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The Right (and Wrong) Way to Comment on Blogs

Expert: Dana Lynn Smith

Commenting on other people’s blogs is a great way to get visibility, build relationships with bloggers, subtly promote your book, and get links back to your site (if the site gives “do-follow” links). But you can hurt your credibility if you go about it the wrong way. Here are some tips for successful blog commenting:

1. Actively look for relevant blogs to comment on. Subscribe to the feed of the most important blogs in your area of interest, and use tools like Google Alerts to keep an eye out for relevant posts on other blogs. You can also use Google Blog Search or blog directories like My Blog Log to find blogs that are a good fit.

2. Contribute to the conversation. Don’t just drop by and say “great post.” Instead, make a thoughtful comment that contributes something. You might offer an additional tip or real-life example, or expand on a point the blogger made. If you’re commenting on a book review, explain why you enjoyed reading the book. Your comment doesn’t have to be long, but you do need to say something useful and relevant. Do not give the impression that you are just there to promote your book or leave a link to your site.

3. Don’t make inappropriate comments. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a point that someone has made (and many bloggers encourage disparate views), but do so in a polite, respectful way. I’m amazed at some of the rude and tacky things people say on blogs and in online forums.

4. Don’t be overtly promotional. Commenting on someone else’s blog is not the place to blatantly promote your book or services. However, there are subtle ways to convey that you are an expert on the topic being discussed and encourage people to click on your name to visit your website.

You might work in a reference to your book related to the comment you are making. Here are some examples:

“Twitter is such an important tool for authors that I devoted an entire chapter in my book to promoting through Twitter.”

“In researching my book, Selling Your Book to Libraries, I discovered that . . .”

“Because I write mystery novels myself, I really appreciated the way that the author . . .”

Depending on the topic under discussion, I sometimes sign my name with a tag line such as “Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer” or “Dana Lynn Smith, author of Facebook Guide for Authors.” Some people include their website address in their signature, but most bloggers frown on this. Creating a signature that’s several lines long and blatantly promotional is not appropriate. Some people think that including any type of signature or reference to your book is too promotional.

5. Play nice. You will have to use your judgment to determine what is appropriate, but you might look at what other commenters on the blog are doing as a guideline. Just remember that you are a guest on someone else’s site and mind your manners.

Comments, anyone?


Drawing on her 16 years of publishing experience and degree in marketing, Dana Lynn Smith helps authors learn how to promote their books through her how-to guides, one-on-one coaching, blog, and newsletter. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter and also get a free copy of her latest ebook, Savvy Book Marketing Secrets: 52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books.

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14 comments on “The Right (and Wrong) Way to Comment on Blogs

  1. AD Bane says:

    I agree that commenting on other people’s blogs is fantastic publicity! I enjoy wantching all the referrals I get from my comments. It’s just great! :D

    Putting yourself out there on someone else’s blog can be a little scary, just as any marketing strategy can be. But what I find is the best thing to do (and from my experience it is effective as far as your steps are concerned) is to look at other people’s comments. Look specifically for comments that make you want to know more about the person, that make you want to click back to their site, and then figure out WHY their comment has drawn you in. If you can write your own comments like that – not too pushy, not too lax, just interesting enough – then you should be a pro in no time!

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  2. Robin says:

    Love this article! This is so easy and yet soooo, um… difficult for some! I think some just comment to comment and shouldn’t be following that particular blog at all, so I think it’s best listed as #1. Great post! I bookmarked it and will revisit again!
    Thanks,
    Robin

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  3. Robin, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. For me, the biggest challenge is to find the time to post comments :)

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  4. AD, studying other people’s comments is a great idea!
    Dana

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  5. Thanks for the helpful tips, kindly worded. I have, in eagerness, made mistakes in leaving a comment. One person’s “helpful” is another person’s “trying to grab attention.” Bloggers are sensitive folks, when you blog, you are deliberately vulnerable. I try not to make them regret the act of writing and sharing.

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  6. Amber says:

    Quinn, EVERYONE who’s left more than a handful of comments has left at least one a sensible person would never, ever leave.

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  7. Thanks for your comments Quinn Creative and Amber. I think a good rule of thumb is to consider how you would feel if the comment you’re writing were posted on your own blog. Would you find it helpful or inappropriate?
    Dana

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  8. Nancy Scuri says:

    I loved this post. Lots of us have blogs, but feedback makes things so much better. Knowing what my readers like and dislike is very helpful when I’m trying to come up with posting ideas.

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  9. Thanks Nancy. You can encourage comments on your own blog posts by asking for them at the end of some of the posts. For example, if I wrote a post about the importance of using video to promote books, I could end the article with something like this:

    “What about you – how are you using video in your own book promotions? Please share by leaving a comment below, and feel free to link to your video.”

    Dana

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  10. Dan McQuinn says:

    I find authors who use blatantly promotional signatures tacky and insulting.

    Dan McQuinn
    Author of \Kids Say The Cutest Things When They’re Drunk: A Book of Pointless Satire and Vulgar Humor\

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  11. nice article.Its known fact that blog comments will give you one way backlinks and it will pass the PR juice and increase your search engine ranking if the link doesn’t have rel=nofollow tag.

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  12. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Commenting is a good way to get links to your website, if the blog is not using no follow tags.

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  13. Jea says:

    Great post!

    (That was meant to be ironic. Echo everything you said here. I feel like everyone thinks social media is the key to self-promotion now, but they keep forgetting that it’s _social_. If there’s no real relationship and no real engagement, there’s no benefit, personally or professionally.)

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  14. [...] One of the best ways that you can begin to network online and draw the attention of other successful site owners (and their followers) is to leave comments on their posts. Dana Lynn Smith (aka The Savvy Book Marketer) has a wonderful guest post on BookBuzzr with tips for The Right (and Wrong) Way to Comment on Blogs. [...]

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