media, Internet Marketing and Blogging Tips community are very strong and eventually I believe those bloggers will start geo-targeted group blogs in specific niches and build strong CommentLuv communities in more and more important niches. (See my post Bloggers Position Yourself Where the Money Is for details on where I see that going.)

  • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Justin Germino

    Not just comment love, but BlogEngage and BloggerLuv are also other networks to find bloggers and blogs to comment drop on, though ComLuv. I also use DoFollow.info to find dofollow blogs if I am looking to build dofollow backlinks though it isn’t heavily populated there are some good blogs listed in it now.

  • Ian Gertler

    Absolutely strategic and smart … the one thing I think we always need to remember is the foundation of most successful social media (and any interaction today): authenticity! I’ve seen so many people post merely for gaining exposure or taking advantage of the channel rather than offering something of value. While there’s no law against doing this, it manipulates “blog comment etiquette” and best practices — in my opinion. When done appropriately, it creates a mutually-beneficial opportunity for all. Just saying … best wishes to all of you for 2011!

    @IanGertler

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com jlbraaten

    This is brilliant, Arik. Likes and RTs are a simple way to extend the reach of a particular blog post, but commenting can extend the depth and engagement of a blog post. As a blogger, I love RTs and Likes but reserve an even more special spot in my heart for commenters.

    I stumbled upon your strategy on my own by accident a while back. I religiously left comments on a blogger’s site within my niche. After a while, he started responding to me individually. Now he tweets links to my blog, creating a flood of traffic in the process.

    Your outreach strategy through commenting is one of the best kept secrets in social media if you ask me.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Good point! I’ve written about the benefits of CommentLuv for everyone.

    The blog owner can quickly see what the latest post is by someone who just commented on their site, thus making it more likely they are going to view that post and comment there, expanding their network.

    Someone reading the blog post can learn about the blog’s community based on the latest posts left behind in the comments and may visit those posts as well since many people who comment on a particular topic are writing about it themselves.

    And of course, the commenter gets a chance to leave one of their posts behind as a part of the discussion, which helps get them some additional exposure as well. I can attest that I have seen names linking to blogs and thought nothing about visiting those links, but I have clicked on a lot of CommentLuv links because the post title intrigued me.

    So, all in all, it create a better experience and community within the comments of a blog post.

  • Diane Onlinefabricstore

    I have found the comment idea very successful in building credibility and to grow my own list. What I will add is the tremendous amount of time it takes to cull out those blogs that are worthy of a comment and to then establish a relationship. But no social media tactic is easy so I just plug along and am seeing results, slowly but am seeing them.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Cool Courtenay!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Brian,

    We use whatever the defaults are for WordPress and Disqus. However from my previous blog I can share from experience that when I did not have no follow, 90 percent of comments were hollow marketing attempts or spam messages

  • http://twitter.com/r_welton Robert Welton

    This is a great tool and engages you in other trains of thought other than your own. Good summary to follow-
    rlw

  • http://www.mulawka.com Brian Mulawka

    @ Paul W. Are you suggesting it’s not even worth checking for ‘nofollow’s? I guess I should have made it clearer that I agree with all the tips in the original post, but would add that link building should be considered when developing a commenting strategy.

  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    Hi Arik, thanks for these 7 golden steps.

    I like to add to #3: I use paper.li to create online newspapers out of my twitter lists.

    This has two advantages:

    1. it’s an easy way to share the lists in a nice layout with others and

    2. It is a nice way for me to monitor the content that is shared by people I follow.

    I read these twitter newspapers and when I stumble upon something interesting I open the post and might leave a comment (but only if I feel I can add value)

    - Juan.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Two great additional benefits. Thanks for adding your thoughts Courtenay!

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    First, the name’s Arik, Mr. Brown. Damn, here and I thought we were friends :) Great point on the blogger outreach front. So good, in fact, I might start building that piece into my process. How do you track? Through the tool (DISQUS/LiveFyre)?

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Make sure the brand rep doesn’t make it all about the brand. I think brands/orgs get too hung up on thinking only about their product or service. Just look to add value–remember, people are looking for brands/orgs that are human. Not robots that only spit out marketing speak. Especially in the comment sections on blogs.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    I assume my check will be in the mail then, Jon-Mikel :) On a serious note, I’ve run into similar challenges. Mostly on the time commitment front. I think it’s a matter of making it easy for them (more process) and framing it up in their terms–not ours.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    First, if you’re not using Akismet as a SPAM filter, do that now. In order to get real conversations on your blog, you have to put in some good old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears. Comment on other people’s blogs in your industry/niche. Promote their posts. Look to help other bloggers. Be an active contributor to the community. It takes time, but the results will come. Also, make sure you’re merchandising your content in areas where your community lives. That might be Twitter–but it might also be LinkedIn. And, finally, make sure you’re actually asking for comments. As you see on SME, make sure you’re ending each post with a question. Ask for feedback directly!

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Thanks for the comment, Deb. And, thanks for the tool reco. Looking into that right now.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    It’s a challenge we all face, as bloggers. The balance between content and SEO is a fine one. And, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I tend to lean pretty heavily toward the content/relationship side, but SEO tactics definitely have a role. No question about that. You just can’t rely too heavily on them, that’s all.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    See my response to Sphillips above for ideas on getting more “real” comments on your blog(s).

    As for the question about “rules”, I tend to think brands could inject themselves into broader discussions more regularly. It doesn’t have to be a conversation about your specific product. For example, if you’re Patagonia, couldn’t you weigh in on blogs that talk about mountain climbing? Your customers live in that world. I’m sure you have folks on staff that have experience in this area. Probably worth chiming in from time to tie, right? Bigger point: It doesn’t always have to be a comment about your product or service. Think bigger. Think lifestyle. Think experience.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Good point, Ian. I noticed a couple years ago there was an individual who was commenting on many A-list PR blogs immediately after the post was published because he/she wanted to be first on the list. It’s a good strategy from a visibility perspective,but this individual wasn’t always adding valuable content. So, in my view, it came across as a bit hollow. Exactly what you’re talking about, right?

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Not really rocket science, is it Josh? ;) It’s amazing how simple, but effective, this approach can be. Not just for brands, but for personal bloggers like us.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Blood, sweat and tears, Diane. Blood, sweat and tears.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    The paper.li idea is a very interesting approach, Juan. I guess I hadn’t really thought about taking that tack with Twitter lists. May give that a try–thanks for the idea. Good way to aggregate valuable content, too.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    Not sure what you mean, Arik…. (thank the deuce for DISQUS editing!!) ;-)

    If the blogger is using Disqus or IntenseDebate, we’ll track the account from there. BackType used to have a great comment tracking option, though they took that away to concentrate on real-time search. Now it’s a mix of using some of the comment systems, Delicious tracking and co.mments – http://comments.com

  • http://twitter.com/Social_Champion Sabine Taylor

    @Courtenay I am launching my blog site in January and the question that runs through my mind everyday is how to increase traffic. I haven’t thought about commenting on my local news sites…so that is a good one….I will include this idea in my blog post in January and I’ll pass you and social media examiner credit. Thanks Arik

  • jeffespo

    Lots of good stuff here Arik. One thing that I try to do is to comment on at least five blogs per day with something insightful as it offers a new way to get in touch with people. Even though some folks hate Pare.li I also use it similar to Juan and gives new insights into what folks read off of their blog, because lets face it, we all can’t catch it all.

  • http://bit.ly/wendysung Wendy Sung

    I will definitely use this in my job search campaign. Great way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills without being too pushy. I like it!

  • http://twitter.com/eMergeMD (e)Merge

    I’ve been checking out your #fanfriday Don. It’s a really neat blog feature! I think it is a great way to include your audience and share the experience.

  • http://pocbooks.com/ James Lynch Jr.

    This one gave most likely all of us new ideas, and capitalized on old ones.

    regards

  • http://www.jaydolan.net/ Jay Dolan

    Comments are bonus points. if you have something great to say, they work for you. Otherwise, though, I hate commenting unless I have something to add to the conversation. I’d rather speak when I can add strong insight, rather than just trying to promote myself or one of my websites.

  • Rob_Berman

    I regularly comment on blogs that I read. If I am particularly interested in a blogger I will comment and try and engage them. I have found that once they know who I am we can have quick chats via Twitter or e-mail. I have gotten quick responses to questions using this approach.

    Rob

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IABNHA6O7T24GUOJFT33Z6IEYQ Sarah

    Blog commenting is a way to market a product or a service online. I guess just speaking our mind makes us seemingly more human. Blog commenting along with the other social media marketing strategy will work its charm if coupled with perseverance and passion.
    It pays to hire experts like http://www.peppervirtualassistant.com/ to help you out with this. Also, I’ve read an article on mashable tips how to use other social media in shape and included blog commenting as a way to get out there.

    Thanks. Very helpful tips… =)

  • http://www.DonnaPeruginiChildrensAuthor.com Donna Perugini

    @Diane Onlinefabricstore The name you leave would catch in my Akismet spam filter for WordPress because you include ‘Onlinefabricstore’.

    My question to Arik is: How would I know who is spamming me with a name like this and who is honestly leaving a good comment to establish a relationship? I’m open to building a relationship, but not to promoting another person’s spam in my comments section. Is there a way to check a person’s credibility through Akismet if the commentor has chosen to leave a business name?

  • http://mazakaro.com Rahul

    Everyone one of us has different style and approach in writing down comments. We have a strategy that unique and different from others.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    It’s a big reason I stopped using Disqus and other third-party comment systems (although IntenseDebate supports it). CommentLuv is one of the best ways to “reward” your commenters, and is something leading blogs should look at more.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    Wow Arik, what a wonderful blogger relations blueprint you just shared. I’ve done all these mostly by accident (nice to see like @jlbraaten, I’m not the only one). Now I should be more organized with my reader, way too many to visit them all each week. My biggest fail: I don’t spend much time on blogs my customers read, but that will be a good change for 2011. Darn, that should have made my resolution post, so thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.mobilecubix.com iPhone Application Developer

    What you need to do is to go to the relevant blogs and make comments. At the end of the comment you could leave a link to your site but don’t spamming in blogs

  • Sunanda

    Hi

    Is blogging an SEO activity? Most of the blog have comments only to promote link of their website

  • http://twitter.com/millionairestud Millionaire Studio

    Blog commenting is great for traffic, improving authority and best of all it connects you with other like-minded people, namely bloggers. Most of the time I post a comment I am pleasantly surprised to find another blogger taking time to return the favor. It’s a fun community to be a part of.

  • http://leanreflect.blogspot.com Karen Wilhelm

    Commenting on other blogs was the single most important way I gained recognition as a thought leader in the lean/six sigma manufacturing community six years ago. Once I started my blog, Lean Reflections, it was immediately linked on the other leaders and it was listed in two or three “top ten” lists. The bloggers in the community are friends with each other after our virtual connections solidified, to the point where we share hosting a “management improvement blog carnival” annually, led by one of us, Curious Cat. From this beginning, adding a visible presence in LinkedIn and Twitter, I have become recognized in the broader lean community as a social media leader. Focus, know your subject, compliment others, tweet about their new stories, and include them in your “favorite” links. Although my hits fall behind many other blogs in my space, the right people follow my blog and refer to it regularly. Don’t make “social media” become your goal, aim for connecting to a community of thinkers in your market segment who grow trust and support each other.

  • Sphillips

    Thanks Arik…I will take all of this into consideration going forward. The help is much appreciated :)

  • http://twitter.com/dealnsteal Manali Rohinesh

    I absolutely do this all the time. I know I have things to say after reading some of these posts, so have left quite an online trail. I encourage people to get talking on my blog as well, even though it has nothing to do with social media per se..but just giving people a platform to get conversation going around something I’ve written feels productive.

  • http://twitter.com/iwp Invest With Passion

    Thank you for the information and I will do my best to put it into action. There is so much to be learned by reading social media examiner. It is hard to implement it all. But commenting strategy might be what is needed in my business. Reading the twitter list article next bc I have never set one up before and wondered how could I make it effective.

  • Guest

    Arik. This article is great and right to the point. There are many link building options out there and I believe using a nice mix (from past experiences) is the best way to go. A few blog comments, answer some forum threads, post a few link directory submits, build up your social profiles and eventually the SE floodgates will open. The best point made is keep coming back to your resource blogs and stay up on what has been going on. This allows the blog owners to start seeing the familiar faces not there trying to just gain a link.

  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

    Great post Arik.
    I’ve been using commenting as a strategy for a while now myself. At first I used it personally to get to know and find ways to interact with people in the community. I found it really useful when I was trying to break into the industry as I was able to express my opinions to people in their court rather than trying to convince people to come to my home field (my own blogs), because that was much harder.
    Now I use commenting as a way to grab some attention for my employeer. I’ve found that interacting and leaving interesting comments on blogs really peaks people’s interestes as to who this person is and where they’re coming from. While Twitter also works for this as well, the ability to speak in more than 140 characters really allows me to say more interesting things to the direct person it’s aimed at.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (http://sysomos.com)

  • http://www.metafranchiseconsulting.blogspot.com Jennifer Bierman

    Courtenay – Great point about getting ideas for your posts from other blogs! I do this often in the world of franchising and always give credit where due. I firmly believe this will pay off in the long run.

  • http://ShiftSelling.com/about Craig Elias

    Arik;

    Thank you VERY much for getting me to think more about this. I’ve been doing this for a while now but have been missing some of tools and tactics, you mention, to make it a more automated process.

    I have a story for your readers that proves exactly what you are talking about.

    I once commented on a blog post (http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/how-to-outsell-absolutely-everyone/4027) and provided two URLs that I thought added to the conversation.

    The second one (http://WonSalesAnalysis.com) was to a no-charge resource that I thought was relevant to the conversation.

    Art Sobczak (http://www.businessbyphone.com/) saw my comment and filled in the form. He then went on to email his list about my resource (giving away the link), writing a blog post about it, and he even added it to his book (page 40 of Smart Calling).

    As a result I have had hundreds of people complete the form and Art and I are now doing a webinar together in May.

    All from one comment on one blog. With the enhancements you have given me, my head is swiming with ideas on how to take this to the next level.

    Thank you VERY much.

    Craig Elias – Creator of Trigger Event Selling™

  • http://mymarketer.net Paul W.

    @Brian: I believe the two strategies are polar opposites. If I am working on building relationships via commenting than excluding nofollow blogs will actually hurt me. I have found most quality blogs are nofollows. The spam would be unbearable if they weren’t. Obviously, backlink building for the sole reason of the serps means you need dofollows.

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  • http://www.annemariecross.com Annemarie Cross

    Artick, as a person who loves systems and processes, I have found this article extremely helpful. While I have commented on various blogs previously, I certainly haven’t given it the attention that I now know, this strategy requires. A must-do in my 2011 networking and relationship building strategy.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Annemarie Cross

  • http://www.annemariecross.com Annemarie Cross

    Thanks for adding these comments Courtenay – great points and another two reasons why I’ll be following Arik’s strategies!

    Best, Annemarie

  • http://www.filthypop.net/ Filthy Pop

    Arik, this is a great post because it seem so easy and yet we don’t do it often enough. Your post reminds me that social media is supposed to be *social* – this entails also responding to other people’s blog posts and starting conversations that way.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.redfez.com.au/ David Jardine

    I think there is a very definite line between posting comments and commenting for SEO though, and it bears mentioning. I always recommend active participation in online vertical communities (including blogs and forums as well as niche social networks) to my clients that are interested in raising their profile and level of engagement online. I think the benefits of doing that are well laid out here.

    The danger I see and encounter, is when people cross this line into comment spamming for pure SEO reasons. Disqus, Akismet et al do a good job of catching it, but outsourcing has opened a door for personal posting which can fool these as well and a lot of people get tempted!

    So I guess my comment is just a warning against the danger of sliding from active participation, to over-posting, to spam-commenting. All to often I encounter busy professionals who want ‘hands-off’ and to ‘outsource’ these areas as if they were tasks or time sinks – and the consequences can be pretty bad. Keep it personal and professional and you will get the benefits of both SEO and engagement.

  • http://www.martynstead.co.uk/ Martyn Stead

    Great story Craig, and it stresses that you get the best results out of commenting when you’re trying to add something to the conversation rather than seeing it as “just another SEO tool”.

  • http://www.martynstead.co.uk/ Martyn Stead

    Great story

  • http://www.martynstead.co.uk/ Martyn Stead

    Ignore finger trouble in the last reply! What I meant to say was that it’s a bit rich suggesting that spamming is a bad thing under a username such as “Buy iPhone App UK”.

  • Ben Francis

    Well, if the idea is to add value to the blog post and help create a conversation, that isn´t spam is it? This is a guide to relationship building online through blog comments – very different to “nice post, can I have a link” spam.

  • http://jfwhite.org/ James

    This is a great post, but I disagree with your point about SEO benefit.

    For most professionals, blog commenting is best done for the sake of engagement. If you expect a boost in the rankings from blog comments, you’ll quickly realize the pros have beaten you to it. What I mean by that is that spammers who can post 10s of thousands of blog comments have diluted the value of these links to point where they’re worthless to a casual commenter. My advice is to forget the SEO power and focus on quality comments.

  • http://jfwhite.org/ James

    You could always just leave your title in a signature.

  • http://www.barcodeid.com/ Julie Leonard

    I’ve found the post and the subsequent comments to be informative and helpful, but I could use some more advice. Simply reading the post and its 100+ comments took, oh… say 15 minutes. And this is just one blog! How does everyone manage their time and do their “real” jobs, while applying the blood, sweat and tears required to build blog/commenting relationships, along with all other social media necessities? Reading these posts can quickly turn into hours, even with only 5 “must-read” blogs a day (plus comments). As a marketing director for a small company, I wear many hats, and I feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading/commenting required to stay up on social media. It could easily be a full-time job! How does everyone balance it, while still doing their “real jobs?”

    Thanks!
    Julie Leonard
    BarCode ID Systems

  • http://www.mobilecubix.com iPhone Application Developer

    Thax for Reply me

  • http://www.mahercomm.com/ Debra Gaynor

    Very instructive. Our agency will be starting the year out with a content marketing program that includes blog commenting. I sent your article to a few of the folks who’ll be doing this for inspiration.

  • http://www.inspiredwish.com/ Jeanie

    I love reading certain blogs every day/week, this is the excuse I use to do so. I’m building relationships and letting other readers know where they can find me. I’ve also stumbled upon some great blogs by clicking on the comments left by others. Sometimes it’s the simple things I can do each day that add up to bigger achievements.

  • ChrisLove

    When it comes to driving awareness through social media channels, most marketers think about using tools like Face book, Twitter and You Tube videos to reach key audiences.But very few think of leaving a comment on a blog as a strategy to driving awareness—and potentially, down the road, garnering leads.

    Wait, how can leaving a comment on a blog drive awareness (or leads) for your brand? You might be surprised at how effective this strategy can be, given the right circumstances. B2B organizations, for example, are often positioned well to capitalize on this approach based on their need to establish themselves as thought leaders on various topics.

    By: [URL=http://www.loansstore.com/mortgage-refinance-loans/second-mortgages-loans.php]Second Mortgage Rates[/URL]

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  • Tim

    And yours is about writing the same thing twice. At least, from what I can see, writing two sentences with the same meaning would be your strategy in commenting.

  • Timothée Boucher

    I’m not sure you’d get any benefits SEO-wise by commenting early and often. Most blog comment systems add a “nofollow” attribute to the outside links so that search engines ignore these links for ranking.

    Sure, Akismet and Disqus do a good job at eliminating the spam content and it helps reading only “authentic” comments. Eliminating them benefits the readers by removing the crap, but in most cases, leaving them wouldn’t have helped the spammers to be better ranked.

    However, commenting does put your name and avatar out there, which can surely help recognition from other readers, who might then link to your site with SEO benefits.

  • Infomum

    I can’t say I have a commenting strategy, it is more a case of commenting when I find something in a post that prompts me to comment.

    For point #4 getting to know the bloggers I would also recommend reading their about me page. Some of the best bloggers have really interesting about me pages that give great insight into the person behind the blog.

  • http://twitter.com/GlobalVoicesUK Global Voices

    Good tip on the Feedly! My bookmark folders are starting to get overloaded with different blogs and articles I want to look at again or later.

  • Info

    thanks for sharing your ideas and it does really help only if there are no spammers.

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  • Omerijaz

    nice post great information too as well thanks for sharing.

  • Findopedia

    thanks for sharing your great ideas to everyone and it does really help only if there are no spammers. I think right?

    http://www.findopedia.com

  • abu bakar

    hi this is realy a good website.i love this to see ur details on business.and i also work on tis topic.
    http://businessplustips.com

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  • http://www.remarkableblogging.com Marcela Turcanu

    Hi,
    I now start to understand how to leave a proper comment.Thank you for the article and your feedback guys.
    I will continue to follow this blog and implement your tips because I like the topics and the conversation around.
    Bye!

  • Vvebbt

    be sincere, that’s enough…

  • Jaison

    Thank you for your share about the blog tips. It was very encouraging to hear this is a good thing.

  • David

    good idea. I have used you tube for this in the past. I think it is most useful for some things, because with video you can express more than just with text.

    http://www.protyper.bisbay.com

  • http://www.endlessrise.com/ SEO Reseller

    Keeping track of a Twitter list is actually a great idea. Connecting with the other people via social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can really help a lot.

    – Ray

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RCEM7WVEGMUMV5ZIHUC3GCMYWQ Jean Spencer

    Great information! I really enjoyed reading your blog! Thank you!
    http://www.onecybertech.com/

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RCEM7WVEGMUMV5ZIHUC3GCMYWQ Jean Spencer

    Thanks a lot for sharing this informative post here and it’s always good to see this type of information.

    http://www.betsharks.com/

  • http://twitter.com/grazyiz grazy

    thank yo for posting this information, very informative site.
    good

  • http://www.demfy.com/ Demfy

    These days, blog comments will do what it supposed to do. Unlike in previous months or years that commenting is done for seo purposes hence a lot of spam comments has been received by blog moderators but today due to google penguin updates, blog commenting is no longer the primary method in seo so spam comments has been minimized and only useful comments now is made to every blog posts.

  • michaelbraganza4

    Yaa Gel Case i am Agree with you.

  • michaelbraganza4

    Ya friends such a nice blog , Thanks for inform 

  • http://www.mobileiphonedevelopmentindia.com/iphone-application-development/iphone-application-development.html Adeline Bosanquet

    Nice post, keep up with this interesting work. It really is good to know that this topic is being covered also on this web site so thanks for taking time to discuss this!

  • Shailesh Jangra

    Blog commenting is an awesome way to grow your profile and get back links. If you intend to use blog comments for traffic and link. then it is important it is always a quality comment. You need to contribute something to the conversation instead of just dropping links. 

  • http://www.moonfiller.com/ Taran

    Commenting is surely a powerful tool for establishing relationships and
    increasing awareness. It’s a critical element to a blogger outreach
    strategy. I worked for an SEO agency, and blogger outreach was pretty
    much the cornerstone of every client’s link building campaign. Awesome
    post.

  • http://www.pinoytoptips.com/ Randy Anderson

    if you want to establish or grow your own business; strategy should be must in a right way otherwise you may lost their business or face losses in the business. so make strategy in right way.

  • Jose Mathias

    Interesting

  • alex

    Great post. Thank you for giving us new and interesting stories that have helped and encouraged us.

  • http://www.bloggingtips101.com/ Catherine Holt

    It still amazes me how many bloggers don’t actually comment on blogs. They want to receive them, but they wont actually spend the time leaving them.

    Then there are the opposite bloggers who leave comments all the time, but purely say ‘nice post”, “love your tips” etc. It almost seems as lazy as not leaving comments at all!

    I love to receive comments but also to leave them. The art of blog commenting is all about connecting and engaging with others, and if you don’t want to do that then blogging might not be the right thing to be doing in the first place!







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