If you’re a blogger or if you read blogs, you may have seen someone promoting their blog, business, or event in the comments of your blog or another blogger’s blog. Let’s go through some of the ways this is done.
This is the person who is so intent on advertising their blog, business, or event that they don’t try to hide it. Imagine writing a post about the loss of a friendship, then checking the comments only to read “Think Pink party on July 6! Tickets only ₦1,200. RSVP at http://thinkpinkparty.com.” It’s spammy, not exactly the response you were expecting, and in about 99% of the cases the person is a true drive-by: you’ve never received a comment from them before, nor will you again.
The Not-so-hidden agenda
This individual is a step up from the Drive-by, because they try to respond to your blog post before promoting themselves, however in many cases they didn’t read your blog post to the end, or they read too quickly, so they don’t realize that (using the above example) the so-called lost friendship was actually mended by the end of the blog post! So their comment might be “Sorry for your lost friendship. Think Pink party on July 6! Tickets only ₦1,200. RSVP at http://thinkpinkparty.com”, not knowing that you and your friend are now planning to be each other’s chief bridesmaid later in the year!
The “Win-win” situation
In this instance, the commenter has taken the time to read your blog post in its entirety, and the comment they leave could be very relevant (e.g. “I’ve gone through this exact same issue, but unlike you ours was caused by my friend getting closer to her colleague. After a while we were able to have a good talk and prioritize our friendship and now all is well”) or vague (e.g. “It’s good to have friends”), but the “win-win” part of the comment is you get a legitimate blog comment (win for you) and they leave a link to their blog or to their latest blog post as a parting gift (win for them, if it leads to others clicking the link).
I initially didn’t understand this last scenario because my blog is powered by WordPress, and when you leave a comment, you’re asked to provide your name, email address (which is not published), and your blog address (if you have one). If you provide a blog address, it’s automatically linked to your name and anyone reading your comment can access your blog by clicking on your name. But not all blogs use the commenting system that comes with WordPress; many use third-party systems like Disqus, and Disqus does not link the commenter’s name to their blog—you’d have to click on the commenter’s Disqus profile to see if they have a blog.
Similarly, if someone has a blog powered by Blogger, and they comment on the blog of another Blogger user, if they’re logged in to their blog, I think their comment gets linked to their Blogger profile or Google+ account rather than directly to their blog. Another reason some include a link to their blog within a comment they leave on another blog is they don’t know (or they think most people don’t know) that clicking on the name of the commenter will lead to their blog, and they think a link within the comment may be more likely to be clicked. These are the top reasons that come to my mind; no doubt there are others.
Alternatives to the above
Bring value to the blogger
Call me naive, but I’ve always believed that if you leave a useful, thought-provoking comment, people will naturally want to read more from you, and they will find a way to you, either by googling you or by realizing that they can click your name to access your blog. But let’s say my naivete is really too much and you need a better strategy. If this is the case I’d like to propose an alternative to being a Drive-by, Not-so-hidden agenda, or “Win-win” commenter, one that could potentially get you in the spotlight more easily (spoiler alert: it’ll require more effort). Try to connect genuinely with a blogger by being helpful to them. If you find an article that you think would inspire them, send it to them! If you thought of an awesome series they could share on their blog, suggest it to them! The goal is to be helpful and provide them with value. Rather than being “win-win”, this is a true win-win because you’ll feel good helping someone (I hope!) and they’ll feel great because you’re giving them tremendous value in the form of blog post ideas. As a bonus they may mention you and link to your blog in their blog post if they end up taking your suggestion, but even if they don’t credit you as the one who hooked them up with the blog series idea, you’ll be less of a stranger to them, if you decide to pursue the next suggestion.
Offer to write a guest post
Once you’ve built a bit of a connection with the blogger, it will be easier to move to the next level: proposing that you guest post on their blog! If you have blog post idea that you think would benefit the readers of the blogger you wish to reach out to, share the idea with the blogger and see if they’re interested in posting your blog post on their blog. I recommend that the blog post be new, something that you haven’t posted anywhere else, and you should let their blog be the first place to feature it. Along with the blog post you will usually be able to share a few sentences about yourself—this is where you can link to your blog. Guest posting gives you a spotlight and the opportunity to win some new fans.
If someone rejects your guest post idea, don’t worry: many bloggers, especially those with personal blogs, are very protective of their blog and want to make sure that anything they post is a good match for their brand. Continue to leave useful comments and the blogger might change their mind!
I came upon these two ideas as an unexpected result of things that I’ve done in the past: if I see something that someone could benefit from, I can’t help but pass it on. Similarly, if I can help someone, I try to. As a result I’ve been thanked publicly on a blog and this is how I know this technique works. I beg you though to prioritize helping the person over all other things.
We need more collaborations in the Nigerian blogging space!
I don’t see many collaborations among Nigerian bloggers: there blogs with multiple writers, but I’m talking more about two or more established bloggers deciding to work on a project or supporting each other on individual projects—for example Kunmio and Dero collaborated when they took pictures of each other to put on their individual blogs, and also posted about the same article of clothing (skirt). There’s more to say on collaborations; let’s save that for next time.
What’s your take on promoting your own blog, business, or event in the comments of someone else’s blog?