Blog comments are a relic from a bygone era.
That’s the word on the street, isn’t it?
In its heyday, a blog comment was powerful. Write good comments and they could land you on the radar of a popular blogger — the kind of super-connected influencer who could accelerate your success.
But that was then, right?
Today, readers have turned to Facebook and Instagram for their commenting fix. Spammers and trolls have taken over. And, as a result, some blog owners have done what would’ve once been unthinkable: turned off their comments.
So, game over. Blog comments are dead. Stick a fork in them.
Not so fast.
In 2020, it’s Easier Than Ever to Write Good Comments People Will Notice
Smart bloggers see opportunities where others do not.
Here’s the truth:
Because so many have dismissed blog commenting as an outreach strategy, there’s virtually no competition.
On social media, you’re competing against thousands of followers all vying for the influencer’s attention. Inside inboxes, you’re competing against the dozens or even hundreds of emails they receive every single day.
But in the comments section, you’re competing against crickets and tumbleweeds. And the handful of comments that do exist tend to…
Well, they tend to suck.
And that’s a shame because blog comments are still powerful. They can still land you on the radars of popular bloggers and influencers.
If — and this is the catch — you write high-quality, genuinely-good comments worth noticing.
Unfortunately, this is the part that trips up many bloggers. Nobody taught them how to comment on blogs the right way. Heck, they aren’t even sure what good comments look like.
As a result, many well-intentioned bloggers who still believe in the power of commenting are spending their precious time writing comments they think are great.
Their comments probably suck.
Here’s why that’s a problem:
Clumsy Commenters Make Terrible First Dates
Blog commenting is a lot like dating.
You’re trying to woo another person, right?
With dating, you’re trying to woo someone into becoming Mr. or Mrs. Whatever Your Name Is.
With blog commenting, you’re trying to woo the owner of a blog.
You want them to notice you. You want them to reply to your comment. Secretly, you want them to visit and comment on your blog, follow you on social media, and ultimately become your best friend forever.
But is that possible if your comments suck?
Sure, it’s possible…
It’s also possible to stumble into marriage, kids, and a house with a white picket fence even if you turn up to your first date with a mustard stain on your shirt and spinach in your teeth.
But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s likely.
That’s why it’s time to improve your commenting game.
To help you do that, I’m going to share with you the anatomy of a good comment. It’s my tried-and-true template you can follow to craft memorable comments that will get noticed.
Even better: you can apply many of these tips to Facebook comments, Instagram comments, outreach emails, and more.
Let’s dive in.
First, we’ll look at a few rookie mistakes that are sabotaging your blog comments. Avoid these and you’ll be ahead of 90% of the bloggers out there:
The Common Mistakes That Make Blog Comments Suck
Mistake #1: Using a Novelty (or Non-Existent) Gravatar Image
You wouldn’t show up to a first date wearing a disguise, would you? Or wearing a plain paper bag over your head?
So why would you choose an image of Grumpy Cat or Ron Burgundy to represent you in blog comments? Or settle for the faceless silhouette that screams generic nobody?
Instead, let people see the real you.
They will be far more likely to feel a connection with you if they can see your face.
Besides, you know you’re sexy. Show us that smile!
Mistake #2: Using a Fake Name (or “Fun” Nickname)
Among your friends and family, you can go by Lil’ Bit, DJ Roomba, Superfly, House of Shane, or any other nickname you choose.
But unless you’re a spy, or in witness protection, you should use your real name on a first date. (Unless, of course, it’s a blind date and Gary Busey sits down at your table.)
The same is true in blog commenting.
Bloggers, just like dates, want to know who’s trying to woo them. And someone who hides behind a pseudonym likely isn’t a long-term prospect.
Mistake #3: Dumping Links in Your Comments
Want WordPress, Disqus, and other commenting systems to know you’re not writing spam comments? Refrain from embedding links in your comments.
Imagine you’re on a date and, halfway through, your date suddenly asks if you have life insurance.
You try to wave it off, but they begin discussing rates and policies with you.
“Oh no,” you think to yourself. “This isn’t a date … this is a sale’s pitch!”
If you embed links in your comments, bloggers are likely to react similarly. It comes across as a cheap attempt to peddle your lemonade on their lawn.
And usually it won’t matter how insightful your fancy words are or how relevant your link may be; the blogger will feel an irresistible urge to kick you off their property.
Mistake #4: Failing to Read the Post Before Commenting
Ever been on a date with someone from Match or eHarmony who didn’t bother to read your profile?
“Do you have any hobbies?” they’ll ask despite your profile’s thousand-word tribute to paper mache. “Fancy a juicy steak?” they’ll suggest despite your publicly stated veganism.
It’s the same with blog commenting. Yes, you’re busy. Yes, reading a post thoroughly before commenting takes time.
Know what else takes time? Getting your foot out of your mouth.
When you comment on a post after skimming it or — worse — not reading it at all, you greatly increase the chances you’ll say something silly.
Mistake #5: Droning On and On (and On)
Some people like the sound of their own voice. Ask them what music they like, and they’ll take you on a 12-minute journey into the minutiae of John Mayer’s latest album.
One-sided conversations on a date aren’t much fun and neither are blog comments that last forever and a day.A long-winded blog comment, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.Click To Tweet
Many of the best comments are on the longer side, but be careful not to confuse quantity with quality.
A 500-word comment isn’t better than a 100-word comment. It’s usually just five times longer.
(And probably five times more boring.)
Mistake #6: Repeating What the Post Just Said
Ever had a date where the other person repeated everything you said?
You love Kevin Costner movies? So do they.
You adore Mexican food? Yep, them too.
You hate Mondays? They hate Mondays.
I call this kind of parroting a (re)Pete Comment.
It doesn’t add to the conversation. It doesn’t ask questions. And it doesn’t challenge an idea.
It simply repeats what was said in the post.
Summarizing to a point is fine, but your comment needs to be more than the CliffsNotes version of the post you just read.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
The 4 Elements of a Good Blog Comment (Plus: Lots of Examples)
- The Friendly Greeting
- The Sincere Compliment
- The Added Value
- The Parting Promise
Now that I’ve inoculated you against writing comments that truly suck, let’s look at the structure of a comment that stands out for all the right reasons.
How do the best comments begin? How do they end? What’s the stuff that goes in the middle?
Here are the essential parts, from top to bottom.
Part #1: The Friendly Greeting
Let’s go back to our dating analogy…
You meet your handsome guy or beautiful gal at a restaurant for your first date. Could they be the one? They don’t look crazy or anything.
Hopeful, you take a deep breath, smile, and say hi.
But instead of greeting you or even acknowledging you, your date just starts talking.
No preamble — they launch right into talking about their day.
Did you know they have a co-worker named Mr. Buttons? Did you know they have a peanut allergy?
You do now.
Memorable date? I suppose.
A date you would like to get to know better? Definitely not.
And yet, every day, thousands of comments are written that do not bother to acknowledge the post’s author in any way, shape, or form.
Do they think robots wrote the post instead of a human being? Do they believe greetings are an outdated ritual? Or are they simply too lazy to scroll back to the top to find the author’s name?
If you’re hoping to catch the attention of bloggers and strike up a relationship, a healthy dose of proper etiquette can go a long way.
So say hello to them.
Refer to them by name.
How To Do It
This one’s so simple, it shouldn’t need an explanation. But here’s how to do it anyway.
Scroll back to the top of the post and find the author’s name. If you are prone to misspellings, copy the name so you can paste it into your comment.
Then say hello. Or hi. Or howdy, if you’re feeling folksy.
You’ll only spend a few seconds to get your comment started on the right foot.
It’s time well spent.
Part #2: The Sincere Compliment
You meet your date for the first time.
“Wow! I love your outfit,” you might say.
Or, “I really like your car.”
Or even, “Your SpongeBob tattoo is awesome!”
The details are different each time, but the act is the same. When you’re on a date, you pay the other person a compliment. It’s what you do in civilized societies.
Once again, blog commenting isn’t any different.
Remember, you’ve chosen to be on this person’s blog, not someone else’s. You’ve chosen to read their post instead of another. You must have a reason to want to connect with them over any of the other million bloggers you could be trying to connect with at that moment.
Chances are, you like them. You value them. You respect them.
So pay them a compliment…
Tell them how much you enjoyed their great article…
Make their day…
In short, pay them a compliment. Any compliment. Just make sure it’s a sincere compliment.
How To Do It
You can focus on the blogger, the post itself, or a combination of the two.
Are you a fan of the blogger’s body of work? Tell them so. Say how much you enjoy their writing.
Even better? Tell them about a specific example where their writing has helped you.
If you choose to focus on the post itself, talk about a particular point within the post that truly hit home for you.
Did it change your outlook on a topic? Or maybe it motivated you to go out and take action? Did it rock your world?
Tell them so.
(Plus, you don’t want to come across as a creepy stalker.)
Part #3: The Added Value
Now we’re into the meat of what makes a good comment good.
Greeting the author and paying a compliment are nice, but no one cares how good the appetizers are if the main course is a BLT sandwich with no bacon.
Your goal in every comment should be to add value. If your comment doesn’t add value, it’s wasting everyone’s time.
Of course, adding value has become one of those overused and meaningless phrases in the content marketing world. Like Sriracha sauce, people tend to throw it around and use it for everything.
What does it actually mean?
In this context, it means doing something that makes you appear valuable — useful, insightful, entertaining, or interesting — to the blogger you’re aiming to woo.
In other words, anything that establishes you as a person worth knowing and helps develop a personal relationship.
You do that by making a positive impression and then building upon it.
Value Tactic #1: Share Personal Insights or Anecdotes
Did a particular point in the post hit home for you? Did you find something particularly relatable? Or did the post bring up an area in which you’re struggling?
When you share a personal insight, bloggers can more easily relate to you. You’re no longer just an unfamiliar name making a comment that could have been left by anyone…
You’re a blogger with a story!
How To Do It
Don’t worry about channeling Herman Melville; remember, good comments don’t have to be long to be effective.
Amanda Formaro demonstrates this perfectly in her succinct comment about email subscribers.
In the same discussion, Jenn establishes a connection by sharing her struggles.
Don Purdum, meanwhile, enhances the post by sharing the details of a conversation he’d had just days earlier.
The number of ways you can share insights and examples are myriad. But the more personal your insight, the more unique it will be.
And the more unique your insight, the more memorable your comment will be and the more you’ll stand out.
Value Tactic #2: Ask Thoughtful Questions
Was an idea presented in the post that you didn’t fully understand? Maybe you want the author to expand on a certain point?
Asking thoughtful questions is an excellent way to build relationships because it starts a one-on-one conversation with the blogger.
You ask them a question; they answer. It’s pure, simple, poetry in motion. And it’s a great way to introduce yourself to bloggers you enjoy.
How To Do It
Andrew Warner went the inquiry route after reading Andrianes Pinantoan’s blog traffic case study:
Sometimes for brevity’s sake, an author won’t fully flesh out a detail in his or her blog post.
So if the article contained a detail you want expanded upon, don’t be afraid to comment and ask.
Value Tactic #3: Contribute To The Discussion
Were 581 sensory words presented in the post, but you know a good one for #582? Want to flesh out a point discussed in a post about landing freelance writing jobs? How about a detail that wasn’t covered at all?
If your comments enhance the overall value of the post, few bloggers will fail to see the benefit of your contribution. Sometimes they’ll even update their post in light of your comment — which is a major validation of your ideas.
When you write a good comment that adds to the discussion, it often has a domino effect. Others will respond to your comment, which will fuel even more comments.
The result is more people reading and discussing the blogger’s work, which means a higher comment count.
Bloggers love that — and they love the commenters who help make that happen.
How To Do It
Another is the comment Harleena Singh left Will Blunt:
When you add value with a good comment, you’re investing in the blog post.
Bloggers love that. They appreciate it…
They learn from it…
And they remember it.
Part #4: The Parting Promise
After a successful first date, each person is usually looking for a clue the other enjoyed themselves and a second date is in the cards.
That clue could be a lingering smile. It could be a casual remark about not having any plans the following Saturday. Or it could be the other person actually saying the words, “I enjoyed myself and would like to see you again.”
Whatever form it takes, it sends a message: this date was not just a one-off.
And when wooing a popular blogger, you’d be smart to let them know you’re interested in a longer-term relationship.
That’s why the best comments make a promise at the end. They tell bloggers, “Hey… I enjoyed this so much I want to keep the party going!”
How To Do It
One great way to make a promise is to tell the author you’re going to share the post on your favorite social media platform…
Tell them they’ve written such a good post you have no choice BUT to share it…
Or channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger and tell them, “I’ll be back” (to read more of your content)…
But whatever promise you make, be sure to keep it.
Tweet the post like you said you would. Read the blogger’s other posts, and leave more comments. In other words, do exactly what you said you would do.
And when you share the post on your favorite social media platform, be sure to tag the blogger — let them know you followed through…
And if the bloggers are anything like Will Hoekenga, they’ll notice and express their gratitude…
Examples of Blog Comments that Kicked Butt (and The Extra Ingredient They All Share)
So what does a good comment that has each of these elements look like?
It looks a lot like this comment from Adrienne Smith:
And it looks a lot like this comment from Ayodeji Awosika:
Adrienne’s and Ayodeji’s comments start with greetings, go straight to compliments, add value, and end on promises.
But beyond that, they add an additional element present in most good comments…
Any robot can start a comment with a greeting and end it with a promise.
But for a comment to take the next step, for a comment to get noticed by the blog’s owner or editor, you have to let “you” shine through.
As my friend Jaime Buckley once told me:
“Unless you’re engaging, my eyes will glaze over. We all have a personality, but do you use it? Does it come out in your comments?”
Jaime should know. He’s an expert at letting his personality shine through in his comments:
Jaime writes his comments the way he might write an email to a friend.
It’s refreshing and it’s an excellent way to get noticed.
The Rich Rewards That Flow from Carefully Crafted Comments
You may be wondering at this point…
Is it worth it?
Is it worth putting all this time and thought into blog comments?
It was worth it for me.
Years ago, I left the following comment on a post published on this very website, Smart Blogger:
I greeted the author by name, complimented his work, added value, and promised to share his post on the now-defunct Google Plus.
A week later, after Smart Blogger published a new post, I left another comment:
Another greeting, another compliment, another piece of added value, and another promise.
The next week, I did it again:
And again the next week. And the next. Over and over, again and again.
Each week, week after week, I visited Smart Blogger, read their latest masterpiece, and left them a good comment.
Smart Blogger’s editor at the time, Glen Long, took notice:
A few months later, Glen invited me to become a guest writer:
This invitation led to my first post for Smart Blogger…
…which led to several more.
Fast forward a few years and Jon Morrow, the company’s CEO, invited me to join Smart Blogger as its Editor-in-Chief.
Today, I run the blog I admired and followed for so many years. I get to work for and alongside my mentors, Jon and Glen. I get to fulfill my dream of quitting the rat race and blogging full-time.
And I have comments to thank for setting the wheels in motion:
Your mileage can and will vary.
But if you need proof blog commenting can lead to wonderful things, look no further.
Let’s Find Out Where Good Comments Can Take You
It won’t happen overnight. And, clearly, good comments alone won’t catapult you to world domination.
But they’re an effective, often-overlooked component — especially now that so many bloggers think they’ve gone the way of the dodo.
In a sea of sameness, good comments with personality stand out like Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels at a charity gala for the preservation of the endangered Icelandic snow owl.
They’re capable of getting influential bloggers to sit up, take notice, and ask themselves: “Who is that?”
So, are you ready for a new era of smarter commenting?
Are you ready to discover where good comments can take you?
Then let’s do this thing.
Note: For a handy visual reminder of the four-part formula you can download or share on your own website, check out the image below:
Embed This Infographic On Your Site: