Leaving Blog Comments: The Goldilocks Approach

Leaving comments on other people’s blogs is one of the unwritten rules of blogging. The notion of do unto others as you would have them do unto you should be obvious to bloggers who constantly seek to get more blogs comments, but, alsa, it’s not. Nor is the social media mantra of “Pay it forward,” at least where commenting on other blogs are concerned. To help you establish this habit of leaving comments on blogs, take the Goldilocks approach.

3 Ways to comment on blogs

The biggest piece of advice that well-known bloggers give newbie bloggers, especially those looking to attract comments and build a following, is to read other people’s blogs and comment on them. Commenting on other blogs means adding to the conversation in a way that contributes to the community. Here are three suggestions to help you frame your blog comments.

  1. Provide meaty content. Don’t just say “Nice post.” Agree or disagree with blogger and state why. The benefit of this type of comments is that it can inspire you to write a post on your own blog. (Of course, if you extend the conversation on your blog, it’s good form to link back to the originator of the conversation.)
  2. Offer new insights or research to expand the conversation. Every one loves data so this is a great way to get noticed. For example, Arnie Kuenn did this on my recent column on Content Marketing Institute.
  3. Give an example to support the point made in the article. Show and tell is always useful to readers. Or, use a story from your own experience that personalizes the author’s point.

The one way not to comment on blogs

You shouldn’t use blog comments to promote your blog or business by leaving links back to your website. It’s bad form. While some commenting software will generate links back to your blog, understand that, as social media platforms, blogs aren’t a forum to toot your own horn or push your marketing messages. Further, many bloggers use “NoFollow” for links left in comments or may not post them if they contain offensive or derogatory content. If you have news the blogger might be interested in, contact him via another communication channel.

The Goldilocks approach to leaving comments on blogs

For bloggers, the question often is: “How many blogs should I comment on?”  Take the Goldilocks approach to commenting on blogs. Visit three blogs a day and comment on them. There’s no statistical basis for the choice of three blogs. This assumes you read the current post, think about your response and write it. Since not every blog you check will have a post that inspires you, you may need to read a few extra posts. With the Goldilocks rule of three blog comments, you can accomplish this blog-related chore in 15 -30 minutes depending on how quickly you read and write.  When choosing where to comment, follow Goldilock’s approach.

  1. Daddy blog. Like the Daddy Bear chair, select a second tier blog in your category because it’s well-established but not so large that your comment will get lost.
  2. Mommy blog. This blog is also bigger than yours but focuses on your niche. Therefore it’s useful for being seen on a regular basis.
  3. Kiddie blog. This blog is just the right size. It’s help to pick a blog that’s a similar size to your own blog. This blog may be below the established media’s radar but offers great insights and/or conversation. When you leave a comment here, there’s a good bet that the blogger and will respond and check your blog out.

Like other forms of social media, it’s important to give this strategy time to have an impact. It’s also important to be consistent. This doesn’t mean that you must visit the same three blogs everyday but rather return to these blogs on a regular basis to become a recognized member of their community as you expand your network. For example, with three comments a day, you can visit thirty blogs over a two week period.

Are there any other tips that you have for bloggers to regarding leaving comments on blogs?  If so, please leave them in the comment section.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Note: Inspiration for this topic came form the 125 Free Blog Topics. Need help writing, hop over for some motivation!

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Photo credit: Wickenden via Flickr

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15 Responses to Leaving Blog Comments: The Goldilocks Approach

  1. Ashley says:

    Hi Heidi,

    Yes! I HATE generic comments. I do think it’s okay — even good — to leave a link inside the comment to your specific post is it’s very relevant to the post you’re commenting on and flows with your comment. And in these circumstances, you have to earn the blogger’s trust and interest by writing something thoughtful and relevant.

    If you do this properly, the commented blogger will probably appreciate direction to another perspective and your interest in his/her point of view. This will lead to richer discussion.

    Done lazily or frequently and yes, that’s very rude and transparent. But I think there is a right way to do it, especially if you only do it sparingly. If you don’t have anything valuable and thoughtful to say, or don’t care about the post, don’t comment on it!

    -Ashley (See you at #blogchat! @cartooninperson)

  2. I found your post very informative and I learnt a lot about blogging. It was great and easy to understand. Keep it up!


  3. John Twohig says:

    Very useful blog, being a new-be, the only difficulty is with your advice on the size of blogs. How do you differentiate the size. Is there an easy way to tell? -JT

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      John–The big blogs are the ones that are the top ones in your category. The next tier can be difficult to assess. Small blogs are new blogs with limited comments, etc. The advice is a guideline. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  4. murray kirk says:

    I am a newbie blogger though unfortunately, no longer a newbie person. What? I cant say “Nice Post”? But it was a nice post and I like your blog and if I/we dont tell you that you might stop posting which would be bad because I/we need you as a model to look for inspiration and no small amount of useful information about better blogging. Ok, that was a borderline run-on sentence.
    I have found that even with my own family, if i dont do something both direct and meaningful (such as commenting intelligently on their latest blog post about their impending wedding or whatever ) to get their attention they will never even visit my blog let alone read it or heaven forbid, leave a considered comment. Having said this, I can honestly say that finding a positive comment on my blog is like finding a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk, it’s just an all around wonderful feeling. And again, thanks for the “Nice Post” !

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Murray – You are right that sometimes the only thing that a reader can say is thank you. As a blogger, a thank you from my readers is worth a lot. In the post, my point was to encourage readers to leave comments that add to the overall conversation. Thank you for stopping by. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  5. As a newbie blogger, I found your suggestions very practical and helpful. I have moderated my comment section on my blog, because I have been shocked by the amount of spam comments I got. I am learning through Twitter more than anywhere the value of the “conversation”. I will try the Goldilocks method (by the way I am not sure if you are a Daddy or a Mommy, but assume you are not a “kiddie.” All the best and thanks.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Christine–Congrats on starting your blog. Glad that my advice was useful to you. With blogging, it’s important to remember that it’s a process. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  6. Just kidding on my previous reply.

    I fully agree with you. Just saying “nice post” is just a waste of time and e-space. It is a sign of laziness. Blogging is for interaction.

    I have seen “nice post” or its kind even in Linkedin conversations. (Maybe there should be more “Like” buttons as Facebook has.) If you don’t have anything to add to the conversation, don’t reply. It is easy to ask a question, add a point or a provide an example regarding the blogging subject.
    When I post a comment, I am always pleasantly surprised to hear back from the blogger as well.

  7. Renee Malove says:

    Also, finish your first cup of coffee before trying to type. It cuts back dramatically on misspellings and typos you didn’t realize you had until afterwards! GoinG, GoinG…

  8. Renee Malove says:

    Ask a question! Futher the conversation.

    I’m goin to draw back to my writer’s group for a moment on this one. When we read each other’s work we not only offer a “awesome” or “this is terrible and should be ground into dust” we also offer up conversation points. Something you particularly liked and can relate to your own life or work.

    Most bloggers don’t blog because they like tossing facts out there. That’s what white papers are for. They blog because they like interacting with other people. If you offer up a thought or a conversation point, there’s a good chance they’re going to respond! Then the flow of information flows both ways and you both benefit.

    There is one point I disagree with, however. Okay, not really disagree. More view as a conditional statement? There are times when it’s perfectly appropriate to provide a link to your own site. For example, I had someone offer a comment on my blog comparing a recent post to one they had written in the past. It flowed as part of the conversation and would have benefitted greatly from a link. If you feel your site can add something to the conversation, something worth the writer’s time to check out, then by all means. Provide a link. But don’t do it in shameless self promotion. Do it because you genuinely have something to offer.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Renee- Thank you for your input. As a veteran of many writing groups, your insights resonate with me. While being part of a supportive group encourages positive feedback, on one’s own, even writers can forget to be positive in their additions.

      I would argue that bloggers vary in their motivation for blogging. Not all blogs seek to build a community. This blog does and I’m grateful for contributions like yours.

      As for including links, I agree that they shouldn’t be used for promotion.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

    • Renee Malove says:

      Sorry, I’ve been a slacker on the blog reading lately! If a blogger isn’t striving to build a community, why launch a blog at all? Why not a regularly updated article section?