In a previous post, “What Makes a Blog Comment Great?”, I outlined the ingredients that go into writing really compelling blog comments that will:
(a) give readers new information
(b) bring them to your blog or website
(c) keep them coming back to your site, so that they will hopefully become regular visitors, so that
(d) they’ll continue to learn new things
In that posting, I also provided a link to an article, “HonestMedicine on the Blogs,” posted on my medical advocacy blog, so you could actually read some recent examples of my blog comments that have gotten lots of attention. I hope you will think the comments themselves are worth reading, and that you will get lots of ideas about writing your own blog comments, so that more people will come to your site or blog, and that they will feel they have gotten valuable information there.
Now, I’d like to discuss one characteristic of commenting on other people’s blogs that I did NOT discuss in my earlier post:
The Timing of Your Blog Comments
It is always best if your comments appear among the first ten or so, because people often stop reading after a certain point. Writing a well-crafted, information-packed comment early on would be the best possible situation -- “in the best of all possible worlds.”
So, why didn’t I include this point in my earlier posting? Because I am very concerned that timing NOT be your primary concern when leaving comments. I was worried that people would start RUSHING to post their comments, and that, as a result, there would be lots of half-baked, typo-filled comments that would simply not represent you, your expertise, OR your blog or website in the best way possible.
BUT, when you do have the good fortune of being able to leave a blog comment that is well thought out, thought-provoking, well-written, well-expressed and written EARLY (“the best of all possible worlds” again!), the results can be astoundingly wonderful.
Recently, I had this kind of good fortune on the New York Times Well Blog, one of my very favorites. I love this blog because its moderator, Tara Parker-Pope (also a writer for the Times’ Tuesday Science Section), in addition to being an excellent writer and very “up” on the current health concerns, is extremely bright, open and curious. She goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcome on this blog, and even adds her own comments at opportune times -- without making anyone feel embarrassed or silly for their opinions. (I wonder if Ms. Parker-Pope was ever a teacher. I think she would have been a darned good one!)
On Friday, January 11th (2008), Ms. Parker-Pope posted, “Medical Googlers, Part 2”, a terrific follow-up to an earlier (November 19, 2007) posting on the topic, “A Doctor’s Disdain for Medical ‘Googlers’”. I don’t want to share too many details here, since I think that both postings AND the original Time.com and Salon.com articles on which they are based, are really fascinating, and well worth reading. I urge you to do so! (Ms. Parker-Pope has included the links to both these articles, as well.)
As a person who feels that my medical Googling literally added a good 10 years to my husband Tim’s life, after his brain tumor diagnosis in 1990, I was naturally offended by the original doctor who started all this fuss. (You’ll have to read the blog postings to learn his name. I don’t want to give him the publicity!) He called his googling patient all sorts of names and was, in general, very insulting.
So, I spent several hours writing a comment that I felt proud of. Sadly, it was #249. Frankly, I wish that I had finished it earlier, but I didn’t. And I thought that, since my aim is to help people with my expertise, of course, I posted it anyway. AND, the wonderful thing is that several people read it. How do I know this? Because lots of people linked to my blog from it. (Some are still linking from it.) And you can really bet that those who did link –- don’t forget, they read through at least 249 comments! –- really cared about the topic of googling, and liked the things I said in that comment. And I will bet -– at least, I hope! -- that lots of them are still regular visitors to HonestMedicine.com, where I hope they are still finding interesting information! (Another thing I love about this “Well” blog is that Parker-Pope leaves her postings open for comments for a long time. This one is still open. I just checked, and as of yesterday, there were 335 comments. I’ll have to go back and read the more recent ones!)
But when "Medical Googlers, Part 2" was published, for some reason, not so many people commented at first. In fact, I would almost call it a “sleeper,” since only eight people, I among them, responded on the Friday it was posted. I call the posting a “sleeper,” because people are still commenting today –- four days later. Now, there now are 60 comments –- so far! (And on February 11th, one month after the publication of this posting, there were 92 comments!)
But this time, my comment was #5. And people have been coming to check out my blog in droves. I’m delighted.
But the most important thing is that I feel that I added something important to the conversation, and that I feel proud of the information I added.
The great thing about taking the time to write blog comments that you feel proud of (and passionate about), and leaving them on blogs that you feel are quality blogs, is that you are reaching people who have a genuine interest in the topics you are writing about. And, here is something that most people don’t even think about: If you have left quality comments that people are interested in reading (and get something from), you may have an opportunity to reuse portions of what you wrote somewhere else -- perhaps way down the road -- in blog postings of your own, or in magazine or ezine articles. Or perhaps, someday, even in a book!