What are the worst ways to comment?

worst ways

It still surprises me how many people continue to use the worst ways to comment on blogs or social media. It is as if they are oblivious to how bad their practices are in commenting.

This could be due to apathy, laziness, unconcern, ignorance or just plain bolshiness. But whatever the reason, choosing the worst ways to comment can be extremely harmful to the reasons and purposes of commenting.

I suggest you take a long, hard look at the infographic below, and truthfully recognise which of these misdemeanours you are guilty of doing!

What are the worst ways to comment?

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.

I can't be bothered to read all of the post

This is such a common trait – especially amongst the young. It is almost as if people have forgotten how to read every word properly on the page. They treat it as if what is written isn't important, and skim reading is an acceptable answer to get the gist.

Well, actually no it isn't! This disregard for all the hard work the author has put into creating this post, only to have this undermined by lazy good-for-nothings who can't be bothered to focus on every word, is frankly rude, unacceptable and unnecessary.

OK, there are many badly written posts which don't deserve to be read, but you can't treat all of them the same. How will you know if this is a good post or not, if you don't actually take the time and trouble to read it properly? This is one of the worst ways to miss extremely vital information which could determine the quality of your commenting.

I can't think of anything to write

I know for some it's difficult to find enough to say within a comment, especially if you are doing this on the fly from your phone and don't have sufficient concentration to take the time to properly think about what you want or need to say.

To do commenting successfully, you need to treat it like any other marketing activity. It is not enough to say just a couple of words like "Thanks" or "Nice post", because what value have you contributed? How have you made a difference to both the author and other people who read it?

Commenting should be treated as an opportunity to communicate, to continue the conversation, to strike up a rapport with your readers, to create a social relationship with them through creating a community. Hence the need to sufficiently focus on the content within your comment.

But I want to focus on what I want to say!

One way to recognise a spammer is when they talk about their own subject, and not what the post is about. They think it is OK to blurb on about their preferred topic, regardless of whether it is relevant or suitable to what is expected.

What would your reaction be if someone joined in a conversation and started going on about their preferred issues which bore no relation whatsoever to what everybody else is saying? You'd probably think them rude, stupid, mentally deficient or definitely someone to avoid.

But yet there are people who consider the commenting box somewhere to have their say, regardless of the points in question. Not only is this confusing to other readers, but it is blatantly rude to the author, to not recognise their subject matter and treat it with the respect it deserves.

Hey, can't I stuff keywords into my username for SEO reasons?

People, usually desperate businessmen, go to extreme lengths to enhance the search engine optimisation of their websites. And one tactic is to stuff the keyword they think is relevant to their business in as many places as they can.

However, using this keyword as the name you use to submit your post doesn't work. This is ignored by the spiders. It is also confusing to comment readers. If, by a small chance, your comment makes an impression, a keyword stuffed business name may be off-putting rather than from a recognisable person.

How can anyone greet a keyword-laden name without it looking odd when they reply? What gravatar can you use to show a real person has commented? Surely an impersonal business will have a much less of a chance to effectively join in a discussion than a recognisable human?

Oi, this is my business – are you interested?

The problem with many desperate businesses is that they think commenting is a chance for promotion. The worst ways of doing this is to pepper as many blogs, websites and social updates as possible with their annoying corporate messages, regardless of relevance or suitability.

Commenting is about communicating with people to find out as much as possible about them, rather than shoving your business under their noses. If you use commenting for social listening and research purposes, you can use conversation to persuade potential customers to tell you want they want, rather than pushing your advertising at them.

Rather than blatantly blurting out about yourself, why not create a commenting marketing strategy to more effectively to pull the right kind of person into your business. This is much more preferable rather than the spammy spray and pray approach in the hope someone stupid enough will notice and react favourably.

I'd like to display a link back to my homepage here

Another of the spammy worst ways is to continuously pump your website by adding a link to every comment you write, regardless of whether it is relevant or not? Don't you think this looks desperate, pushing the URL of your homepage in front of people who really don't give a damn?

Adding links runs the risk of not being tolerated by the moderators or spam blockers. Even if you do manage to get past these, why should anybody be interested in your cold marketing approach? They don't know you from Adam, so why would they be interested?

Your website link isn't going to have any affect with SEO either, because the spiders will find no connecting link they can latch onto to make it work. There is nothing relevant or useful for anybody, human or bot. A total waste of effort with absolutely zero return.

Can't someone else do this for me?

There are many people who are either time-poor, lazy, not intelligent enough or just can't be bothered to comment on a regular basis. They may, or may not, realise the importance of commenting, but because they know they aren't going to do this enough, they think about giving the task to someone else.

What they don't realise is that commenting is a personal endeavour. It can only come from you. It is your ideas, your opinions, your point of view. How can anybody else know what's going on inside your head? How can you form relationships with your readers/customers/clients via another person?

If you are thinking of outsourcing your marketing, I'm afraid it can't be commenting. Your VA could monitor your social media engagement for you, but their responses won't be yours, you won't get the immediate insight from a fruitful conversation, and any information given to you will be third hand.

Let's take advantage of new technology

And there are unscrupulous businesses who hate the idea of paying humans to do their commenting, and dump the whole thing on commenting bots. Empty, void, impersonal, uninterested, getting an algorithm to do your dirty work for you is incredibly despicable.

This is one step away from spamming, if it isn't already. Jamming commenting boxes with meaningless, worthless, irrelevant and uninvited rubbish, just to benefit your business and not anyone else, is the absolutely opposite of what commenting is all about.

What immediately comes to mind is professional trolling, when comment boxes are bombarded with automated messages hell bent on causing the most trouble imaginable. Using commenting bots is the same principle, even though your message may not be as malicious.

How many of these worst ways are you doing when you comment?

Having got to the bottom of this post, how much of what I have said resonates with you? Are you starting to feel hot under the collar? Or are you wallowing in your squeaky clean existence when it comes to commenting practices?

I know commenting is hard work. But no pain, no gain. Marketing, in whatever format, does require hard graft if you're going to succeed in it. You could keep on churning out content until the end of time. Or you could start engaging with your readers to find out what they thought about it.

I wonder if I have left any undesirable processes out which you could coin as the worst ways to comment? If so, let me know what they are. Or if this post has stimulated any stories or anecdotes, tell us all about them in the comment box below.

Alice Elliott
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