Do you ever get frustrated by how few people follow your blog on any given day?
Where are all these readers? What are they doing?
Well, mostly they’re interacting with the content of those who took the time to engage with their content first.
That’s it. The secret.
Comment on other people’s articles first.
It is such an underrated networking strategy, and the truth is, leaving a few thoughtful comments each day is better than investing hundreds of dollars a month on advertising. A lot better.
If You Want Readers, You’ve Got to Find Them
Ask any successful blogger for ten ways to get more readers, and I’ll guarantee that one of them will be to comment on other blogs.
But like most things, commenting on other blogs is a double-edged sword.
And over the past few years, as the number of similar blogs increased, I’ve noticed bloggers using comments (mostly) in highly disadvantageous ways.
The foolproof way to go about this is to write the kind of comments that you’d like to receive on your own blog posts.
When you comment on other people’s articles, you are actually shooting three birds with one stone:
- You engage with the author of that article. Feedback is important. Everyone wants to know if their content is good or not, or how to improve it, but they also want to be a part of the conversation. So be a part of the conversation. When you share your opinion, you are expanding upon the content of the blogger.
- Other readers find out you actually exist. Because you take the time to be a part of the conversation, other people will also find you. If your comment in clever or funny or provides a brilliant insight, they will most certainty check you out.
- You have to think, and this sometimes inspires you. Most of my ideas are the by-product of me sharing an idea in a comment. As I engage the author of the article, sometimes I come up with an insight that’s worth turning into an article.
Now, most people know this, and the truth is that commenting, “Great post! Loved it.” is better than nothing, but it’s not going to give you the same benefits.
Besides, there are other things I’ve noticed bloggers do wrong when commenting on other articles.
How Not to Comment on Blog Posts
1. Linking to your own blog as a “signature.”
Adding a link to your blog at the end of a comment, even a thoughtful one, usually ruins it for me.
As a matter of fact, I’m not even a big fan of relevant links to related blog posts that you wrote, let alone a plain link to your blog.
It seems smart, and some folks might think that about themselves for including links in their comments, but it’s not.
2. Not reading the entire article before commenting.
I’m sure most of us have been guilty of this from time to time.
You see a headline that you want to react to, you read the first line or two and feel strongly moved to comment.
You leave the comment without reading the entire thing and then realize that you’ve made an idiot of yourself by saying something stupid, wrong or poorly thought through.
While you might be able to repair the mistake by leaving another comment — it’s hard to get a comment removed on blogs — your words remain for years to come to highlight your opinion.
Take a moment before leaving comments to make sure you understand what’s being written about — this means reading the full post first — it can also mean reading what others have commented too.
3. Getting into heated arguments.
It’s easy to do — you read something that you strongly disagree with and write a comment in the heat of the moment.
Your comment is misinterpreted and read by another emotional person who responds — things escalate and suddenly things get personal.
No one really wins.
4. Hateful comments.
I don’t think you’d ever walk into someone’s house and start criticizing them as you do on the web.
There’s good and constructive criticism, and there’s being a jerk.
Never, ever, ever, ever be a jerk.
5. Always being first to comment.
This is one of those tricky ones that doesn’t really annoy me personally too much and which can actually be a good tactic on some levels — but which can get a little excessive and become annoying for some.
The issue is that if you do it on every post and if in your rush to be first you write quick and irrelevant comments, and you will begin to annoy both the bloggers who you are commenting on the posts of as well as their readers.
Balance is the key if you want to be first — and quality comments count for a lot.
6. Dominating the conversation.
It’s nice to engage other bloggers, it’s nice to discuss with other readers, but even if your comments are on topic, relevant, and quite often helpful — they can also be overwhelming in their quantity.
If you respond to everything a blogger writes and most of the comments of other readers, it gets to a point where people won’t even bother to read your comments anymore.
Lots of comments are great — but when comment threads are dominated by any one person the feeling of community and dialogue can be lost and the person dominating the conversation can be seen in a negative light.
7. Not adding value to the comments.
Every comment that you leave has the potential to either add value or take value from that other person’s blog.
Add value to the conversations that are happening in the blogging community, and you’ll build yourself a reputation.
Don’t do that, and… well… you’ll have a reputation alright, but not the one you were going for.
How to Write Comments That Will Make Everyone Love You
1. “Hi, Cristian”
The best five seconds you can ever invest when it comes to networking is to take the time and figure out the blogger’s name.
I love it when people do this. I do it all the time, even when I leave short comments.
A simple, “Hey,” makes me feel like you’re trying to sell me something. Or maybe it’s a robot…
2. Compliment them on something
Maybe you don’t agree with their point, but there’s something that you enjoyed about an article.
And it’s better to start with that. Give them a sincere compliment. Then you can write your list of 98 reasons why they’re wrong and you’re right.
3. Be careful how you disagree.
A lot of blogger screw this up because they want to stand out in any way at all, or maybe they’re not nice people. Who knows?
If you disagree with an opinion, it’s enough to share yours without having to be aggressive about it.
If a blogger got some facts wrong, you can gently correct them.
It’s all about the tone of voice. Well, more like the tone of writing. No name-calling, sarcasm, or ridicule.
Unless you want to lose friends and alienate people, that is.
4. Add to the conversation.
How do you do that?
Well, after you’ve read the article, think about:
- Can you share your personal experience? Have you tried doing what the article suggests you do? What happened?
- Can you share an opinion?
- Can you provide a few additional ideas, tips, tricks, or strategies?
The Number One Trick
Most bloggers have a hard time networking, or just don’t enjoy it, because all the thing about is getting exposure somehow.
Just… relax! People will check out your blog regardless of what you comment. We’re a curious bunch.
But you know whose blogs no one ever visits?
The blogs of those who feel the need to “mention” something about their blog in their comments.
You don’t have to mention that you wrote a similar article, or that you have a blog, and never, ever, ever ask people to visit your blog.
Focus on engaging others in conversation. That’s it. Believe me, they’ll check you out. They will remember you when you send them an e-mail asking for a guest blogging opportunity or for an interview.
Of course, commenting well will get you a lot of exposure. And it kind of becomes addictive if you get the hang of it.
The more you do it, the more you develop certain mental shortcuts that allow you to formulate an opinion extremely fast.
But that, in itself, is not enough.
You still need content. Great content.
This is one of my biggest mistakes ever. I focused most of my energy during my first five years on networking. Yeah, I grew to over 100,000 readers, but my content was mediocre at best.
If you spend most of your time networking, you won’t have the time or energy to create quality content.
So, don’t overdo it. Content comes first.
After all, even if you get people through the front door of your store, if you aren’t selling anything, what are they going to buy?
And if they don’t like what they see, are they ever going to come back?