You set up your blog. You think it looks great, and you're excited to start writing. Everyone will want to read what you have to say! After all, you're the expert in your field. Right?
Well, you may very well be a great resource for people in your industry, but no one's going to read what you say at first.
It sounds harsh, but hear us out.
When you first start a blog, you're putting a water droplet in the ocean. You'll send out ripples, but will they be big enough to be noticed? Chances are, they will come and go quietly. But that's not because you don't have great things to say—it's because you don't have an audience. Unfortunately, most of us aren't able to summon readers using existing star power, so we have to do it on our own.
There are great ways to do this simply by blogging: Updating regularly, posting your updates on your social media accounts, and sending your clients emails/newsletters with links to your newest posts.
But the mistake many small business bloggers make is this:
They don't comment on other blogs.
Thankfully, this is an easy problem to fix. Below, we'll explain why it's so important for a small business blogger to comment on other blogs, as well as offer some practical, easy-to-follow, and completely FREE ways to improve your comments and start getting results.
Why Do I Need to Comment on Other Blogs?
Commenting on other blogs allows you to build connections and relationships with other bloggers. By appearing regularly and leaving thoughtful, well-structured comments, they'll take notice of you and more than likely follow you back. When you create a profile in order to comment—whether it's WordPress, Blogger, Disqus, or something else—you get the opportunity to add a link to your website. It's a great way for you to advertise yourself without actually leaving self-promotional links on someone else's site. Also keep in mind, the blogger won't be the only one to seeing your comment—other bloggers show up to do the same thing you are. So the more readers a blog has, the more eyes fall on your comment and the higher the chance someone clicks through to your site.
Commenting also allows you to ask questions and contribute to conversations you might not have had elsewhere. If the post was particularly thought-provoking, it can be fun to participate in an intelligent and fast-paced conversation about the topic at hand. Even if you don't agree with what the author says, as long as you play your cards right (and keep a cool head), you can still successfully market yourself while not coming off as an annoying marketer.
How Do I Leave a Good Blog Comment?
Leaving a comment that says, “Thanks, great post” isn't enough. In fact, leaving a short, generic comment can actually read as spam to many bloggers, and they may even block you from leaving comments if they think you're just a robot! Plus, if someone just wrote “great post” on something that you spent a long time creating—and probably put a lot of thought into—you wouldn't feel very special, would you? No. So don't do this to other bloggers, particularly ones you respect and want to forge connections with.
To leave a good comment, think of a personal experience you've had with the post's topic. For example, if you're a plumber and the post is about the worst ways to deal with pipe leaks, you might leave a light-hearted comment about a time when you made a mistake, or when your customer tried to fix their own toilet and ended up in a... messy situation. Then tell them you appreciated the information they provided and finish up with another friendly relationship-building statement. You could try saying, “I'll be sure to keep these tips in mind next time I'm speaking with a customer about their pipe leaks!” or “I know now that I can check back here to see what creative ways you think of to solve pipe leak problems!”
Whatever you do, don't leave a comment berating someone. It's fine to disagree with an author or another commenter—particularly on a more controversial post—but don't call anyone names or go on a rampage. Keep the comment constructive and non-hostile, and always remember that what you say on the internet will reflect on you and your company. Make your words a positive reflection of your integrity as a small business owner, and you'll build a reputation based on respect.
What If I Run Out of Things to Comment About?
There comes a time when you simply can't think of anything else to write on other bloggers' posts. Or maybe you're just sick and tired of putting in the effort when you feel like no one is paying attention to you either. Sarah Arrow of Sark-E Media has some great advice on how to craft a great comment in only a few minutes—and even if your heart isn't in it, it'll still be helpful and worthwhile for the author to read.
You can try a number of things to come up with commenting ideas:
- Relate to the author. Why did you click on the article in the first place?
- Tell a personal story. Bonus points if you can make people laugh.
- Tell the author if you know of someone who will find the information useful, and then offer to share the post with that person.
- Ask a question. Is there anything else people might want to know about the topic at hand?
- When all else fails, share the author's post on social media and be sure to tag them. At least they'll notice that you are promoting them—even if it's not through a comment.
And there you have it. Now you understand why small business bloggers make this mistake and have some good information on how to avoid it. Do you have any other suggestions for leaving great comments? Leave us a comment and let us know!