Read the post!
I can’t believe I am including this but sometimes, although the comments are clearly NOT SPAM they have no relevance to the post itself! Once I had a reader reference something related to the post and a few comments later someone said how they liked reading about – and he referred to the reference not the post topic. LOL! E for Effort at least I suppose, but it highlights the importance of actually reading the post. One really insightful comment has more power than 100 spammy ‘great post’ comments any day.
No one likes a smart arse or a brown nose
Be yourself and offer your opinion but don’t be a dick about it. On the flip side, there is no need to suck up to the blogger with over the top comments about how you loved their post. Most of them see straight through this anyway and it just makes you look like a spineless goodie goodie when your comment is viewed amongst the many valuable ones. I see this ALL THE TIME on the problogger sites. Remember; if you don’t like the post then don’t comment!
Start swimming with the smaller Fish
Don’t get me wrong, following the highly influential blogs is fantastic as they continually pump out top notch content and are an amazing source of information, but if you want to build your own community and develop relationships in the blogosphere you need to start swimming with smaller fish. There is a no. of reasons for this including the sheer no. of comments and readers that the big fish have. How are you to stand out in this huge ocean? You are also a little fish so there’s no point trying to attract the attention of the Sharks. If however you engage with other smaller fish, not only do you stand out on their site and in the comments thread, but building your own school of smaller fish will put you in a much better position to be noticed by the sharks later on.
Treat your own comment thread like a forum
The comments thread is not a one way street. You need to treat it like a forum and be constantly engaging with your readers and discussing points further. One of the best compliments I got was when a reader told me he had learnt more from my comment discussions than the post itself. Now that tells us something! This also has the advantage of helping to develop blog post ideas as questions are raised and the readers openly discuss their experience.
Don’t Keep your Regulars Waiting!
Seriously! Don’t you trust me yet? In settings, allow those who have commented before to be automatically approved. This not only saves you time but it adds to the feeling of community and helps foster a sense of belonging with that reader. Besides this, I know when I am a regular contributor on a site and every new comment tells me it’s ‘awaiting moderation’ part of me gets a little annoyed and it takes away from that sense that I am contributing.
Think about it this way. When I go to my local coffee shop in the morning, they know my name and they know what coffee I drink and how I like it. This fosters a sense of belonging and even though I can get my coffee cheaper elsewhere, I go here for the service and because I am made to feel like more than just ‘another customer’. Make sure you foster this same sense of belonging in your readers. If you have your comments set so you have to approve everything, fix that now! Not doing this is indirectly telling your loyal readers that you still don’t fully trust them.
But someone might leave negative comments!
I’m sorry but if you are approving every comment yourself because you want to make sure everything said is a glowing reflection of your awesomeness then ….well, you suck! First of all, unless one of your regulars is schizophrenic, I highly doubt they are suddenly going to turn on you. In fact, approve negative comments in general, they only reflect negatively on the commenter and if anything they help cement your position of authority. On a side note, the comments your regular readers will make in support will bring a good laugh or at least a smile.
Reward your Commentators
While we’re on the subject of getting to know and trust our regulars, going one step further by rewarding them with an acknowledgement of their ongoing contribution is something I make sure I do, and recommend you do the same. The best way to do this is with the Top Commentators Widget Plug in (do a search in your plug in page) When you install it be sure to edit the settings so that it resets yearly or even never so that those who comment regularly are rewarded with that growing no. next to their (backlinked) name and gravatar. While I’m on this subject, if you currently have no follow set on your blog, rectify this immediately.
Always continue the conversation
This is not just about responding to the comment within your own post thread. As I mentioned earlier, you need to treat your comments thread like a forum and be constantly engaging with your readers and discussing points further, but continuing the conversation goes one step further than that, and it is this extra step that can mean the difference between a one off discussion and a successful longterm relationship.
When someone comments on my post these are the steps I follow to make sure I continue the conversation:
Respond to the comment, taking as much time as they took to leave it, ie: the more detailed and valuable the comment, the more detailed my reply.
Visit the blog of the commentator and read their about page and go through one or two of their latest posts.
Comment on their blog, making sure to reference something from their about page. (Stating facts that clearly show you have taken the time to get to know about them can do wonders for cementing this relationship and helping you stand out in the sea of readers and commentators.)
Retweet and Digg any posts that particularly appeal to you. Everyone loves to share, this is the basis of blog commenting after all, so why stop with the comment? (Retweeting and sharing in general is another way of standing out in a sea of readers and commentators)
Subscribe to the comments thread
Subscribe to follow-ups so you can see the response from the site owner. Sometimes their response may require a further point to add or question to ask and if you come back to respond again it has a lasting impact on the site owner and solidifies the genuineness of the engagement in the first place. TIP: DO NOT subscribe to the comments thread on the Big Blogging sites unless you want to receive followup comments into your inbox for years to come!
Thought you were getting to read about a traffic generation method that does not require consistent action? Sorry. Just like anything you do in life, consistency is the key and this is especially prudent when blog commenting. Effective Blog Commenting is about building relationships, not one night stands! Make sure you continue to develop and nurture this relationship through constant interaction and mutual respect.
Be Mutually Respectful
Talking about being consistent has reminded me of the importance of mutual respect. Don’t act like you are all that, it’s not endearing and doesn’t help your cause. In fact, it’s the super affiliates and big names in the industry who are the last to big note themselves. Take a leaf out of their book and stop with the attitude already. If you are interacting with a blogger and you don’t feel there is mutual respect there, disengage.