“No way!” you say. “Those guys are too busy! They’ll never respond to me.”
Anyway, why should you really care?
Well, getting someone to respond to a comment you left on her blog is a direct line to getting her attention…
And getting her attention is one step closer to becoming popular online.
And becoming popular means you are driving more traffic to your site, converting more of those visitors into subscribers and ultimately building a loyal following who will buy your products.
Over the years, I have both experimented with strategies and learned methods from others like Nicholas Tart at Income Diary to get the attention of bloggers. Now, I want to share those strategies with you.
I do a lot of web surfing and come across a lot of content as I research for blog posts. I have to say that Nick Stamoulis, hands down, is the king of being the first to comment on most blog posts I see.
The man is everywhere!
And, naturally, he also gets the majority of responses from the bloggers. The reason this strategy works is because of blogger sensitivity. Bloggers are most sensitive to comments the first few hours after the content is published because that is when they are most interested in the readers’ reactions.
The older the post gets, the less likely they’ll answer comments. You can especially count on it if they post daily. So, if you can comment within minutes of the blog being published, you are going to strike them when they are hot.
But how does Nick do it? And how can you do it?
If you’re an iPhone user, you can use a push notification tool like Push 4.0 that sends notifications straight to your iPhone:
If you are a Google Chrome user, you can use the Google Reader Notifier:
And as soon as you get new content, read it and respond.
Now, this won’t work if you subscribe via email since the delivery is typically scheduled and can arrive in your inbox hours after the post was published.
Ask a narrow and meaningful question
Lots of popular bloggers get questions in their comment sections. Most of those questions, however, don’t get answered.
Why is that?
Typically, these questions are pretty basic like “I’ve just started in such and such business, and do you have any advice for me on how I can succeed?”
Talk about opening a can of worms! That’s not the kind of question a busy blogger wants to answer because it would take forever.
Instead, if you want an answer, you need to narrow your question down to something very specific. Here are some examples:
- “In the third section of you post you said X. Have you ever tested what would happen if you did X and then Z? Did you know that the results would not be A?”
- “Your post reminds me of a situation I was in. [Blank] happened. And I did X. Did I do the right thing? What would you do?”
As you can see, asking a series of questions will narrow your idea down so that the blogger’s answer can be more manageable. Make it too broad, and you will probably get ignored.
Here’s a good example from a recent SEOmoz post on Google, where “explorionary” asked a great question…
…to which the author of the post responded.
Leave a ton of comments
Another strategy you can employ to get the attention of the blogger is to reply to a bunch of comments per post.
I’ve seen Sean D’Souza do this at Copyblogger. He naturally rises in Brian Clark’s eyes, who probably not only appreciates the inflation of his comments, but appreciates that Sean is tackling a lot of the questions that Brian might not have time to answer.
In other words, Sean is making things easy for Brian…and a busy blogger definitely appreciates that!
Gregory Ciotti did this recently on my How to Leverage Groupon’s Affiliate Marketing Model to Grow Your Business post:
He answered the first comment, and I came back around and thanked him. It helps that Gregory comments a lot on my blog.
By the way, I try to respond to every single comment, so maybe I’m not the best example. Still, I think it is good to recognize the comment.
Reply to the blogger’s reply
When the blogger jumps out there and answers a comment, that’s your perfect chance to engage him. He is obviously interested in the topic…He is hot…so, strike when the iron is hot!
On the Groupon post, Mohideen tailed in on a comment I left…
…to which I responded.
You can employ a number of the strategies I mention in this article such as: leave a thought-provoking opinion, ask a narrow, meaningful question or disagree with what the blogger says that encourages him to respond.
Answer the follow-up question
A lot of bloggers like to end their posts with a question. How many people do you think actually answer that question?
I end all of my posts with a question…
And I love it when people respond.
Not very many do, which is unfortunate because bloggers ask that question for a reason.
Make a point of answering the question. Who knows, you may be the only person who answers it. And if you are, you will more than likely get an answer.
Here’s how I would go about answering it: “Hi, you asked X at the end of the post. Well, the answer to your question is Y.” Of course, Y is where you answer in detail.
Speaking of detail…
Leave a thought-provoking opinion
Comments are like forums, where the discussion that was started in the post is continued. If you’ve deeply read and understood the blog post, then you are prepared to leave a really good opinion.
Leaving a thought-provoking opinion shows the blogger that you took the time to read her post…something most people don’t do, which is reflected in their short and shallow comments.
Furthermore, an insightful opinion will give value to the post. So will an additional tip.
For example, if the blog post is a top 10 or 100, leave a comment that adds no. 101, no. 102, etc.
Follow their advice
It’s so flattering to a blogger to hear about somebody who has taken her advice and applied it. Think about it. You’ve spent hours on a blog post, collecting ideas, writing and editing…so, naturally, you want it to make an impact on someone.
Wouldn’t you want to hear about how what you wrote helped somebody solve a problem?
This happens a lot on Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich blog…and Ramit comes out and responds quite often…not every time, but enough to make it a tactic to use.
Disagree with the blogger
This might seem a little intimidating. I mean you are going to challenge someone who is at the top of the pecking order.
But don’t worry.
If you truly disagree with blogger, don’t be afraid to say so. The magic is, however, in how you say it. Coming off like a jerk will get you ignored or at least flamed and ejected by the community.
Don’t do this:
“You’re wrong. Where did you get your information? Did you even do your research?”
I didn’t say be combative. I said disagree, and do it this way:
Hey, help me out here. I was wondering where you got your information in section 3. After I added up all of the numbers, I came up with X, where you came up with Y. I did this three times, and I get the same thing each time. What am I missing?
If indeed the blogger is wrong, and he is a professional, he’ll appreciate your kind correction.
Everett Gavel praised Copyblogger for a great infographic but went on to explain what was wrong with it:
This feedback naturally brought Brian Clark out.
Add something controversial
Everybody likes a good scandal, so leaving a controversial comment is bound to signal the blogger.
A couple of things to keep in mind when using this tactic though:
- Make sure you do your homework – If you say something you think is controversial, but it’s been proven wrong on Snopes, you’re going to look like a fool, especially if the blogger knows better.
- Be humble – One thing bloggers can’t stand is arrogant commentators. If you are sharing some kind of a scandal in a prideful way, you are not going to look good in the eyes of the blogger or the readers.
Use the blogger’s name
People like their first names…and they like hearing them even more.
So, when you go to leave a thought-provoking insight or some controversial reply, make sure to start your comment with the blogger’s name.
As easy as it may sound, you can fail. How? By addressing somebody other than the person who wrote the article.
This typically happens when a blogger lets someone guest-post on his or her site.
This can be easily avoided if you simply pay attention to the author. Sometimes bloggers will put a colored box at the top of the post saying it’s written by a guest author.
Here’s how I do it:
Also look for the byline, which is usually at the end of the post. This is how Problogger does it:
You really shouldn’t have to look very hard to find out who wrote it.
Use your name and picture
You as a commentator need to identify yourself fully. Hiding behind Anonymous is a sure way to be ignored.
Instead, use your full name.
In addition to that, consider getting an account with Gravatar that will allow you to upload a picture that will show up no matter where you comment.
Having that picture is important, especially if you want to brand yourself.
Commenting is just one of many ways to get the attention of big-time bloggers, but it’s a pretty easy, straightforward and effective method, especially if you get good at combining several of the described approaches together.
Keep in mind that because of Twitter, blogs don’t get nearly as many comments as they used to, but this doesn’t mean bloggers don’t love them. They do. So, show them some love!
What other commenting strategies do you use to get bloggers to respond?