In distress, a reader sent out an “S.O.S.”
After numerous failed attempts to make a successful go of his professional blog, he was frustrated and frazzled.
Despite having strong writing skills and obvious expertise, there was little to show for his sweat equity over the past two years. By his own account, he was having difficulty in attracting the traffic and subscribers he sought. He was in a “blog fog.” Stumped, he decided to pose a question on a marketing topic that I addressed on my Blog. I answered it.
At the end of our “exchange”, as a courtesy, I invited him to send me a personal email with any follow-up questions. And he did. Appreciative of my help, he actually pitched ME to do business. In one of those “Ripley’s-believe-it-or-not” moments, he wrote: “Do you consult for a fee? I’m a willing potential customer…and your time is valuable, so I’m willing to pay.”
After I pinched myself, I sent over a quick quote and an invoice for a sizeable sum. It was paid almost immediately. No questions. No haggling back and forth like yard sale adversaries. No requests for references or a writer’s resume. No pitching. No jumping through hoops.
It was the start of a beautiful professional partnership. But, our hook-up was not all that typical; in fact, the method and means is one that is often overlooked by today’s blogger.
The secret to my wooing him?
Comment marketing. That’s right. You see this “dream client” materialized as a result of a simple, thoughtful comment I placed a while back at another blogger’s site. Impressed and intrigued, he followed my link and the rest is history.
Here’s the moral of the story.
Many times writers spend countless hours engaging in social media trying to make connections to expand their network and their bottom line. The problem? So are thousands of other writers of equal or greater talent. Hello?
If you’re looking for a different strategy…one that takes little time, less frenzy, and no related expense, Comment Marketing is the key.
According to Social Media Explorer Webzine, “Consistently posting thoughtful, valuable blog comments will cause other industry professionals to take notice, leading to additional business opportunities and links from their sites to yours.” It further recommends that bloggers, as a general rule, aim for just five or six quality sites to post comments. Any more could come across as spamming.
Now that you know how it helped me to land my ideal client, here’s why it can benefit you, too.
Anyone can do it. It basically requires a little creativity and thoughtfulness. Leave a comment that shows that you think outside the box, and that you have a real grasp of the subject being “discussed.” Or, that you have the courage and conviction to speak out on a controversial issue. Or, tickle their funny bone. Be original.
Even if your efforts don’t result in a new client, it will minimally put your site’s link in front of new audiences, which could lead to more followers, fans and potential customers for your books or products.
Comment Marketing can cause others to perceive you as an expert on certain topics, based upon the knowledge and exposure that your comment demonstrates.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to increase the odds for success:
1. Remember that timing is important. Try to “speak out” early on. In other words, if you’re the 59th commenter on a site, chances are your words of wisdom will be buried and ultimately looked over.
2. Take special care to make sure that your words are spelled correctly, and that your grammar is on point; if not, you’ll defeat the purpose.
3. Aim for sites with high traffic and active communities.
4. If possible, have an attractive Gravatar image that accompanies the link. It provides visual variety and creates connections.
When it comes to Comment Marketing, “Talk is not cheap.” A few words can have a valuable impact on your online image, your blog, and greatly enhancing your marketing efforts.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, and creative strategist. She helps small businesses, creative artists and entrepreneurs to increase their online visibility and their bottom line. Visit her “Top 25” Blog at Pen & Pro$per at: http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/