Avoid the #1 Mistake People Make in Media

Comment The famed "no comment".

Do you respond to comments to your posts? Do you comment on other blogs?

The first question is rather easy to respond. In fact, you could double your comment count if you're available to join a hot topic  conversation on your post in real time. Train people to jump off Twitter, because they have more to say, and voila'.

Some commenting platforms like Disqus, which I installed in my other site, also make it easy to capture reactions in the stream. Although, keep in mind that many consider posts with just Twitter reactions mostly noise that detracts from wanting to comment.

Commenting on other blogs seems to be easier to justify when everyone else is there — the crowded restaurant/bar concept. By comment 50, very few are reading your take, in some cases, the author is not keeping up in the same enthusiastic way they were ahead of time.

Leaving thoughtful comments in blogs is an underutilized way to really dig into a relationship and build on the ideas of another. Spammers are still grappling with the thoughtful part. I can tell you that many a post idea was inspired while commenting on another blog.

It was thanks to the comments in this blog that I had the idea to create the page About

Comments matter

Comments matter for a number of reasons. While we all acknowledge that
time is probably one of the biggest constraints we face in social media,
especially with the urgency of real-time compulsion, including
comments in our social media marketing strategy can make a big
difference. Why?

We are more comfortable hiring and buying from someone who engages with us actively.
While weak links in networking do help, direct
recommendations and referrals come more readily after some interaction — and recency. Conversation is a habit that helps build relationships.

The way you think and articulate your expertise in the comments matters.

Being memorable

Building credibility with other bloggers through
thoughtful comments can help you launch your social media activities
with a bang. People already know about you and your content. This of
course works best when you’re willing to give away some ideas for the
good of others.

I literally blogged for almost a year without a blog — just by leaving thoughtful comments on other people's blogs. Comments are skin in the game, a welcome rarity that will make you memorable.

There are 7 types of memorable comments

Responding to a question in the post. It's pretty
obvious, I know. The easiest way to participate is by
showing you are listening and are willing to collaborate with the author on their own site. Have
you noticed how truly responding to questions is becoming prominent in
your LinkedIn Profile? I could not have written a better post on should you outsource social media? without the contribution of the community there.

Adding a thought provoking question of your own. Asking good question takes skills. Check out the top ten reasons why your LinkedIn question is getting mostly pitches. I’ve seen lots
of smart questions asked on Twitter — either to begin or extend a
conversation that is then captured in a blog post. Watch out not to kill a conversation.

Making an open ended statement as additional thought.
This is one of the best known forms of solicitation for further
thinking and discussion. It works so well because it gives the other
party(ies) the opportunity to add more information as you broaden the
scope. As an example, use any of the well run Twitter chats, if moderators can do it there, you can do it anywhere.

Pointing to other resources. Let’s face it, we don’t
all have a full research department at out beck and call. When you
offer knowledge to others, you not only look good, you build a reservoir
of good will in the process. This is a balancing act. Think about connecting others ahead of putting your content out there.

Extending the conversation to other applications.
This will definitely raise your profile with the blogger and all the
other readers. And it may establish you as a knowledgeable source. Show
them how something could be employed elsewhere. You may raise the
question of why give away so many ideas. Trust me, the money is in the
implementation. Ideas are free –- or they want to be.

Providing an example as a case study. This will
highlight the possibility of an interview as part of a subsequent post
at that blog. You are establishing yourself as an experienced practioner with background and behind the scenes knowledge.

Offering to co-author a subsequent post on a topic.
It’s a more direct way to go from comment to a blog’s main real estate -–
the post –- without saying you’d like to take over. This is especially
useful if you don’t already have a blog of your own but have been very
active and generous in the comments. The relationship opens the door.

These are memorable because they show a
degree of high involvement and can lead to establishing and deepening a
relationship. What other types of comments worked for you?


Bonus reading:

3 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Blog

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0 responses to “Avoid the #1 Mistake People Make in Media”

  1. I totally agree with you about comments too often being overlooked as a part of social media strategy. At my last agency, that was one thing we advocated frequently, and at my current agency, we take a similar tack.
    One thing I think is interesting though is how certain bloggers handle these different types of comments. For example, I recently commented on a blog written by a bigtime blogger/podcaster/etc and said that a post on another blog (not one of mine) was a good match for his, so I dropped a link. What did I find when I went back the next day? No link and a little note that said “edited by moderator.”
    While I completely understand that we all have different opinions about what is relevant and what is not, that action made me a lot less likely to comment again…I mean, if we take the time/thought to try to add value by unselfishly pointing to other resources and get shut down, we are likely to feel a bit like we had our hands slapped, right?

  2. It must have felt like a letdown. At times, I’ve had people post links to 4-5 posts they have written in the comments to my posts… and that can get a bit burdensome for the community (not to mention quite self-referential). Given that you had taken the time to participate, and that your comments tend to be very generous with information, I have a hard time understanding why the link was stripped. Unless there was an automatic tool of sorts at work? There are also bloggers who feel they’ve given in their post, therefore the comments are just for the community. People have different approaches. I often get asked about ways to participate and attract conversation. Comments are a really good way.

  3. @Valeria Thank you 😉 I definitely agree. Commenter and blogger have to find that balance. I might one day think, “Valeria just wrote about X, so she would love this, and that, and that, and that.” That would of course all be done with good intentions, but probably not in keeping within the norms of the community here.
    You make a good point about an auto-stripper and the comments just being about that community. Looks like I’ll have to muster up the courage to go back and comment on a future post on that blog so that I can find out. Thanks for the insight, Valeria.

  4. This is a great post Valeria because it reminds us all that there is so much value in commenting. So often I discover really thought-provoking and interesting perspectives in the posted comments. Sometimes more valuable than the original post. And there’s been quite a bit of discussion about how to comment with relevancy -or- if you have a difference of opinion, how to tactfully and diplomatically convey it while keeping the discussion productive [and honestly, whether it’s a blog comment or a client meeting, knowing how to approach a conversation is a skill/necessity to success unto itself]. So thank you for reminding everyone that there are so many benefits to a community by sharing an opinion, resource or expertise.

  5. This is a very timely post for me, Valeria. I actually wrote a post earlier this week answering a question from a reader on how to get more comments on their own blog.
    While the post was generally well-received, I did get some feedback from readers arguing against the importance of comments.
    It’s nice to see a thought leader in this space reinforcing the importance of comments and emphasizing their value in terms of building relationships. As a community manager, I’m focused primarily on building relationships and fostering conversation — both on my company’s blog and elsewhere.
    I appreciate your tips on seven types of memorable comments. There’s a lot of value there. Thank you!

  6. Valeria, I owe most of the traffic and interactions I get online to commenting.
    You left out one more reason to comment: You find yourself writing something profound enough to post on your own site. I’ve done that at least a dozen times this year, and my post today was the outgrowth of a comment I left on someone else’s Facebook link.

  7. Thank you for this reminder. It is something I know and yet for some reason I tend to slack on. I RT other peoples work even go to the effort of using bit.ly and commenting but then don’t directly comment on their blog. I needed this extra little nudge. thank you.

  8. An important topic for sure Valeria. One challenge I see (and find in my own participation in social media) is that we recognize that participation in discussion is important for us individually, but that participation sometimes trumps providing valuable content. On all blogs, a high number of comments are simple Thank Yous with links back to personal blogs.
    The challenge of dialogue is even more apparent in Twitter and Facebook, where your limited by what you can say in a comment or Tweet. I work with one brand where whatever we say on Facebook, the comments are always “I love [BRANDX].” Not a bad thing, but not really a dialogue or conversation extender.
    Maybe this is just wishful thinking. Maybe this all a bunch of voices crying in the wilderness.

  9. I enjoyed reading your article about commenting on blogs. I am looking on the internet daily for excellent content about social media to help me gather information for my blog and social media web sites. Thanks for the great article and I really enjoy your web site.

  10. Great post. I help English learners with their blogs on a social networking site and I don’t think we put enough emphasis on the importance of leaving comments. You’ve given me a lot to think about and I’m really thankful I found this post. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  11. Hi Valeria,
    I don’t remember comments as much as the names associated and the feeling I get reading their comments.
    The names that stick with me those who engender an intellectual intimacy and curiosity. They make me smile even if I disagree or have no idea what they’re really saying.
    The worse kind of feeling I have is from reading gratuitous comments – they are to blogs what car horns are to busy traffic. I suspect my reaction is more cultural than anything else.
    As an aside, how often do you write a comment and not post it?

  12. Great point! In essence, if you consider the real life equivalent of commenting, it is rather simple – you notice people having a discussion in the next table…you join them within context and add value. The smarter the things you say and add value to the discussion, the better your reputation. Going forward, you start a discussion in your own table and other join readily because they remember you joining their discussion so well! The point of it all – get your thoughts/content right – content is king, whether you blog or simply comment.

  13. @Lisa – keeping a conversation productive can be a challenge in some venues, for example in mainstream media, and on Facebook pages when an issue gets groups riled up. Here’s to the hope that people will continue to see civility and critical discourse as not mutually exclusive.
    @Daniel – glad the post is helpful.
    @Ike – excellent advice. Indeed, many a post on this blog started as a long-ish comment on someone else’s blog. And I have created entire posts with comments from the community.
    @Emily – Twitter and more real time tools are making us laptop potatoes 🙂
    @Rich – there is only so much time in the day, I agree. And we tend to spend some of that time creating ourselves, so unless something touches us deeply and emotionally, we tend to skip commenting. I know I do a far worse job today than I did a couple of years ago.
    @Dennis – thank you for stopping by.
    @Tara – glad the post was helpful to you.
    @Peter – I have written comments without posting often enough. It happens when I need to have an internal conversation about an issue, mostly.
    @Karthik – good analogy with face to face networking. Commenting on blogs can be just as hard as engaging in deeper conversations when you don’t know others in the room so well, possibly. I find it fascinating that I get a lot of first time comments from people I never connected with before, even after four years of blogging.

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