This guest post is by Jane Sheeba of Find All Answers.
Commenting on other blogs is an integrated part of blogging, and it’s vital. You need people for successful blogging and blog commenting is one of the coolest ways to build loyal relationships.
This post is based on Joe’s guest post here at ProBlogger, where he wisely gave a strategy for commenting on other blogs. I want to add more to it, to make the strategy energy- and time-efficient.
Effective blog commenting
Commenting on other blogs can be overwhelming if you try to combine it with your regular blogging activities. Let me tell you my regular blogging activities: writing blog posts, moderating comments on my blog, replying to those comments, reading other blogs in my niche, writing guest posts, dealing with guest post submissions, dealing with paid projects, commenting on other blogs, participating in social media … you get the idea.
So even though I know the importance of commenting on other blogs, I just cannot devote a whole day to it. It’s part of my strategy, though, so I need to be efficient in my commenting. “Effificent” means working smart (rather than hard), getting more done in less in less time, and making things easy to handle.
I recently wrote about an effective blog commenting strategy at my blog, so I won’t rehash the details here. Instead, we’ll focus on making your blog commenting strategy more efficient.
Using RSS feeds and organizing them
RSS feeds are not dead! Many people use them—in fact, I prefer to subscribe to a blog via the feed before going for an email subscription. There are two reasons for this:
- Reading a blog through feeds is less distracting, even if I have email notifiers turned on.
- I don’t want to submit my email address to a blog without analyzing the content first. Reading a blog’s content via feeds help me examine the quality of the content and makes me decide if I will submit my email or not.
In fact, RSS feeds are not just for reading your favorite blogs—they will help you greatly with blog commenting. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to practice a regular blog commenting schedule via your Google reader.
I find this method to be very organized. I allocate 30 minutes every day to visit my Google reader and comment on unread posts.
There is one more benefit to it: if the feeds are full (that is, not partial feeds), you can save yourself a click. I read the post in my RSS reader, and click through to the article online only if I want to leave a comment. That saves me loads of time!
I also have added an extension to my Chrome browser that displays the number of unread items in my feeds (this is not notification, and hence no interruption to my day). For Firefox, there are a handful of extensions available to help you monitor your feed list.
Use social media, especially Twitter
I use Twitter to engage with others and promote my content. Again, commenting is about relationships first—then promotion.
I follow a tight number of people, so there is little chance that I’ll be distracted. At the time of writing this post, I have 870 followers and I’m following 60 people. Call me crazy, but I really don’t want noise on my timeline—and that’s one of the reasons I’m not being followed by masses of people. They follow me, wait for me to follow them, then unfollow me if I don’t.
I use Twitter as a tool to find good blogs to comment on. One of its advantages is that, unlike the RSS reader, where I see only the blogs I visit, Twitter helps me find new blogs.
And, if I’m impressed by the content of a blog, I can add it to my RSS subscription list and become a loyal reader and commenter. This approach has brought me some good traffic.
If you are a regular user of Twitter, you should have encountered Tweets like these:
You can create a newspaper, or “daily,” out of your participation at Twitter and Facebook. Don’t worry about creating content for your daily—it’s all automated. You don’t even have to create an account: you can use your Twitter or Facebook accounts to log in to the service.
Once you’re logged in, you can create some specifications and hastags that form the focus of your daily. A typical paper will look like this:
I skim my own daily and collect a handful of new blogs that I rapidly check out to see if they’re worth commenting on, and adding to my Google Reader. I also skim others’ papers to see if they’re following any blogs I should investigate.
How do you find these papers?
Your daily can be set to be automatically tweeted once it’s created, as the image above shows. So if you’re following your timeline, you should be easily able to capture two or three dailies that the people you’re following have created. This will introduce you to a good number of new blogs.
Use Google Alerts
Setting up Google Alerts is an efficient way to find highly targeted blogs in your niche. You could set up an alert for a particular keyword, and ask Google to notify you of only blogs that talk about that topic.
I normally set a weekly frequency for these email notifications, as daily is a bit too much for me. You can find more details about setting up Alerts here.
Focus on quality
Always focus on quality in your writing, whether it’s a blog post or a comment. I personally put the same amount of effort into writing comments as I do my blog posts.
The content is content—and it is your idea. With comments, you are providing opinion, tips, and suggestions in the same way you do in blog posts. I don’t see a real difference between them, other than length and the location of the finished content.
Your comment brands you and your business. It speaks for you. If you leave shabby, spammy, useless comments, you’ll ruin your reputation and your blog’s identity. For this reason, I don’t find it compelling or mandatory to leave a comment on every post I read. Not even on those blogs at which I am a regular reader, including ProBlogger.
Sometimes, we just don’t feel like we need to say something. In such situations, reading the post and leaving without commenting is far far better than pushing yourself to make a comment.
Do you use any of these tips already? How have you made your blog commenting strategy as efficient as possible?
Jane writes about Blogging Tips, Relationships and Self Improvement at her blog Find All Answers. You can grab your copies of “Problogging for Newbies” and “Your guide to Better Time Management” upon subscribing to her blog. She has a working strategy for successful guest posting.