How To Build Targetted Traffic With Blog Comments
A great online marketing campaign is a delicate weave of interlacing parts, all coexisting together in beautiful symmetry to form a web within the web, eventually stringing users back to our page. Too dramatic? OK, fine.
Simply put, in order to have a great online marketing campaign, and internet presence in general, there are a ton of different aspects that you have to pay attention to. A major one is comment marketing.
Perhaps no other aspect of marketing is more controversial and misguided than this one. There are tons of black hats, white hats, blue hats, men without hats (remember that band?), and people with hats that you don’t even know, and probably don’t even want to know, exist.
All of them competing for precious links and recognition. There are a ton of ways you can do comment marketing the right way, and there are certainly tons that are the wrong way. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how to drive targeted traffic to your page with comment marketing.
What is comment marketing, and why are we doing it?
That’s a good question. In a nutshell, it is the use of comments on blogs where you offer analysis, support, or other valuable information in order to gain a benefit for yourself.
In most cases, a comment is left in hopes that a link within the comment ends up giving you some link juice. This, however, shouldn’t be your main goal (as we will see later on). The real reason that you should be doing this is to gain respectability, build relationships with people, and hope to use these as platforms to drive targeted traffic.
The people who read the comments are often influencers in the industry. People who can spread your message, get you some recognition, and really build your presence. That is what we are aiming to benefit from. Also, it is important not to forget the value of being put in front of the face of the person who actually wrote the blog. Your end goal should be to trigger reciprocity within the industry. So let’s sum it up:
In comment marketing your goals should be:
- Gain recognition, and build awareness within the industry
- Build trust. People will know your name, and trust your expertise.
- Gain likeability. People are people, and we are social animals. We tend to prefer to work with and help people that we get along with socially, and enjoy interacting with. By commenting, adding something of value, and giving genuine compliments to a blogger is a great way to gain an ally in the industry.
Remember that your goal is not to build links directly!
Oh, that’s awesome…how do we do it?
That’s the hard part. So first before we understand how to do it, let’s see how not to do it. Blackhat tactics such as comment spamming where you leave a vaguely related link is not the way to go. In fact, that is the worst thing that you can do.
Often, these links are left across the blogosphere en masse in the hopes that just a tiny few somehow get clicked, approved, or linked to. Not only will it send red flags to people in the industry if you do this, it will hurt your rankings should the search engine determine that you have too many low-quality links out there. If you have done this in the past, you might like our guide on How to easily find, analyse and remove bad links.
Next, there is the grey area. When you aren’t necessarily doing anything bad, but not helping yourself either. This is when you just leave comments for the sake of leaving them, without contributing very much at all. For instance, your friend writes an excellent blog on baking veggie pizza in a cast iron with a burnt crust and bear batter on the bottom (so good, try it), and you leave a comment “Yum. I love pizza”. Good.Job.Dude. Thanks for sharing. You’ve successfully contributed nothing. What’s worse is people will now recognize your name, but for the simple reason that your “that annoying guy who never says anything of value”. Reputation ruined.
Remember: when you comment make sure to leave something of value! A normal, congratulatory comment isn’t doing you any good.
Oh, ok. What should I do then?
As we said, your goal should be to leave high-quality, insightful, analytic, or otherwise valuable comments so that you can build awareness in the community, build trust and likeability with the movers and shakers of the industry, and maybe earn yourself a guest post, a shout out, or a link in some other way down the road. Remember, you aren’t trying to go directly for links. That is spam. Some good tips to keep in mind are:
First, remember to use the same name and avatar across multiple sites. This way you can build a presence. You don’t want to be posting on multiple different names, when you can consolidate it into one.
If you have a human face for your avatar, then all the better. Remember, you are trying to gain trust and likeability, and we as people tend to like other people’s faces (sometimes). It’s much easier to gain this when you offer up a picture of yourself (preferably smiling).
Don’t be afraid to disagree. Don’t create controversy if possible, but creating a stimulating debate in which you can show off your expertise is a great way to build awareness.
Don’t insult people, offer alternatives. If are genuinely respectful, then disagreeing and giving a detailed analysis as to why X is a great way to build some clout within the industry is fine. Think about it, who do you think is going to be seen as more of an expert, the person who just says yes and agrees with everyone no matter what they post, or the person who is able to have his/her own opinion, who can construct a valid argument, and stands by their convictions?
If you are really passionate about it, then write your own post about why you disagree. Not only is it a great way to fuel a valuable debate, it is a great way to get people to come read your stuff from the other thread.
Don’t Link Spam
If you do happen to leave a link, don’t leave one to something that is paid. That’s the worst. However, if it is something that is free and open for everyone to use, then it’s a good idea to leave it.
Also, if leaving one, give a shout out to the owner of the blog or the moderator and tell them that you are leaving text, and that it is up to them to decide if it should go live or not. Don’t leave it as a URL, as that often puts people off. When it’s done respectfully, you have a much better chance at getting them to let it stay.
Target The Right Blogs
It might sound obvious, but you need to remember to target the right kind of blogs, and the right kind of people. Don’t be afraid to contribute to communities that aren’t that large, or aren’t that popular. These people are often the up and comers in the industry, and are far more likely to actually interact with you, link to you, and reciprocate.
The real kicker here is that the fewer people they have commenting, the more likely they are to greatly appreciate your efforts when you are the guy that is commenting on all of their posts. They will love you. Your goal as always here is to find the right people.
You won’t be getting directly in front of customers and that’s ok, remember, the idea is to influence the people who will influence your customers. Look for people who write in your industry, make videos or sell other products. They are out there, and they are who you want to hook up with. This is the real goal of comment marketing. Some great tools to find influencers are Buzzsumo and Topsy.
Don’t Try To Sell Stuff
Don’t ever pimp your own products. Nobody likes the snake oil salesman in disguise. You talk about something, offer some help, feign kindness, and then at the end you turn it around and start selling them something.
This is a sure fire way to engulf your nice social bridge in a horrendous inferno. Not only does it make you look shady, it makes you look spammy. What you can do is give people some directions to helpful content that you have made, or maybe ask the blogger personally to show your website, tool, product, or what have you.
The last thing you want to do is actually sell in your comments though. And one last thing, don’t say you are an SEO or marketer in your profile. That is going to make people think you are out to get something from them, or they are going to be skeptical about your motivations.
Use descriptive language and actually tell them what you do in other words such as “I help run a successful web community” , or “Communications manager” . Just avoid any of the red flag buzzwords like marketer, comment marketer, SEO marketer, etc.
So there you go, some tips on what to do and what not to do when trying to run a successful comment marketing campaign. This issue is one that is fraught with controversy, and often misunderstood. Your goal should not be to directly build links, it should be to build a presence that people want to link to. Gain trust, visibility, clout, respect, and build some relationships along the way, that should be your goal here.
So next time you are thinking about leaving some comments on blogs to grow your internet presence, remember to put on your white hat, and leave those macabre black hats at home for something else.