Imagine you've just read an absolutely fantastic post.
What do you do next? Smile and move on? Consider who might benefit if you shared it? Have an urge to say what you think?
Most people don't manage the third option. But if they do, they consider the comment box merely as a method of just responding to the post.
Which means they are losing a trick! There's so much more to commenting, as this infographic explains why:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
1. Showing appreciation
If you were a blogger and you received a comment that praised your writing, how would you feel? First make sure this comment was not a deviously spammy one (click on the link to find out what I mean by this).
Having established this was a real comment from a real reader, I bet you felt pretty awesome! It's really good to feel appreciated and that your writing has made a difference to someone.
A properly constructed appreciative comment certainly means a lot more than just responding to say 'Nice post'. Next time you read something good, take time to consider how you could let the blogger know what you really think of their post.
2. Offering feedback
We all benefit from feedback on what we do. This is a great incentive that encourages us to write more posts, preferably in the same successful style. If it worked the first time, it could work again!
Writing a good comment with constructive criticism is extremely helpful for a blogger. Even negative feedback when presented sensitively and with relevant backed-up material can can be worth receiving.
Once the initial shock is over, whatever the style of feedback, a wise blogger will re-read the comment to fully understand what was said and/or implied. This is so much more helpful than merely just responding.
3. Continuing the conversation
An experienced blogger will be effectively communicating with their readers. Their writing style will be made more readable by being in a conversational style, something their readers can instantly relate to.
This good practice can be matched by the commenter. Comments that continue the conversation started in the post are extremely attractive to readers and other commenters. We all love a good discussion or enjoy some juicy gossip, and the comment section is just the place to do this.
Think what you could say that is instantly attractive to other readers as well as the blogger. Offer a pertinent question or a controversial statement that would stimulate a better reaction than merely just responding to the post.
4. Helping others
Commenting allows you to showcase your best attributes to a wider audience than your own blog. However, this doesn't give you carte blanche to launch straight in with all guns blazing!
A much subtler approach is needed by combining it with altruism. Think how your knowledge, which should be relevant to the post's subject, can help anyone else that reads the post and could make a difference to their lives.
Offering your expertise should be selfless. It's about creating awareness of what you can do, rather than shouting about how fabulous you are. Successful commenters who provide solutions to problems without expecting anything in return are more likely to get noticed and appreciated.
5. Raising awareness
You always want to get people to notice you for the right reasons. There are plenty of ways to do this wrong, which people do all the time! It's not about push, push, push, but instead pull.
Read #4 above. Be altruistic to draw attention to yourself. Give many times before you expect to receive. Get known for helping people, solving problems, being inspiring, having the best anecdotes, being the life and soul of the party.
This is not a quick fix; you need to be in it for the long haul. It takes time for bloggers and readers to get to know, like and trust you. And the best attitude is patience, perseverance and consistency.
6. Making connections
Following on from #5, teach bloggers and their readers to expect your consistently excellent comments. You are now definitely doing more than just responding to their posts. The blogger should become upset or worried if you fail to comment on their most recent offering.
Not only this, but the quality of your contributions will incite people to find out more about you, and what you write about. However, this doesn't mean spamming your comments with links to your blog. Interested people will be naturally drawn to the link behind your name, which you provided when you submitted your comment.
Once this happens you know you've made a name for yourself as a commenter. Your reputation could easily go before you, and people will ask you to comment on their latest posts. Do so, if the subject is relevant to you; your submission link should go back to a suitable post on your blog in return.
7. Increasing popularity
Just like the most exciting chap at a party, a blog with lots of commenters will draw in the crowds. A lot of activity suggests popularity, which in turn suggests quality, or content this is worth paying attention to.
Not only is this valid for blogs, as many comments encourage others also to contribute, but also it attracts the attention of the search engines. The algorithms are programmed to search out popular blogs, as this means content which is highly indexable.
Therefore produce posts that stimulate discussion. Encourage your readers to provide an opinion, offer a point of view, even start an argument. As long as these are well regulated, ensuring each side is balanced and forthcoming, there is no danger of this getting out of control.
8. Providing indexable content
Another thing about search engines is their spiders cannot distinguish comments from the post's content. To them it is all content, and a comment is just as likely to be matched with a search request as the post.
Therefore favour the blogger by analysing their post for the best keywords, and adding them to your comment. This is fairly advanced commenting, definitely a bit more then just responding. Even if your comment is indexed, it helps the main post as well.
Therefore writing a bit more than just 'Nice post' can have so many more dividends. I just cannot understand why more people do more of this. I suppose it's lack of insight and understanding about the value of proper commenting.
Which other examples are just responding?
Can you find more examples of when why you should write a decent comment, rather than going through the mechanism of just responding? I've only given you eight, I'm sure there are much more! Let me know in the comment box below...