Comment marketing has got a bit of a bad reputation. At best many imagine it to be ineffective, and at worst, some think that it’s about spamming and nothing more. This bad reputation is far from new. In fact, this tarred brush dates back in the bad old days of SEO, when black hat techniques such as forum spamming and automated blog commenting were prevalent.
But here’s the interesting thing – the strength of comment marketing lies in these misunderstandings, as your fellow equine businesses are likely making these very presumptions about what can be a really powerful marketing medium. With this secret tool in your marketing arsenal, you could be making business leaps and bounds, whilst your competitors haven’t even navigated the first hurdle.
Comment marketing 101 – how it can help your business
Comment marketing involves leaving your thoughts, input and insight on other websites in (unsurprisingly) the comment section. This could be a business forum, a fellow equine trader’s blog, on social media or on a community page. Great comments on relevant posts lead to website visits, which lead to links in a future post, and can link back to more website visits.
So, that’s organic website traffic driven directly to your website. Yet there’s something of potentially far more value that can be derived from comment marketing – industry authority. By leaving insightful, helpful comments on the blogs of other equine businesses or voices in your industry, your expertise is demonstrated to other readers and, perhaps most importantly, the blog owner. When done regularly, conversations and debates can be struck up. When done right, this can then lead to connections and partnerships – others may promote your blog, mention your business to others (in person and online) and even purchase your services/products themselves.
Key question: How can I leave a comment and a link, without being rude?
The online world is defined by its very own set of rules and guidelines when it comes to etiquette. Given the epidemic that is spam, it’s then unsurprising that some blog and website owners take exception to every single comment left that includes a link. Here’s our suggestion for an email if you wish to avoid offence…
I wanted to ensure that your blog accepts links in the comments, however I wanted to point to [EXPLAIN HOW YOUR COMMENT AND LINK ARE RELEVANT TO THE BLOG].
Editor – please do feel free to remove if links are not appropriate.”
Or (even better), you could post the following as a comment…
“This is super helpful, and I’ve actually been replicating something similar on our site. If you visit our blog, you can see how we’ve actioned this – the link is available via my LinkedIn profile.”
In the second instance, you also gain the opportunity of showcasing other pieces of content, information and media, as well as offering a point of contact should the website visitor wish to contact you there and then.
Equine websites worth a look for comment marketing:
- Horse & Hound – horseandhound.co.uk/forums or facebook.com/horseandhound/
- BETA – facebook.com/betaequestrian/
Comment marketing for social growth
We’ve got great news, unlike many other industries, the equine world is relatively small, and creating a strong voice via social is far easier and faster a process than in industries that market to the masses.
PressPoint Pro Tip
For some businesses, going on a message drive can provide for a follower growth spurt. For many, these can be driven by leaving comments on publicly open page walls. Something as simple as the following can leave an imprint for other eager networkers to click upon…
“Hi there, we’re big fans of your Facebook page… [INSERT VALUABLE COMMENT RELATING TO RECENT CONTENT ON THE PAGE]. I’m leaving my Facebook page profile link here – we are [CATCHY, ONE LINE COMPANY INTRO].”
What makes a comment effective?
Solid quality comments (the kind that others engage with, and that drive traffic to your social profiles and website), must tick off the following six pointers if it’s to be an online asset, not a liability:
1. It’s on-topic
Leaving comments purely to talk about your business? That’s spam and goes against the grain of what comment marketing is truly about. Not only must your comment be on-topic, but it should also add something to the conversation – an original point of view, a link leading to complimentary content, or thoughts that take the debate further.
2. It is mindful of the author, as well as other commenters
Sparking a healthy debate or providing an opinion that is different to the author’s is absolutely OK. What’s not OK is going on the attack or being dismissive of the points that the author has made. Here’s what just such a comment may look like (note the opening compliment – flattery will get you everywhere, when comment marketing):
“Hi there, great post, [AUTHOR NAME]. I think you make some interesting points, but points number two and five I disagree with, here’s why. This is my experience… OR I have this data OR I conducted research.
I’d love to share this information, go check it out here – [INSERT LINK].”
3. It delivers something of unique value
Forget common knowledge. Don’t regurgitate the comments of others who’ve left their thoughts. Typically speaking, if you can’t add some totally original input, move on to another blog or forum where you can provide value.
4. It’s always, always transparent
Be honest about why you’re commenting, and what you can add to the author’s piece. A comment such as the one following puts it all up front and protects your integrity (it’s also especially important if you’re posting from a personal rather than a business account):
“Hello there, full disclosure, I work for [COMPANY NAME] and I wrote this piece, but I think it’s both relevant and helpful enough to introduce it here. So, with your permission, hopefully I’m linking to it. Editor, do please feel free to remove this link if it’s not appropriate.”
5. It follows proper English – grammar and all
This final pointer should be obvious, but we’ll include it anyway as it’s simply so important. You must proof your posts and ensure that your spelling, grammar and syntax is correct – that means taking the time to double check your comment before clicking ‘post’.
Post and hope, or comment and strategize?
It’s easy to dismiss comment marketing as ineffective or old hat, not least because of the reasons we covered at the start. Hopefully we’ve made the case clear for setting aside time for this marketing tactic. And if you are going to invest in comment marketing, it makes sense that you’ll approach it strategically. If you’re serious about making this work for you, here’s the 1-2-3 for putting together a strategy…
1. Work out what you’re trying to achieve
What are your trying to achieve? Sure, you ultimately want more business, but what will lead to this – a boost in SEO? Developing your industry authority? Growing your social follower count? Deciding on what you’re trying to achieve in the form of a measurable goal is the first step you’ll need to work out.
2. Decide on metrics that will measure your success
With a concrete goal in focus, you now need metrics – what does success look like? 100 extra website visits a month? 10 more followers per week? One invitation to guest blog every 14 days?
3. Put together a list of blogs, communities and forums to interact with
In this blog, we’ve tried to provide some generic equine websites that could be the right place to comment, but we don’t know your exact niche – you may be an equine wholesaler, or a stable owner – and as such they’ll likely be websites out there that are more tightly tied to what you do. Ideally your list should number ten in total.
4. Do your research – it’ll pay off
Get to know your top ten websites and bloggers. Get to grips with what they write about, their impassioned thoughts on certain topics, the way they interact with commenters. This basic research takes minimal time and can yield maximum results. It’ll also help you understand the type of content that their audience (who are your prospects) are engaging and interacting with – providing for the most reach for your comments.
5. Sign up to new content alerts
Fresh content is critical to your commenting – spending time posting to blogs that are years old not only means that there may only be limited traffic, it’s also possible that the author no longer watches out for comments as they previously did. Signing up for email alerts, or creating an RSS, can help you jump onto content that’s in the moment and attracting attention.
Make no mistake – comment marketing is powerful and influential, when done right. But what if you’re not feeling too talkative, when it comes to comment marketing? Or finding it tough to squeeze any sort of marketing effort into your daily, weekly or even monthly schedule? Our team always have plenty to say. Perhaps we should chat? Call our team on 01953 851513 or send a message over and we’ll be right back in touch – [email protected]