Why Do You Comment? (Or Not)

Comment

[icon name=icon-comment]I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

It’s kind of  like when you buy a new car. Did you ever notice how all of the sudden you see it everywhere? You saw a few here and there before you purchased it but as soon as you bought it you notice it ALL the time! Same color even.

Ever wonder why? (yep, you’re getting pop psychology 101, WP Chick style)

Because your awareness has changed.

I think this is why I’ve had this on my mind so much lately.

The biggest decision I made at the beginning of the year this year ( in terms of my business) was that I was going to step up my engagement and focus on relationships. I didn’t know what that was going to look like or exactly what I was going to do, but I was committed to doing things differently. (Hmm…this would actually made a good podcast. Sharing what has shown up in the last few months since making this decision).

Talk about an “A-ha” moment (well, more like a brick upside the head moment).

Obviously as I’ve engaged more I’m receiving more engagement. But it’s not just about sharing my content or posting the random personal tweet (like how do you get rid of feral cats? Seriously.. there are 3 that show up in my backyard… and I don’t even own a freakin cat! One person replied that Lion poop works… anyone know where to get that?).

It’s about supporting OTHER people and sharing valuable content with your community, regardless of who wrote or created the content. This is something old school marketers still can’t grasp.

You know exactly what I’m talking about.

[icon name=icon-share]They share their own content

[icon name=icon-share]They share a few odd personal tidbits that really aren’t that personal (gotta keep up the persona)

[icon name=icon-share]They share their accolades and client testimonials

[icon name=icon-share] And if you’re lucky, maybe a few regurgitated marketing quotes

The problem with this?

Nothing really.
It works for them, but will it work for you?

My guess is probably not.

When I say “old school marketers” I’m referring to marketers who have been been doing business online long before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ existed. Long scrolling sales pages were “the” way to do things. Writing blog posts was something that was supposed to be done, not something that was used to build a community.

Before I go too much further I should probably point out that this isn’t about picking on anyone (I really don’t have the energy for that), it’s about what’s been working for me (and I swear I’ll get to the question about commenting).

I have my standard list of ‘go-to’ WordPress sites that I subscribe to for content and news. Of all the sites I go to I realized I wasn’t commenting as often as I was sharing – and even then I have a tendency to share via twitter more than anything else.

Why?

Yea… because it’s easier. <lame>  Just being honest.

Twitter lets you just click a button and post. Voila! Easy Peasy.
But what about doing more than just clicking a button?

How do you feel when someone leaves a comment on your site? Appreciative? Excited? Inspired to create more content that gets people to take action and share their thoughts with you?… Me too.

Most of the posts that I leave comments on are posts that make me think or look at something with a different perspective. But there are also plenty of ‘news’ and ‘tutorial’ posts that are hugely helpful and beneficial yet I don’t leave a comment as often on those posts as I do on the ones that struck a nerve. Probably because it feels like just saying “great post, thanks for the tutorial” feels ‘cheap’ somehow (even though it’s better than saying nothing at all).

I’m seriously considering running a “challenge” this summer.

Totally free.

Just to see what would happen if you reminded people to share valuable content, help others get recognized and more or less create a habit around “paying it forward”.

I’m not exactly sure what this would look like (or will look like, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it- I just need to come up with a good name), but it has to be fun and not completely time consuming. Just a way to remind people how important this is and what a little support for a lot of people can do. I’m thinking on my end it would look somewhat like a free membership site (and not for protected content, but to create a directory), some free webinars teaching a different way to “pay it forward”, weekly email reminders, spotlighting different people, some guest posts, some video….

What do you think?

Back to commenting.

After writing all this I’m kind of feeling like I’m back at square one.

So much of what I do depends on what’s going on in my business, although I will tell you that I have been more consistent these last 4 months than ever before (and it’s paying off… crazy how that works!). I think one thing I’m going to test (while I continue working out this ‘summer challenge’ idea) is see if I can fine ONE new blog a week to leave a valuable comment on and share with my community. I can’t imagine this will take more than 30 minutes tops. From start to finish. I’ll check my social media groups/communities, some twitter conversations and just see what happens. I’ll give you an update in the next couple of weeks to let you know what transpires from this experiment. I’m going to try to mix it up between well known bloggers and hidden gems! (er, new sites 😉  We all need a little love, right?). The only criteria is that it has to be something of value my community could use (it’s safe to assume it will have to do with WordPress, blogging, social media, digital publishing, online marketing or humor, I mean c’mon, you’ve read “The Oatmeal“, right? Hilarious).

So of course you know what’s coming next.

Let me know why you comment (or don’t). Have you noticed what types of posts receive more engagement? Do you tend to comment on a select few blogs?

 

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Kim Doyal

Hi, I am Kim Doyal: Entrepreneur, Podcaster, ContentCreator, Optimist. Over 10 years into this online business journey, I believe that #EverythingIsContent and we can all #JustShowUP.

18 Comments

  1. JudyAnn Lorenz on May 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Man, I wish I had thought of “WordPress Chick” first! Commenting is not a comfortable thing to do, even if we all know it rocks the SEO. I’ve begun to try to comment on a post that would inspire me to comment about in in social media. To comment in both locations and occasionally extend that to a blog post of my own about the topic. Using some backlinks and posting about my post occasionally draws comment. But I suspect that I’m writing in a vacuum many times because only the spammers seem to be inspired to comment.
    I usually comment on posts that are about something I’m interested in and can make a decent, reasonably intelligent addition. As a blogger, I know that is not required; almost any attention (except spam) is welcome!

    • Kim on May 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Hi JudyAnn,

      haha…yea, I thought of “WordPress Chick” long before I really knew what I was doing. Just loved WP & loved the name (ignorance is bliss, huh?).
      Thanks for sharing, I know what you mean about it seeming like spammers are the only ones commenting. I felt that way a while ago and what I’ve found is as I’ve shared more (more transparency) and am showing up and engaging more I’m receiving more comments. Which of course seems totally obvious, but trying to balance doing work in your business and engaging with a community can be tricky. I can’t say that I’ve found the right equation yet, but am simply trying to do a little more each day in terms of reaching out.
      Thanks again.

  2. Carrie Dils on May 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Well, I couldn’t read and *not* leave a comment, right? 🙂

    I’ll share any post I find valuable, but I tend to only comment if I have something of value to add to the conversation, which means I don’t comment a ton. 🙂 I agree with you that Twitter is easier, but I’ve actually challenged myself to share one good nugget a day on G+ that I’m not sharing on Twitter. Kind of as an experiment, but also because G+ is better when a topic/link invites a conversation.

    I look forward to hearing more about this summer challenge!

    • Kim on May 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Thanks Carrie,
      I was hoping to inspire at least a few comments. 😉

      I agree with G+, I just need to integrate my two Google accts. so for now I keep one open in one browser/monitor and the other open on the other one. My biggest challenge is probably time- and staying on top of engaging and working (although I guess technically engaging is part of working…).

      I’ll keep you posted on the Summer challenge too… maybe I should focus on clear instead of clever with the name (I get hung up on this a lot). 😉

  3. Dora E. H. Crow on May 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Kim!
    There are a few blogs I comment on .. yours, for one — but it’s been quite awhile since I last did! Or was it an email I sent? 🙂

    I think the reason I don’t comment frequently on blogs is because of lack of time: if I comment, I want my comment to add value and not simply say, “Great post!”.

    It’s difficult to write a decent comment when work and family are beckoning. And occasionally there may be a topic I feel strongly about, but I need to be careful how I respond due to always keeping my “online reputation” in mind.

    • Kim on May 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Dora,
      Thanks… 😉
      (hows the Genesis stuff coming along?)

      That really is the biggest challenge for me as well – time. And just writing “great post” makes me feel like a spammer. I’m curious… and tell me if this sounds smarmy, but I wonder if it would be helpful to have a list of suggested responses that you could just tweak? Kind of canned responses, but something that basically said “thanks, great post” but with a little more umph too it (I’m just thinking this through as I’m responding to you). Then they could be adjusted and sort of customized to the post? I may see if I can play around with this and come up with a few… I’ll let you know. They would probably be primarily for the tutorial /news type posts where this isn’t necessarily a lot of feedback required.
      hmmm…. whatcha think?

  4. Dora E. H. Crow on May 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Hmmm… I’ll have to see what you come up with. It could work with some news or technical posts. Most of the blogs I follow are motivational/inspirational, so if I do comment I like to be very thoughtful.. and interact with the other commenters, too.

    Re: Genesis — I’ve been working with Premise landing pages. Premise is pretty nice. I’m used to working directly in HTML/CSS, so working in a UI like WordPress feels constricted sometimes. But within the Premise plugin it’s not bad!

    • Kim on May 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Hi again Dora,
      Yea… coming back to this idea 24 hrs later it doesn’t feel like one worth pursuing… haha (canned responses to tweak). Even for the news/tutorial sites. It just goes against the relationship building that should be at the core of it all. Gotta love a new perspective a day later, huh? (that’s the beauty of getting older… I have NO problem saying, “yea, not such a great idea!” haha).

      I’m glad you like Premise. I have it and haven’t used it for a while. As much as I love all their products I found Premise doesn’t always play nicely with other plugins, which is a bummer (keep in mind I haven’t used it for a while so it might be worth another go around).
      Thanks again Dora!

      • Dora E. H. Crow on May 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

        It’s always good to consider new ideas — ya know, nakedly brainstorming on your on blog. Ha-ha! Seriously, though, I think that helps others see that it’s okay to experiment .. and it’s okay to back-track, too, and say, “Whoa!”

        Thanks for the warning about Premise. It’s someone’s else’s account that I’m working in, so I’ll pass on the warning about plugins. Hmmm… I think I’ll do a search for Premise plugin conflicts now… 🙂

        • Kim on May 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

          I LOVE the “nakedly brainstorming”… I’ll definitely be using that somewhere soon (with a shout out to you of course!).
          Have a great weekend Dora!

  5. Andrea on May 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    I think most people agree with you on the commenting, you\’d only do it if you\’ve something great to say. I like to have a like button on the blogs I read because I know how important feedback is but I don\’t want to get out there and be boring either 🙂 So that saves me time. About your idea of creating a community, support and all? I had the same train of thought (woohoo) and I was thinking: personal blogs have all kinds of games, giveaways, writing challenges, sharing challenges etc. and I need that for my business blog. So after asking some people who seemed to be interested, I set it up! There is now a business blogging challenge for all who need a bit of a push, support and love. The signup has just started, I’d love your opinion about it 😉 Talk soon!

    • Kim on May 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Hi Andrea,
      That’s FANTASTIC! 😉 I’ll definitely check out the business blogging challenge! And kudos for starting it (a lot of great ideas can get stuck in the ‘idea phase’).
      I do like the sharing buttons as well- but there’s just something about the interaction of a comment on a blog that kicks things up a notch! I get the not wanting to be boring either… there are plenty of times when I sit for a few minutes thinking of how I want to comment / what I want to comment about (so I don’t sound like a numpty), but it’s worth it.
      Looking forward to checking out your blogging challenge! 😉
      Thanks,
      Kim

      • Andrea on May 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

        Thanks Kim, I hope you’ll like it. 🙂

  6. Doug Francis on May 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Leaving comments on blogs has become a lost art, and most people would rather lurk that leave a thoughtful tidbit behind for Kim to get excited over. I have to blame the influence of the Facebook – it has trained people to be wary of the WWW again, kind of like AOL did 12 years ago. Come back inside, you’re safe inside the confines of FB… (not really).

    Finding something of value to share is great but remember to leave a comment yourself so that your tribe truly knows you practice what you preach.

    • Kim on May 8, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Hi Doug,
      Thanks. That’s a great way to describe it… a lost art. I think social media is great, but the value of a relationship built on someone’s blog is going to be far greater than a comment left on social media. I love the ‘come back inside’ point too. I think of this when I see people using FB comments on their site (or now I guess you can use G+ too)- essentially you’re giving the social media site your comments, even though it looks like they’re living on your site.

      I’ve been working on leaving more comments when I have something of value to share with my readers as well. I think this is where utilizing social media (to find more relevant sites to comment on) would be invaluable.
      Thanks again,
      Kim

  7. Marianney on May 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Hi Kim,
    Finally getting caught up on emails and reading this post! I love to comment, but not always. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything valuable to contribute other than “great post” so I don’t say anything. But I have an opinion on what I just read, then yeah I love to leave comments and “meet” other bloggers. It’s a great way to network too, like you said. I have met many bloggers this way and it just opens up the room for conversation.

    I understand why some bigger bloggers turn off their comments, but I think it’s a shame because sometimes you really want to respond to what’s been said or even just ask a question about it and you can’t. I also like to read other people’s comments because it’s more contribution to the topic. Different points of view or other things the author may not have thought of by publish time.

    Btw, i also wanted to comment and let you know the new site design looks AMAZING! Great job!

    • Kim on May 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Hey Marianne!

      How was your trip? 😉
      I completely understand what you mean about feeling like you don’t have something valuable to contribute, I’ve done that myself. I’m really trying to make a conscious effort to comment with something when a post resonates with me. Sometimes I have to go back to the post later in the day (which isn’t always great because sometimes I forget).

      You’re SO right about comments being turned off! I understand when a post is older, but other than that it’s kind of a bummer (or when they don’t have any comments at all).
      Keep me posted on your site launch! 😉

    • Kim on May 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Oh… and thanks for the nice comment about the site! 😉

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