How to be a Great Commenter
Blogs are a very useful tool for authors. Whether you run your own blog and/or guest post on others blogs, blogging can be a promotional powerhouse. You get to reach a global audience with your content for little or no cost. You can mark yourself out as an expert in your niche, and connect with readers. It's the last of these that I'll be looking at today.
Why do you blog? One of the first answers should be "to connect with readers". You want to offer a way of building your current fan base but you also want to reach out to new potential readers. Blogging is a great way to do both.
The blog post itself gives you a means to express yourself and show off your talent. It gives readers the chance to get to know you. One of the most important (and often neglected) elements of a blog post however is the comments section.
The comments section is where the real engagement happens. It's there that you "close the deal". I've sold several books in the past based on the conversation that developed in the comments section of guest posts I'd written.
If you've written a blog post, invite readers to leave a comment. Ask them a question to get the conversation going. Reply to people who leave comments 1) to thank them for taking the time to comment on your post and 2) to keep the conversation going.
As it's always good to practice what you preach and lead by example, now let's flip this on its head and look at it from the commenter point of view. Commenting on blog posts is great marketing. You get to piggy back on others content and get noticed by the blogs readers without needing to write a whole blog post yourself.
So how can you be a great commenter?
For those of you that get stuck with what to write in the comments here's a few ideas to get you started:
1) Add something to the conversation
Posting something like "great post!" is nice. I'm sure the blogger will appreciate your enthusiasm for their content. If you want to stand out though take it a little further. Say what you liked about the post. If suitable, share your own experience with the topic discussed e.g. if the post is about self publishing and you've self published a book share a little about the pro's and con's of going that route.
2) Don't self promote
Whilst referring to your own experiences is good, spamming with self promo is not. The only link you should post is the one allowed in the hyperlink of your name that leads back to your website. The only exception to this is if you have written or read another blog post that either covers the same topic (and maybe offers some extra tips or info) or a blog post that looks at the topic from the other side. In those cases you can post the link explaining why you think readers of the current blog post might be interested in it.
3) It's OK to disagree
You don't have to agree with the blogger. You are allowed to have your own opinion. Share why you don't agree with them. Having alternative view points extends the conversation. Just remember that whilst it's OK to disagree, it's not OK to attack people.
4) Ask questions
Do you want to know something related to the topic but not covered in the post? Ask. Did the blogger mention something but not go into enough detail? Ask them for more information about it.
If you offer value in your blog comments and inspire readers to want to know more about you, they will click on your weblink. It's about indirectly promoting yourself. Forget about blatantly blasting about your books and/website and add to the conversation. It's a far more effective way of gaining fans and therefore increasing your chances of making more sales.
What else would you add to this list? Is blog commenting part of your marketing strategy?