Are you a talented writer struggling with your marketing efforts, unable to attract clients or build buzz about your services? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, marketing is one of the biggest challenges that writers face today. With many writers having a tiny or even non-existent budget with which to market themselves, it can seem almost impossible to get the word out about your skills and the excellent services you offer.
However, there is a way to effectively market yourself as a writer for free, and promote your services to thousands of people, all with only a few minutes work per day.
Of course, I’m talking about comment marketing.
For those unfamiliar with the term, comment marketing is simply the act of using comments on other blogs to promote yourself or your brand. There are a number of reasons why comment marketing is particularly attractive for new and intermediate writers:
1. It’s free – Unlike other forms of marketing, comment marketing is absolutely free, with the exception of your time investment.
2. It displays authority – Comment marketing is often used to display knowledge and authority, which is great for writers who don’t yet have an extensive portfolio to show potential customers.
3. It attracts leads – Comment marketing is a great way to make yourself visible to potential clients, as you can directly or indirectly advertise your services through the comments you post.
The merits of comment marketing are plain to see. However, it’s important to stay away from the “dark side” of comment marketing. Without a proper plan comment marketing plan in place, you run the risk of wasting your time and even damaging your brand with misplaced or spam-like comments. Here are six steps to developing a solid comment marketing plan:
1. Define your goal – Defining the intended purpose or outcome of your comment strategy should be the first step in any comment marketing plan. For example, do you want to drive traffic to your site, so that you can increase your subscription rates and sell through targeted emails? Or, are you trying to obtain clients thanks to the expertise you have offered? Your goal will determine what you will say, and which websites or blogs you will target.
2. Develop a list of target blogs – Choosing the right blog is critical in the success of your comment marketing plan. A scattergun approach to commenting will get you nowhere, as commenting on unrelated blogs, or those with little traffic, will get you neither clients, nor sales. For maximum efficiency, target websites that tie directly into the services that you offer, that have reasonably high levels of traffic, and that already have an active comment community. In addition, you should choose a site with Comment Luv or similar system enabled, allowing you to display a link of your choosing, whether it be the best post on your blog or a killer landing page.
3. Add value – Every comment that you make should be unique and interesting to those reading it. A one-line generic comment such as “good article” will do little to advance your marketing efforts. Ensure that you thoroughly review the information you will be commenting on before making a relevant comment. It will need to inform or teach readers a valuable piece of information that they would not have known otherwise. By doing so, you will be able to display knowledge/experience that can attract potential clients, and also encourage readers to click through to your website.
4. Secure a Gravatar profile – Gravatars are a great way to brand yourself and increase the likelihood of people clicking through to your website. A Gravatar, or Globally Recognized Avatar, is simply a picture that is linked to your email, which can be entered on most blog comment forms. People will be able to identify with an attractive Gravatar picture as opposed to the usual shapeless outline, and it will make you immediately identifiable to people who may want to learn more about you and your brand.
5. Comment early – As a general rule, the earlier you post your comment, the better. People tend to read the first few comments on a thread before leaving the page, or skipping to the bottom to make their own. If your favorite website doesn’t have a set schedule for publishing posts, set up an alert (such as Google alerts) that will let you know when a new post on the blog that you target has been published.
6. Measure results – It’s important to measure your results in order to determine how well your strategy is working. Have you gained any leads or clients through your efforts? Did you receive an increased amount of traffic? If so, how many people “bounced” off your page and how many people stayed? Use an analytics service such as Google analytics to discover which sites best served your goal, and continually tweak your plan to find new sites (or drop old ones) to ensure that your marketing efforts are paying off for you.
Marketing yourself as a writer doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Blog comments can not only lead to increased traffic, but can be a lucrative source of clients and a way to build your brand. Start developing your plan and you, too, can reap the benefits of good comment marketing.
Daryl George is a freelance writer and blogger with a number of specialty areas such as business, workforce management and technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in consumer psychology with business. He has guest posted for a number of well-known blogs such as Make a Living Writing and Be a Freelance Blogger. To contact him you can visit his website at darylgeorge.com or freelancewriterstartup.com.