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The Strategy of Blog Commenting – Case Study

Along with blogging itself, commenting is a powerful tool of networking and branding. A popular blog represents the huge niche community you might want to be a part of. The reasons behind blog commenting are:

1/ leaving comments on other people’s popular blogs is a good method to network;
2/ regular commenting is a smart branding tool;
4/ this technique helps in building the faithful readership by generating highly targeted traffic;
3/ when done well, comments can generate traffic to your website;

Now before I go into details, let me summarize the points I came to when analyzing the topic. To make your comment stand out, try to:

- add value to an article;
- ask a question;
- criticize the blog author or an active poster;
- disagree with the community;
- be emotional;
- use a funny nickname.

My case study was inspired by an article posted on one of my favorite blogs problogger.net listing the most effective tips of blog commenting. So I decided to test these strategies in practice. For this I chose a post on one of the most popular celebrity blogs justjared.com generating between 100 to 2000 comments daily (yeah, this sounds like magic to me too).

The post is about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt visiting Beowulf premiere, and at the moment when I started my research, the article had 455 comments (which made 16 pages). I chose this very niche and article due to:
* the huge number of comments to analyze (this makes the task to get noticed with your comment even more challenging);
* two opposing parties: the fans and the haters of the celebrity couple (this gave me the opportunity to look into all commenting strategies).

While evaluating the reaction to a comment, I took into consideration only the direct responses (i.e. quoting and addressing a poster). I also paid attention to the quoting rate (assuming that the number of times the comment was quoted equals the number of times the link to your website is repeated).

1/ Adding value to the conversation by sharing some sensitive information proved to be the most effective technique:

add The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

This post generated 12 direct responses throughout the article. Five of them contained the quote, so if Lady G had included the link to her comment, it would have been repeated five times.

Surely, it is important to get in with your comment early (at least on the first page). Another useful contribution which seemed to appeal to the community:

add 6page The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

generated only 3 direct responses.

2/ Asking a topical question is another good way to get noticed.
question The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

This question posted on the first page generated 5 responses (2 of them quoting the original poster).

A hot highly relevant question (like asking about Jennifer Anniston when talking about Pitt and Jolie) can prove to be really effective even when being posted on the 14th page:

question 14page The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

The above comment generated 4 immediate responses (2 of them quoting the original poster and the links shared by him)… Imagine this, even I followed the link to check if that really was Anniston icon smile The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

3/ Criticizing also proved really effective (especially when you criticize one of the active posters respected by the community):

criticize The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

- was followed by the heated discussion (5 direct replies) with no quoting though.

A funny observation here: being critical to yourself can even be more effective – quite a number of both direct and indirect responses followed the comment where the poster was comparing herself to the celebrity:

disagree 11page The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

4/ Posting an opposite opinion to one obviously prevailing throughout the community did not have much effect (only one direct reply):

disagree The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

This might be due to the niche specificity though. Because of the huge number of active haters, they are mostly ignored, but short unreasoned cases of disagreeing did manage to provoke some kind of reaction.

5/ Highly emotional comments:

emotional The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study

- also generated 1 direct response.

6/ Choosing a funny nickname

funny name1 The Strategy of Blog Commenting   Case Study
drew only one comment but right in the middle of the thread (on the 5th page).

Thus my observations brought me to a few important conclusions:

1/ To make your words stand out from the crowd you should be an expert in your niche and know your audience to tell which comments will appeal to them.
2/ To become the part of your topical community, you should be a part of your audience (reading the popular blogs and forums within your niche might help a lot).
3/ Commenting should be done thoughtfully: follow the conversation, add answers and be creative.

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  1. 9 Responses to “The Strategy of Blog Commenting – Case Study”

  2. Commenting or should I say getting comments might be the biggest challenge we face as bloggers or it is foe me

    By Making Sales Making Money on Dec 1, 2007

  3. Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

    By Copirait on Jan 31, 2010

  4. I enjoyed your posts on SEOmoz and SEJ after and I defiantly enjoyed this one! :)

    By What Is My IP Address on Aug 8, 2010

  5. Oh, you have an error on the comments human validation page. look it up.

    By What Is My IP Address on Aug 8, 2010

  6. Bahut accha lund hai

    By Online Tutoring,Home Tutor Delhi, Home Tutor Mumbai, Home Tutor Bangalore, Home Tutor Chennai, Home Tutor Hyderabad, Home Tutor Pune, Home Tutor Chandigarh, Home Tutor Kolkata,Home Tutor Ahmedabad on Sep 2, 2010

  7. Haha, I definitely agree with your ways for a comment to stand out. I especially like asking questions relevant to the topic(not just for the purpose of standing out but also to learn more about the topic). I mean if you’re unfamiliar with the topic, you would ask questions right? Asking questions also show interest to the topic too… right? Would, anyone beg to disagree? lol.

    By SubmitYOURArticle.com on Sep 14, 2010

  8. Encouraging constructive and interesting comments can really only come with the 6 things you mention above, specifically asking a question, stirring emotions or disagreeing with the crowd.

    People love to give their input and ideas but if you can post things that ‘get their goat’ so to speak or hit on their emotions, they’ll jump in almost every time.

    By liz on Sep 29, 2010

  9. Hey,

    I really enjoyed reading this information. I believe your first point is the best. If you do not add value, add to the conversation, or actually build on the topic that is shared. Than I would call any other comment spam to be completely honest in my book.

    Just my two cents.

    Eric

    By Eric Pangburn on Feb 5, 2013

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