Monday, July 19, 2010

Content Strategy for Blog Comments

A blog post from Newt Barrett got me thinking about the whole area of blog comments. Blogs are conversational by definition and design, so comments are an essential part of the formula. But all comments are not created equal. Let's face it, most comments are not even really comments, they are just lazy attempts at backlinking for SEO purposes. Your blog posts say a lot about who you are, and what you do. They establish your reputation. The same holds true for the comments you allow to be posted.

Comment Content Strategy for Blog Owners

If you own or administer a blog, I don't have to tell you about how much time it takes to keep up with comments. It's easy to want to just ignore the whole thing, but comments can really bring life to your posts.

To Moderate or Not to Moderate - Whenever possible, I think moderation is essential. This is pure content curation (buzzword bingo!). When I scan a posts comments and see comments that are completely out of context, and obviously pushing a link to another site, it lowers my opinion of the entire blog. So yes, moderate your posts. If you have so many comments that you just can't do it (a high quality problem for sure) think about outsourcing. And don't forget to let technology help you. There are some really good WordPress plugins that do a great job in dealing with obvious spam comments (see below).

Moderate Consistently - You can't play favorites. Many of us have had the pleasure of dealing with returning visitors who seem to disagree with everything we say. If they are just plain vulgar and offensive, sure reject them every time. But presenting a valid argument should always be welcome. It's up to you as to whether you want to respond with a comment of your own or just let it go. But an hot argument can make for great content!

Write a Comment Policy - Once your blog starts to get a regular stream of traffic, you really should write a comment policy, similar to your privacy policy. (Yes, I know I don't have one yet, I'm just as strapped for time and lazy as everyone else - It's in the works). Your comment policy sets down the rules and expectations for both sides of the conversation. It can also be used to encourage comments, it you remove NoFollow tags from links in comments, let your readers know and let them know what kinds of links are OK.

Here are two short and simple examples from The Blog Herald and Obama's -

Mashable has a great list of comment-related plugins. These are my favorites - Akismet, Comment Timeout, BlogFollow, DoFollow, and AuthorHighlight.

Comment Content Strategy for Blog Commenters

For those leaving comments, you need to think about what it is you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes you just want to make a comment, sometimes you want to make a comment as a way of introducing yourself to the blog owner, and sometimes you really do want a link back to your site. All of these are fine, just know up front what you are trying to do.

For any kind of comment creation, the main rule is this - add something to the conversation.

Even nice comments that don't really add anything will likely be deleted. "Wow, great post. Keep it up," adds nothing to my life or the life of my readers. But add just a little bit of context and relevance, and I'll have no problem - "Good ideas. I'll add those thoughts to my current content strategy job search."

If you are including a link back to your site, a little more effort may be needed in order to pass the sniff test. Remember, the blog admin has a ton of comments to go through, make it obvious that there is value in your comment and you make it more likely that your comment will be approved.

Comments are a great way to start an online relationship with a blogger. But don't expect to become BFFs after one comment. However a series of well-thought-out comments is a great way to introduce yourself and maybe eventually get your sit listed in their blog roll.

Comments are Content

So comments are important content elements, and deserving of a content strategy of their own. If you are working as a content strategist for a client, consider adding a comment policy to your list of deliverables if they have a blog.

Think about how comments fit into your larger content strategy, define or understand the rules, then speak your mind and encourage others.

Has anyone written a comment policy? I'd love to hear what you think.


  1. Our team at Bond Art + Science wrote up a report on this topic a couple of years ago:

  2. Great report, thanks Karen, good to hear from you again. Now you have me off looking for more plugins.

  3. Hey Richard,

    I like how you break down the reasons why people post comments on blogs - you nailed it!

    I'd like to add two more things as well to increase comments:

    1. Install ComLuv - this makes other bloggers want to post on your blog by giving them a backlink to their latest post

    2. Respond to every comment - Commenters like to feel acknowledged and appreciated and it's a great way to keep commenters coming back to your post.

    Have a great day!

  4. Thanks Ian... now I'm off to play with ComLuv.

  5. Cool! It's a great plugin that's easy to use!

  6. Saw this post talking about dofollow and thought you would like to know about a new site, Wiki Dofollow. It is a community compiled list of high ranking dofollow sites. That way, the list stays current.

    If you want, be one of the first to blog about it. I am sure you know how difficult it is getting visitors to a new site. Your help would be greatly appreciated!


  7. Great article. it's useful for me to make blog Dofollow. Thank you for sharing this information.

  8. Hi Richard,

    This is a great topic and one that more business owners who are blogging should see. I think everyone who uses a blog should have a content strategy in place before getting active with other bloggers and leaving comments. If done well, commenting can be an effective strategy to use for networking, marketing, and SEO but it must be done well and with all three of those things in mind.

    I like your favorites - I would add CommentLuv as well but with caution. I don't know that it's appropriate for most business blogs but it is a very good tool to attract comments. It works best if your intended readers are bloggers; otherwise, it can be a spam magnet.

    Great blog. Glad I found it!


  9. Your site is extreamly informative and you have provide a great resource.

  10. Thank's that is Great resources.Also great to see this often ignored user group getting some much needed attention.

  11. You did a great job and your article is very informative. Thanks for posting this and if it is possible for you to share me more about it that would be great.