Blog commenting in the past has gotten a bad rap. Blame all the comment spam on WordPress blogs that webmasters have to sift through and remove before approving the real comments. With that said, comments can still be a powerful way to get the attention of the power movers & shakers in an industry.
Commenting on web sites is an unusual phenomenon. Unlike the Pareto principal which supports the idea that 20 percent of people deliver 80 percent of the sales, activity or contribution (take your pick), participation inequality takes that to a whole new level.
With the typical online message board, YouTube channel or blog, only 1 percent of visitors make a significant contribution, 9 percent may do something small such as click a “Like” button, and the other 90 percent are lurkers who just read or watch while failing to participate. These groups can be respectively referred to as creators, reactors, and lurkers.
Participation Inequality Pyramid
This little factoid remains a mystery to many. We often assume that people participate much more than they actually do.
Early adopters tend to be creators whereas the masses tend to be mostly lurkers. The bigger the audience a site gains, the less interaction it receives.
Whilst some marketing departments may try to resolve this “problem” in various ways, attempts to boost levels of participation within the larger group of users probably will not work. It is not native to most users to create new content; they’re there only to consume it.
Getting the attention of the creators on a site is not easy to do. Commonly the participators are called “influencers.”
Various types of outreach have been attempted to develop more of an active relationship between the site and the creators. Such creators can garner a large audience themselves and so their continued association has a value. Linking out to their own resources can be supportive. After all, creators sit atop the link graph by keeping other visitors interested and coming back for more.
People are just too busy. Getting the attention and keeping it is tough. As the world seems to run faster every year, creators have less time available too.
Prolific creators are too busy creating, responding to requests and keeping up with their email to pay much mind to someone randomly trying to get their attention.
How do you get around this mind jam? The simple answer is blog commenting. Yes, really…
Creators love to share new thoughts and ideas with their readers. Many blogs have few comments and the quality is often low. This is why active feedback with a creator about their content will likely garner their attention. Quality comments can validate their viewpoint and provide vital feedback.
Go where the creators are. Their comments section is a good place to start.
Most comments are low quality. Just take a look at the typical YouTube video comments which often deteriorate into a back and forth argument and you’ll see what we mean. Comment spam is also an issue with its vague, complementary one-liners.
Commenting is actually a great way to get the attention of the creator. The barrier to quality isn’t all that high.
A bland, uninteresting comment that contributes little isn’t going to cut it. If the creator notices your contribution at all, they’ll remember you in a poor light.
Giving attention out becomes a habit. Habits repeat. Provide uninteresting feedback and every future comment is likely to get ignored simply out of habit.
Adding value is the key here. Share an opinion that validates or adds to the discussion in some way. Share an online resource that wasn’t included in the post or article but which will be interesting to readers.
Creators enjoy provoking a response from their writing. They like interaction. Take advantage of that.
Who Is This Person?
Did the comment get their attention? If it did, they’ll wonder, “Who are they?”
Likely they’ll be following through to your web site or linked profile to check you out. If you have your own site, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, they might peruse that.
Don’t waste an opportunity. Link out to information that shares your brand clearly. Ensure the profile or content is current.
Putting It All Together
On February 25, 2014 Elisa Gabbert wrote a piece on Wordstream about the “dwindling value of links.”
This post received much attention from creators and 37 comments were posted. These included a detailed one from Russ Jones of Virante.
One of the movers and shakers in the SEO industry had clearly read the comments on the article and promoted them as much as the piece itself.
Some of you may whine that blog commenting takes too long. Here, have some cheese; it’ll taste good with the whine.
Whilst not every comment will garner attention, they’ll still demonstrate knowledge and authority to others. Creators will eventually take notice.
Why send unsolicited emails to influencers when it is possible to get their attention in a more sophisticated, intelligent manner?
Not every comment gets through the censors and spam checks, but quality commenters can be pre-approved on WordPress by the site owner.
A few creators produce almost all of the content consumed. Their attention is finite. Yet their influence is broad. They mention a product or brand and their followers flock.
Creators spend time in their own comments section. Smart blog comments can get their attention and encourage their curiosity to learn more about the commenter than an unsolicited email ever could.
Tell Us Your Thoughts?
Now it is your turn. Can you think of any blog commenting insights that we left out? What are they?
Add your comments below.