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May 04, 2006

Commenting as a marketing weapon

My buddy at BlogHer, Elisa Camahort, pointed out a good article about blog marketing. It's called, "Strategic commenting: no blog is an island." The author is Amy Gahran (seen here).

This is some text from it:

If your weblog currently doesn't have much of an audience, then an easy way to build an audience is to constructively leverage audiences already fostered by more established bloggers in your field. This means being proactive about building new connections. Strategic commenting is all about taking the initiative.

I recommend reading it because it provides a tactical way to build up readership for a new blog. And you know there's nothing I like more than marketing blogs.

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Comments

good work...

What a blog.

http://unsecured loan.loans11.co.uk

Thank you, Sir.

When building readership it's helpful to be able to quantify it with a tool like Feedburner, which unless I'm not seeing something you're doing here Guy, needs to replace your native RSS feeds in your header tags in addition to being added to your sidebar in order for people who use autosubscribe methods (like bookmarklets) to sub to your feed to sub to the Feedburner one that's being counted. (I've got a post on my blog on how and why to use feedburner if that helps.)

Also, see http://share.opml.org as a means of examining and extending conversations by source and reading lists.

You know where I sit this is hilarious. Talking to each other is an innovative marketing strategy? Yes, I suppose thats one way of looking at it...but we all talk to each other. I think Amy is counselling people in manners not marketing. Listen, don't get me wrong, we all need to pay the bills, we all have to get our kids a new pair of shoes...but just being out to sell something is a very limited and potentially soulless way of working in blogs. I am aware there is a huge web of business blogs out here...but I would love to see marketers take their energy and apply it to something other than trying to sell us something while we might be hanging out in public on blogs to escape the constant bombardment of ads...? Make friends?

I appreciate the idea of posting marketing stuff on blogs but going to a yoga blog and hawking ones excersice mats may be all fine and dandy but a lot of bloggers just might consider it harshing their mellow. It might be a bit like me going to Guy Kawasaki's blog and begging marketers to use their superpowers for good. Like can't marketers use their energy to save the women in Darfur, talk to their customers about leaving their cars in the garage, stop buying useless impulse purchases and going into debt, and to get world peace and the environmental rescue in motion?

When you all are out there making valuable public conversation while working in your sales pitch don't you think we can notice you're on the make?

But please, feel free to give it a go at my blog...hope you got game. I have a pretty sophisticated level of public discourse in my repoitoire, and I ain't no hollaback girl.

Love and peace,
Candy

http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

Guy, I'm glad you've picked up on Amy's strategic commenting teachings. I agree wholeheartedly with her and part of my strategy now is to use coComment to help me track conversations all over the Web. I think tools like it are going to change the way we see the Web. I've already become more adept at finding and following conversations thanks to coComment - especially now with the automatic notifications the Firefox coComment extension gives me.

"I have found the most interesting content generated by the most interesting people, that would take me a lifetime to meet and weeks using search engines in finding quality and such specific content related to my interests."

Rachel, I couldn't agree more.

I started http://co.mments.com three months ago as an easier way to track comments, since feed readers don't go a good job. You get the post, but none of the follow-up comments. And I found out a lot of useful information that starts in the post and carries on in the comments.

Not to mention that comments are just a natural way to interact. I'm not sure in which category that fits in, but I respond in comments to help fix software bugs, for impromptu polls, or to RSVP to evenst (I do that often on Upcoming). I think of blogs as replacing most special-purpose sites like forums, polls and event hubs, and comments are part of that.

I posted this on Amy's blog, but thought your readers might be interested too.

Heres another strategy. Another way to increase traffic to your blog is to reference posts on Google blog. The Google blog adds that reference to its list of related links and that is a source of pretty healthy traffic.

The one thing I love about being able to comment on a blog...is just that, anyone can. It is so powerful to exchange thoughts, ideas and your take on the post. I have found the most interesting content generated by the most interesting people, that would take me a lifetime to meet and weeks using search engines in finding quality and such specific content related to my interests.

It's amazing how I even landed on this blog and even more amazing to find that Guy and Amy are also going to Blogher '06... which I am going to...flying all the way from Perth, Western Australia representing Minti!!! That's a pretty effortless strategy if you ask me!!! great post!

This is because blog comments are a strange anomaly. They don't fit any of our previous ideas about how interaction works.

Guy, Amy et al,

This one illustrates my point of a few days ago..

Commenting as a way of getting known to new readers is an advice you get on a 1000+ blogs. What's the added value of posting it again ? Perhaps you didn't remember that step 6 of your "The 120 Day Wonder: How to Evangelize a Blog" posting is EXACTLY the same thing...

Blogs can be a beautifull instrument for sharing ideas,knowledge,... At least that's how I would like to use it. An alternative to using the regular printed publications... It shouldnt be a place to kill time. Use a chatbox,online game, ... to do that... No ?

About the trackback thing... click on my signature and you'll read a little post about exactly that subject ( its dated january so dont think its a novel idea :) )

It's a solid point. It reminds me of when you visited my blog. Although you don't necessairly need the audience.. you gained mine. :-)

Wow, revolutionary idea. :P

Commenting on other blogs is not only a great way to let other people know about your blog, but can also help get more links to your blog. The same goes for posting in message boards and forums where you can have a signature with a link to your blog or website.

fwiw, as a blog reader, I never look at trackbacks. I ignore them 100% of the time.

Amy,

Not saying that trackbacks provide exactly the same value as strategic commenting (which is excellent advice, btw) but there is no question that others read trackback articles when they're available. You don't need to know what they are to follow them - they show up on a post as a sort of "related stories" section at the end of an article.

They don't add to the conversation on a particular blog and they do steer the reader away to another site, but they can extend the value of the conversation by providing a different perspective on the same or similar topic and therefore they DO add to the value to the reader.

Bottom line: don't do one or the other, but both help - especially if you provide some insight in the article that you publish related to the pinged article.

You do need to make sure that once someone surfs over to your article that its actually interesting or they'll never come back.

Actually, I disagree that trackback pings achieve the same goals:

1) They often just don't work

2) Many bloggers don't accept trackback pings because of the spam problem, or don't publish them on their blogs

3) An awful lot of blog readers don't have any clue what a trackback ping is and so don't bother to click when they are displayed.

4) Comments more closely resemble natural conversation and thus are more engaging.

5) Comments deliver real content without requiring that you click away to another site. (More convenient for the audience.)

...Now, I like trackbacks, and I think they're useful. But I don't think they do as much good for a blog, and for the public conversation, as strategic commenting.

Just my perspective,

- Amy Gahran

RightConversation.com
Contentious.com
IReporter.org

Editor, Poynter's E-Media Tidbits blog

Wow, thanks Guy -- I'm honored that you'd recommend my article.

Of course, the art of strategic commenting is not merely pushing marketing messages at people, but making valuable contributions to public conversations.

If you keep the "valuable contributions" in the forefront of your mind, the marketing value follows.

Anyway, that's how I view it.

Best,

- Amy Gahran

RightConversation.com
Contentious.com
IReporter.org

Editor, Poynter's E-Media Tidbits

Trackback pings work in much the same way. Also gives the readers perspectives on the same topic (if you're using trackback right!).

That's a good advice Guy!
I always comment on other blogs, but I never thought on "marketing it" before, I guess I should!

Thanks!
Javier Cabrera

This is a Strategic Comment...

;-)

Sharing eyeballs is one of the fresh, exciting ideas coming from blogging.

I'll be interested in seeing how this concept spreads into other industries.

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