Have you hit a blogging wall? Out of ideas? Not comfortable with writing in general? You’re not alone. Small businesses have plenty to do–online and elsewhere–and we tend to avoid something that “feels like work.” There is another way around this dilemma and generate an online presence that’s beneficial to you.
How? By visiting other blogs and leaving comments. You’re networking, passing along helpful tid-bits in much smaller writing quantities than blogging yourself, and leaving a trail back to your site. Smart, huh?
First, you have to find relevant blogs and website content to comment about. You do this by creating Google Alerts. Take your keywords and keyword phrases and visit Google Alerts and set up an account. Google will send you email updates on when anyone writes about the keywords you listed. Google Alerts will list newspaper and magazine articles, television and radio announcements and recaps of shows in which those topics are discussed, and it will also list blogs that mention the words you listed.
When your email box fills up with Google Alerts, you’ll feel a little overwhelmed at first. That’s okay, it’s worth it to start reading. The online world has just opened up to you. You will literally see how relevant your topic is. You’ll be able to start to track who’s hot, which keyword/topic phrase generates the most hits, who your competition is and who you should be networking with. In the beginning, you need to dedicate some time every day, or a large chunk of time once a week to begin to gather information and know who’s out there and who is making it happen on the Internet.
Create a folder of the best Google Alerts and save the ones you want to get to know.
Follow your gut reaction and visit the blogs or articles that pique your interest. Did you know that you can leave comments on many newspaper and magazine sites as well? You can, and they get read by thousands, and get indexed well because these companies have the money to spend to get that valuable SEO (search engine optimization) placement needed to get noticed online.
Next, leave a comment–and not just “Fantastic!” That won’t get you much. Leave a couple of sentences that actually has to do with the subject they wrote about. Comment about something they said, specifically. Add to the conversation–in a friendly tone. Don’t sound like a know-it-all. Sound humble. Sound generally interested. Sound like you know what you’re talking about and you’re glad to be a part of scene, but you’re not taking over. Sound nice.
How? Tell them something they said or did right. Tell them you like their blog and their content is good. Leave one or two small bits of info that’s helpful. You can even politely disagree or offer another opinon, but do it respectful. You can even comment about another comment, which can create a conversation. At first, keep it simple and get used to the system. Your goal is to make connections, get known, and quietly point someone your way. At the end, sign your name, and under it leave your website, and that’s it.
Can you link back to your website within the body of your blog comment? Yes, but don’t go heavy handed, and only if it’s not really relevant. But sometimes it really is relevant. You have content on your site or blog that adds to the conversation–then go for it.
Chances are, the blogger/owner of the site is going to come over and check you out. They do–a lot of the time. Be sure to respond, say thanks for stopping by. This is n’etiquette. People online like to know their effort isn’t going unnoticed.
It might even lead to a guest blog. If you like someone else’s style, invite them to guest blog on your site–or you guest blog on theirs. This gives you fresh content, and it also does something else that’s really cool. They’ll advertize it on their site, and their readers will come over to your site. Cool. If you do decide to guest blog, or ask for another blogger to guest on yours, talk about how to handle links and promoting ahead of time so that everyone’s on the same page.
Another great way to build an online relationship with another blogger is to request to use their content on your site. Ask ahead of time. Tell them that you really like their blog on X, and can you quote part of it and link to their site. Nine times out of ten they’ll say yes because you asked ahead of time, complimented their work, and will attribute them.
Commenting is so smart and so easy. Three to four sentences on other blogs allows you to respond to a topic already generated, network, get your name out there, and build an online presence. The old adage, “Work smarter, not harder” definitely applies.