Any blogger or content marketer would agree that comments matter. Spammy ones aside, comments can serve as an indicator of how engaging or thought-provoking an article is. They also allow you to get to know your readers a little bit better and get insights on the types of content that resonate with your audience the most.
Comments are also encouraged by blogs because they pave the way for the 3 major Ds that drive traffic: discussion, debate, and drama.
But that’s just the tip of the ice berg.
Beyond content marketing and traffic generation, comments have some really practical uses, especially for freelancers. From getting more clients to finding stuff to write about, the comments section of your blog and the blogs of other people in your industry can serve as a goldmine for ideas and connections.
Don’t believe me? Below are a couple of ways on how you can use comments to your advantage:
Blog comments can enable you to connect with thought leaders and potential clients
Want to get the attention of thought leaders in your industry? Comment on their blog posts. And no, I’m not referring to posting some generic one liner (i.e. “great post!”). I’m talking about submitting witty, insightful remarks that actually contribute to the conversation.
Doing this consistently can put you on people’s radars and can help you land guest posts, partnerships, even mentorships with the gurus in your industry. How? If webmasters recognize you as a regular and contributing reader, they’ll be more likely to respond to your attempts to contact them. If you’re looking to “warm up” your cold emails or calls but can’t get an introduction, effective commenting is a good way to go.
Can blog comments actually land you some writing gigs? You bet. You just need to be strategic about it. Lengthy comments aren’t always necessary to turn the heads of your prospects. Sometimes, a genuine, thoughtful remark on the right article can do the trick.
Here’s how I did it:
Several months ago I came across an article on PandoDaily that covered the recent success of a former client. I was thrilled to learn about the news so I left a comment to express how happy I was for them.
I wasn’t really expecting anything to come out of the comment, but boy am I glad I took the time to write it. Because some time after that, the guys in the article touched base with me and sent a few projects my way.
Since then I made it a point to follow news about clients and potential clients and I make sure to comment and contribute to discussions that they’re in.
You can use them to get ideas
A while back, I interviewed freelance blogger Sophie Lizard and one of the things that we talked about was idea generation. Sophie has written a ton of insightful posts on some of the best sites in the blogosphere and I was curious about how she did it.
When I asked how she comes up with things to write about, she mentioned that among other things, she sometimes got article ideas from the comments section of her posts.
“When I publish a post, somebody will pop up and go, ‘This is really cool but I wish you wrote more about this and that’, and I’ll go ‘Okay, then I will.’”
The next time you’re suffering from writer’s block or topic fatigue, consider following in Sophie’s footsteps. Mine the comments section of your blog or any other sites in your industry. Who knows — you just might find a gem of an idea that would give you your next big article.
Readers often bring up stuff that the article might have missed. Take note of these things and base your next post on them.
Also pay attention to the anecdotes and stories shared in the comments. Identify any pain points and write something that can solve their problems.