5 Signs Your Blog Comment Etiquette May Need Improvement
The modern blogosphere has taken idea-sharing and interaction to completely new levels. We find ourselves rubbing virtual elbows with a wider circle of people than ever before, yet in the safe confines of our offices and homes, we find it easier to neglect basic etiquette. Remember those people you were rubbing elbows with? They could be your next business connection, client, or an emerging industry leader. What kind of impression are you making? If you fall under any of these categories, you might want to brush up on your comment-iquite:
1. You don’t comment
With so much “free” information out there, it’s easy to take for granted that there are real people investing real hours of time (and money) into their blog posts. If you’re just consuming and not contributing, you’re cheating both the author and yourself. Taking a few moments to comment is like a donation of time to thank the author for providing useful information. But it’s not all about being polite – you stand to gain from joining in on the conversation by contributing your own knowledge and forming relationships with others in your industry. In addition to widening your professional exposure, you have a good chance of attracting other readers to your own blog or website.
2. Your comments are vague
Sure, it’s easy to say “thanks for the great post,” and if that’s all the time you have to do, it’s better than nothing. However, taking a few extra moments to say what points you agreed with (or disagreed with), what you learned, and what you would add goes much further and reaps better rewords for you, the blog author, and the other readers. Many bloggers (including this one) see their post as a start to a conversation, not a one-way information stream. If you add your thoughts, others could benefit and look to you as a source of valuable information.
3. Your criticism isn’t constructive
There’s a fine line between thoughtful, but polite disagreement, and distasteful attack. Actually, that’s a lie – the line is very clear. Don’t cross into emotion-driven verbal assaults on the author; all that is going to hurt is your reputation. If you disagree with the author’s post, do so in the same respectful manner that you would approach a client or boss with. But – and this is the important part – don’t just stop at disagreeing. State your reason for disagreeing, what experience led you to this conclusion, any links or evidence that can back up your claim, and your solution or alternate advice. But wait! Don’t stop there. Check back for responses, and continue the discussion as long as it’s productive. You may learn a thing or two, and if the conversation isn’t productive, you can always agree to disagree. If you can, it’s best to end on respectful terms.
4. You advertise yourself shamelessly
Today’s consumers have wisened up to marketing schemes and can usually smell a rat a mile away. If you’re leaving short, meaningless comments just to deposit your html website link, you’re more likely to anger the author and readers than you are to get clicks. Many comment forms provide fields to enter your website URL in, and some even leave room for your twitter account and other information. If you leave a sincere, thoughtful comment that contributes to the conversation, readers are much more likely to take interest in you, click your name, and visit your website.
5. A blog post in a blog post
The internet is filled with readers that have short attention spans and prefer to “scan,” so the most successful comments are often succinct and to-the-point. If you find yourself writing paragraphs of information, you should consider some alternatives. First, you can edit your comment by trimming it down to just one or two points. If you feel your information is worth the readers’ attention in whole, create a separate blog post and link to it within the comments section with a short explanation preceding it. This is different than advertising yourself because you’re adding to the conversation – you’re just using a better avenue to do so while keeping the current conversation on-topic.
Help me out, here:
What comment-iquite rules need to be added to this list? Give your two cents in the comment area below.