Retro Phone Booths by Dominique B
Commenting is a building block of blogging. One way to gauge the success of our posts by the number of comments it receives (along with whether it's been stumbled or tweeted); comments are easily one of the best ways to network and promote your own blog. They're an incredibly powerful and useful part of the blogging process, and they are one that becomes all too easy to overlook, skip over, or ignore.
In late October, Amy at Wolf Whistle tweeted about her own personal comment challenge– to leave 500 blog comments during the month. I was instantly intrigued by this– what kind of comments does she leave? How difficult is it?
Amy told us about the experience:
Several people have asked me why I'm doing this. I hoped to bring more conversation to the blog community, gain new visitors to my own blog and hopefully make a few people smile in the process!
In a way, it definitely IS self-promotion: I'm not denying that in any way. I do think, however, that it is self-promotion in quite a quiet and subtle way and that I'm giving something back to the people who spend a great deal of time on their blogs.
I have not been writing massive comments on every single blog post – unless, of course, I feel like I have a lot to say. I promised myself when I started this that I wouldn't leave comments such as ‘Nice blog!!!' as I generally feel that these type of comments are a bit of a let down. Being on the receiving end of a comment like that does not make you feel special at all!
After talking with Amy, I decided to take up the challenge for November. My own goal was to leave 250 meaningful, thoughtful, useful comments. While some of my comments may have been complimentary or lighthearted, I tried to make them substantial nonetheless. Amy’s quest made me realize that it’s important that I get out there and start leaving comments more.
What I've Learned:
- To actually read, not skim, my RSS feed. It’s amazing how easy it is to skim through posts, ignore the content that is really there and feel uninspired. When you slow down to pay attention to what people are saying, instead of just looking at images, headlines, and bullet points, you’ll find there is a lot more to respond to.
- Diversify my reading list. It’s HARD to reach a target goal of 250 comments without falling into a pattern of leaving meaningless comments. So I reached out for new content sources– reading the Links a la Mode threads weekly & commenting on submissions, seeking out new sites through others comments, commenting on re-Tweets from Twitter and more.
Amy's Tip: If you have Bloglovin' or Google Reader, open five of your favourite blogs and comment on them all. Then follow a link from each blog and repeat forever… forever… forever.
- Don't fret over failure; each comment is a success. This month, my goal was 250 comments. As of this posting, I'm at approximately 180 comments. It's unlikely that I'll reach my goal, but holy crap! I posted 180 comments this month! That's awesome.
- If you find a new site that has great content, subscribe to it or bookmark it. Otherwise, you'll want to return to it later and will have NO idea where its at. Alternately, use some kind of tool to help you track where your comments are. For next month, I'd be likely to use something like coComment, a Google Spreadsheet, or a list in a program like Notepad to help me keep track of the comments I've left.
- For the month of December, challenge yourself to leave more comments. Comments are, afterall, the building blogs of community, blog growth, outreach, and relationships.
- Pick a number appropriate for you: it may be based on factors such as the site of your site, how many blogs you read, what your schedule is like. Pick 50 comments if you're a new blogger wanting to reach out. Pick 250 if you're moderately sized, but finding yourself slacking behind. If you're super ambitious, set a goal for 500 like Amy has.
- But what about the holidays? Amy had a great tip on that for herself:
500 is a big amount and with my work commitments and holidays coming up, I doubt I'll reach the same goal in December. I am still going to set myself a smaller target though: I want to make daily commenting – on both my favourite blogs and blogs that are new to me – part of my internet life because all of those amazing blogs out there deserve some recognition!