Blog Tips 1: Blogs Need Two-Way Comments

This marks the occasional blogging tip series inspired by a comment on a blog that warranted a tip series about comments on blogs. Make sense?

While I didn’t read the actual blog post, I did read a comment on the post (not sure how that happened), and it went something like this:

“Thanks for this post about whether I should comment on my own blog when someone comments. I now won’t do it because I think the comment section is for the voice of the reader and not me because they already heard my voice in the post.”

GASP! I AM AGOG!

Please, bloggers, never do this.

  • Blogging is NOT a one-way street; that goes for the comment section, too.
  • If you want to build community, you have to engage in comments.
  • People who comment expect the blogger’s response!
  • If you don’t comment, then no one is home; you look dark, curtains drawn, not-welcome sign in the window.

If I comment in your house and you don’t respond? I’m never coming back because that’s rude.

If someone comments and disagrees with what I say and wants me to explain what I’ve written, but I don’t reply in comments…that’s grounds for divorce.

Blogger’s Tip 1: Always respond to comments on your blog.

Jayme Soulati is the Author of Writing with Verve on the Blogging Journey. After more than three years of blogging and writing a ton about blogging, she knows how to build community and responding to all comments is rule numero uno.

 

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Blogging For Community Or Clients?

By Jayme Soulati, Chicago River, Wendella Boat

It’s summer, and I prefer a laissez-faire approach to blogging that matches my inability to be super productive because, as all of you know, I’m a #MomInSummer with no help.

What that means is the writing of pretty easy blog posts suitable for my community which get everyone thinking (none too hard) and generate a bunch of comments. In addition, I’m not doing too much hard work to add proof points and evidence that my opinion matters as evidenced by big data or research.

Is this a problem?

When I look at the really established bloggers with hundreds of tweets for each post (and often very few comments), it gives me pause. Should I be writing heavier content to impress would-be clients to show I know my stuff in business-to-business social media marketing with public relations? (Had to stuff that key word phrase in somewhere, didn’t I?)

Or, can I go ahead and offer up thinkable topics that align in and around the community while being accessible and sharing ‘raderie that I so love to do? There are times when I am hit in the face with hard business topics, and these require a different approach to writing; that’s when the smarts really show up, and it gets peeps thinking or running away. Comments become fewer, but traffic is there. People don’t often find the need to say anything because, well, I don’t know the because…this has often baffled me…the posts that say a lot about nothing; the bare-your-soul posts; the I-have-a-problem-and-maybe-you-can-help-me posts; the simple-non-thinking-fill-space-posts; seem to ALWAYS get the most comments.

Why?

What does that say about communities? Would people rather alight on a topic that’s airy and fluffy or get fodder that contributes to business topics?

In my thinking about this post, four heavy-hitting bloggers come to mind:

Heidi Cohen

Shelly Kramer

Adrienne Smith

Wonder of Tech

I love these four women who write the same all the time; hard-hitting news, tips, reviews, educational material, and more. I can count on them for good insight, and I can learn from them, too. Laura Click came over the other day and said she knew she was writing for clients and not her peers, and that’s why her comments from peers were fewer than when she launched her blog and engaged her peers more.

What that says to bloggers is a good lesson to heed.

If your blog is lackadaisical in approach, topic, content, goals, then take a look at these five women bloggers and look at their consistency of style. Are you writing for your community or your clients? Do you care?

About Negative Blog Comments

A boatload of bloggers has been following Mitch Joel’s lead and talking about how they blog. There have been some wonderful posts that look inside many bloggers’ strategy from Mark Schaefer, Gini Dietrich, Jason Konopinski, and others. From what Ken Mueller discovered over at Inkling Media when he posed that question to some of us, people seem to get out the keyboard and just write already.

Me, too. No notes, just thought processes in ideation all the time taking up valuable brain space. Since blogging began for me two years ago, everything is a story, everything has an angle, everything is blog fodder.  It’s maddening, and I read science fiction at night to shut down.

About Negative Comments

So, rather than follow Mitch Joel’s challenge to share how I blog (oh, maybe I already did that), I want to look at a very intrinsic part of blogging that makes the world go round. It’s comments, but it’s not the type of comment you might think.

Detractors and bot spammers and people with some real negativity are showing up in comments. This has happened to me when I post on a national level, and it’s no fun. It also happened last week over at a client site, JD Match,  where someone named Bob asked me if I didn’t have anything better to do than to blog about something that detracted from making the world a better place.

Over at Spin Sucks yesterday, my friend Jenn Whinnem wrote a post about her employer, Connecticut Health Foundation and how it measures success. A headline adjustment caused the headline to imply they were measuring ROI; her article didn’t really address that. The comments came out of the gate fast and aggressive. For a guest blogger who rarely blogs to feel that angst on the receiving end, it’s not fun when you’re on the firing line.

There is a range of emotions I experience when I read a negative comment the first time. Let me try to share what they are and see if you have experienced any of the same:

1. Immediate lack of confidence. Did I write something wrong? What did I say that didn’t sit well? Should I go find it and switch the language?

2. Angst. Darn it, I hit publish too quickly; I was in a squirrely mood and it showed in the flip tone. I needed to let that post sit over night.

3. Anger. The urge to launch back with a slew of discourteous words is so tempting I fire off a retort then come to my senses and delete and rewrite something as smooth as silk pie.

4. Relief. After I reread the negative comment, I realize while it’s directed at me, it’s not about me. It’s about the commenter who likes to bring discomfort to bloggers in their own community.

Managing negativity in a blogging community is one thing. When you write at a national level, it’s expected. If you’re a guest in someone else’s community with a guest post, there ought to be respect. Well, heck, there ought to be respect anywhere, but that’s a bit lacking at times, isn’t it?

At Michelle Quillin’s house today over at New England Multimedia, I’ve written a guest post, 10 Tips To Handle Negative Blog Comments. I’m certain her community will be nice to me as a guest, and I’m hopeful, too, the 10 tips will prepare someone for how to manage a bit of angst in comments.

Now, it’s your turn…how do you manage detractors and dissenting comments?  Please share so we can all learn.

 

 

 

This Is Your Social Media Sharing Quiz

I wasn’t going to blog today as I’m feeling extreme stress and inability to comprehend life and the pursuit of happiness.

Chalk it up to not having taxes done, select soccer, taekwando belt testing, yard work, client service, a newly combined blog and website with fabulous SEO and powerful inbound marketing, pulling my upper calf muscle (again) on the tennis court and burning the skin from an ice pack…sorry, just had to get that all off my chest.

Then I read PR Breakfast Club today by John Trader, and he writes a wonderful  piece about Ragu and empathy; read it, you’ll like his creative bridge just as I did.

I’m getting to the point, promise. I went to share this down below in comments just like a good commenter should.  I hit “Share+” expecting it to be Google+. Instead, I got a litany of sites on which to share. I kept scrolling and scrolling to find the bottom and was astonished at the variety and my apparent lack of intelligence about mostly any of these.

Upon further inspection, I think we’ve got a list of world-wide shares, as I see some language I can’t understand and extensions in Russia, among others. For the purposes of today’s post (which I wasn’t going to write), I challenge anyone to dissect these below. Mind you , it took about 10 screen shots to capture these as I couldn’t enlarge the pop-up window (did you see that story on pop-up restaurants today in the Wall Street Journal?  Budding restaurateurs trying/testing cuisine concepts, ala Kosher foods, in lobbies of other businesses that close at night; neat marketing idea.

Are you familiar with even ¼ of these listed below? Have some fun, and now I’m going to go away and try to breathe.

P.S. If you scroll to the bottom and see this post script (I have no idea where it ends up with all these images), you know it took me longer to set up these darn jpg than to write the post, eh?

Have a great weekend, dear Friends!

Does Your Blog Make Commenters Comfy?

I was along for the ride on one of the most contentious (according to comments) blog posts ever, and based on “Popular Posts” tallies in his sidebar the highest-number-of-comments (250) as of this moment (and no signs of stopping).

I’m speaking of Marcus Sheridan who writes The Sales Lion. He owns a swimming pool company and said he turned to social media in the downtick to save his business. Everyone talks about him, and his brand is authentic and popular. I read my first blog post of his via my reader one late night and was so blown away by his writing and content I kept it as “unread.”

So, in earnest, I read his post early Friday morning about Blog World because I had really wanted to go and meet some great folks. Marcus’s post was the first recap I would read; however, it’s turned more into a critique free for all with the show’s organizers, other speakers, other attendees, and even people who “most offended” those in audience during the final keynote.  You can read it all here; it’s amazing.

But, that’s not what this blog post was intended to be about, although it’s a really nice segue.

I was duly impressed with the comfortable feeling I got when I first arrived at Marcus’s blog on Friday and felt compelled to comment and then began to hijack the comments in usual banter with Gini Dietrich. Gini and Marcus assured me it was OK to do so when I said, “oops, apologies if this isn’t cool.”

What that means is a huge welcome mat is open at The Sales Lion. I just went back to check, he has no “Ad Age Power Blogger” badge or other award-winning badges in his sidebar (although, I know if he tried, he’d win something hands down). By welcoming comments from the small and large, unknown and well known, The Sales Lion allows all of us to commune within his community, and that’s what he’s done tremendously well – create a vast community.

The comments rolled in all day long on Friday and were still going strong through the night, on Saturday and today (Sunday). I was overwhelmed and wondered how on earth someone receiving that measure of comments could get any work done? (Marcus, how do you do that? Manage comments without them controlling your time?) Curious, I decided to check in Friday during dinner and see how the comments were tracking.

Lo, the one I opened was TO Gini Dietrich and it was ABOUT how comfortable the woman felt leaving a comment because others were not just “trolling.” (I assume that means bantering?) She felt her thoughts would be sincerely welcome.

And, so, the topic for this post was being written on a napkin in a restaurant and the one comment I decided to open confirmed it was a viable topic. Oh, yeah, and Gini just had to pop in to also confirm we are the same person.

Think about your welcome mat on your blog. What would commenters say about your house? If you need a lesson, head on over to Marcus’s and see the warmth and sincerity with which he invites you in. He doesn’t need any badges in his margin; he’s already an exponential power.

I’ve written about this before, but this level of engagement is so hugely quality that I need to share. It’s Marcus’s grace, sincerity, authenticity, and balance with which he responds to each and every commenter and not just with a brush-off. He engages people and invites them back without asking.

We can all learn just by observing; my take-aways are still in gel form, but the first lesson is right here.