Web Savvy PR Tip #4 Comment Before You Link

Do you think before you link (or retweet a link on Twitter)? Commenting before you post a link to any social site can be a great online PR tactic

This is a part of my how to series on Twitter.com: #WebSavvyPRTip 4: Think B4 U Link: Commenting on a post B4 you link 2 it can be a good PR strategy. http://websavvypr.com/category/pr-tips/ 4 more

Before posting the link of someone else’s good blog post to a social networking or social bookmarking site (like Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, LinkedIn or other such sites) – think. If it is a post that fits the interest of your audience (readers, customers, clients, friends) consider commenting on the post before you link to it. Then your audience gets to see your POV, hence expanding the reach of your brand or company. This also shows that you know what they are interested in by exposing your followers/friends to a great blog post that may be of interest to them.

Now, this strategy will have it’s detractors, and can be misused. Hence my “think before you link.”

First – be sure it is a topic you are interested in, your readers are interested in, and be sure that your comment can add something to the conversation on that blog (not just be looked at as spammy by the post’s author or that site’s readers). Feel free to comment on any blog you want, but if you are looking to expand the reach of your brand – by using this technique: by commenting, then posting the link on a social networking site in which you have built a community – choose wisely. Be thoughtful/selective about the posts to comment on and link to. Is it in your area of expertise? Will it help find new readers/clients? Will it look like you are trying to horn in on someone else’s territory. This commenng idea may sound cold, or calculating, but done right, it is a four way win/win situation: for you & your audience, and for the blogger and his or her readers.

The Pros of commenting on the right post before lining to it:

  • It creates opportunities for conversation – or engaging with people – and that’s the foundation of social networking.
  • It builds your brand (when you fill out the comment form on the blog – fill in your name or social media username and your website/blog URL).
  • It also establishes your credibility – allowing you to share your expertise briefly, and exposes that blog’s readers to your point of view, as well as your own audience. Think share info, not show-off.
  • It shares the love – the interactivity of comments are the solar power that makes this “social media electricity” work. It’s a part of what separates a static website from a dynamic blog. It’s also a way to “pay it forward” as they say. The last time I commented on a blog, I had several readers of that blog head over to my site and comment on a post there.
  • It can help build a connection with another blogger, be they big-wig, newbie or just another blogger like us, or even with another person who commented on the post too.
  • Many folks have said that social networking sites are killing blogs – that people comment on Twitter and Digg, and not on the blog itself. Sure it happens, but why not do both – I have seen them act synergistically or work well together to move a client’s brand forward.
  • Everyone likes good comments on their blogs, it. But be sure it is a “good comment.” I suggest not writing a throw away comment like “great post” (although I enjoy getting these on my blog too, and they are fine for the new or shy person commenting early on, but that is under-utilizing the potential power of comments ). Good comments add value to the conversation; they move it forward. That is, they provide useful information that either expands on the original post, provides additional info on the idea, confirms the original post with additional info, or provides a different POV on the subject among other things. Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog, might it get more people to engage here, on this blog? If so, then make it.
  • If more folks did this, it might increase the interactivity on many blogs. If you have gotten used to the 140-160 character limits on Twitter (and Facebook/Linked in Status updates), it gives you a chance to briefly expand on an idea.

The Cons of commenting on a post before linking:

  • You can be seen as a Comment SPAMMER That is – don’t comment something bland and put a link to your own site – that’s the basic definition of “Comment SPAM.”
  • Your comments are “searchable” via Google & Yahoo– your comments can show up when a prospective client searches for your name/company– make them count. If you tear into a blogger with a different POV than yours, it can come back to haunt you. That client seeing your venting may decide they don’t want to work with someone like that; or by being taken out of context; or by starting a “flame war,” a series of comments back and forth that begins to remind you of the schoolyard when you were ten. Intelligent healthy debate – builds your brand integrity, peeing matches are just that.
  • Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog? Or is it the equivalent of the guy who comes to the party and talks so loudly about his own “stuff,” that people start avoiding him. Don’t be the blow hard.
  • Read the other comments on the blog post, be sure you are not duplicating what others have said already, or if you are weighing in – reference other comments above – to show you read them, and are not a spammer.
  • As your brand’s audience grows, if you ONLY comment on blogs where it is sure to drive traffic back to your site – that is a kind of link bait or comment SPAM- and can diminish the quality of your brand in your own audience’s eyes, or in that of a prospective customer, and that blogger.

So – Think before you Link, and Comment First if Appropriate:

  1. Comment on appropriate blog posts in ways that expand your brand, and add value to the conversation;
  2. Then post the link to your favorite social media or social networking site (How to do this effectively may be fodder for another post);
  3. Don’t forget to check the blog’s comment stream later (many allow you to sign up to receive e-mail when more comments are made). Someone may be trying to engage you in further conversation – that’s when you know you’ve hit the right note. Don’t be a hit-and-run commenter.

Feel free to share your @twitter name or Twitter link when commenting on my blog. That does not equal spam for me; It helps further opportunities to connect.

By Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com, find me on Twitter; I am an online and traditional PR consultant, with many  years of Public Relations experience, and a social media guide. I help individuals and small businesses find the right strategies and tools for their business to help expand the reach of their brand. I can help you: create a blog or add one to your existing website; learn to use social media tools and social networking software to get the word out about what you do; and help you reach out to traditional media outlets to tell your story. 484-802-7576, See my blog sidebar for other social media sites I am on and how to contact me.

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