More and more people are beginning to see leaving comments on other people's blogs as a great marketing opportunity. I recommend it highly and credit it with building my medical advocacy blog HonestMedicine’s visibility and name recognition. As I have pointed out before, my blog comments have brought the site lots of attention, including articles about it (here and here, to show you just a few), and recognition for being a "healthcare hero." (You can’t imagine how happy that made me!)
Soon I was being interviewed about my success with promoting HonestMedicine this way, and was asked to teach a class on the topic. As more people learned about my success with this promotional method, they would often ask me HOW, exactly, to write blog comments that get great results.
The truth is, lots of people have written about this marketing technique. But most of these bloggers write about blog comments solely as a way to bring traffic to one’s site.
I am essentially advocating the same thing: My blog comments also bring traffic to my site -- and to my clients’ sites. BUT THERE IS ONE BIG DIFFERENCE. Most online marketing experts consider getting people to visit your site to be the MAIN goal of commenting, while I concentrate on teaching you how to impress those who read your comments with the CALIBER OF THE INFORMATION you are providing in your comments – e.g., your expertise.
In other words, I am saying that blog comments, professionally and carefully written, can bring people to your site in the frame of mind to expect to LEARN SOMETHING IMPORTANT there. There will be other benefits, too: For example, if you're an author, you may find lots more people are buying your book!
I’m going give you my rules for leaving blog comments. Most of these are widely agreed-upon rules that you can find on many blog marketing sites. However, here I will also include information on how to make your comments unique, so that people will visit your site often and write about it, as well.
MY SEVEN RULES
1) The most important rule: Make sure your blog comments add to the conversation and are NOT SPAM. You NEVER want to be accused of spamming. Spam is a way to get people to visit your site for absolutely no reason at all. An example of spam is: “Great posting. Visit my site at www.spammerssite.com.” Don’t ever do this. It will just reflect badly on YOU. (NOTE: Spammerssite.com is NOT a real website!)
But your comments must also ADD something to the conversation. Here is where I think my way is significantly different from most marketers. I have written an article, posted on HonestMedicine.com, that features some of my recent blog comments that I have left on the New York Times health blog, and Salon.com. I hope you’ll want to read it.
2) Make sure your comments are professional and polished. Spend lots of time writing them. You will be able to use portions of these comments -- revised and tailored -- again and again, both as part of articles you’ll write, and as future blog comments. If there is a “preview” button, use it. If not, print out your comments and edit them over and over again. Remember, NO typos. Also, this is your opportunity to get seen. So, don’t blow it.
3) Always link back to your site in the signature line, and also, in the body of your comment, if possible. The best use of this technique is to link to AN IMPORTANT ARTICLE YOU’VE WRITTEN ON YOUR SITE that explains or backs up the point you are making in your comment.
One great example of this is my 3-part HonestMedicine article, “The JAMA Controversy,” in which I exposed the fact that The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had used Video News Releases (VNRs, or “fake news”) to promote some articles that turned out to be controversial because their authors had serious financial links to pharmaceutical companies.
So, when I had the opportunity (several opportunities, actually) to comment on other people’s blogs about pharmaceutical company shennanegans, I was able to link to my article ON MY SITE. My “JAMA Controversy” article truly added to the conversation. (You may read examples of these comments here.)
4) Always sign your real name. (It is silly to leave a fake name, if you are trying to establish yourself as an expert!) I don’t know why, but many people spend lots of time on their really great blog comments, only to sign them “Janie” or “Hounddog” or “JH.” I still don’t get it.
5) Link to other people’s articles -- but only if they appear on reputable sites. (The more reputable the sites or blogs you link to, the better.) I’ve had several great opportunities to leave comment praising my blogger colleagues. See one example here, where I recommended Mary Shomon's review of "An Uncertain Inheritance."
6) Be controversial, ONLY WHEN APPROPRIATE. (Never be controversial just to start a fight. You’ll regret it!!) Being controversial is an art. Do it sparingly. And if in doubt, don’t.
7) And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When and how to leave controversial comments will be the subject of a future posting.
♣ Read my article, "Honest Medicine on the Blogs," featuring some of my recent blog comments on Tara Parker-Pope’s great New York Times health blog, and on Salon.com.