Fun fact: I am probably the shyest extrovert you’ll ever meet. As a shy individual, it was a challenge for me to muster the courage to connect with other bloggers and leave comments. But Y’ALL – I’m so glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to network!
Please keep reading if you’re looking for simple, tangible tips on (1) breaking out of your comfort zone and (2) comment-writing etiquette (for blogs AND social media).
3 Tips for Networking with Other Bloggers
Try blog comment threads | If I sound like a broken record, it’s because I cannot emphasize enough how easy blog comment threads make it to connect with other bloggers. I suggest trying to connect with bloggers who (1) write content that you’re interested in or that is similar to yours AND/OR (2) connecting with bloggers who’ve indicated they’ll “return comments.”
Join an Engagement Pod | Although this is more common for platforms like Instagram, Engagement Pods can be a great space to connect with other bloggers. I’ve created genuine friendships with some fantastic bloggers this way (y’all know who you are <3).
Focus on building relationships with 1 – 2 bloggers (at first) | This probably sounds strange, but try focusing on building relationships with a small network of bloggers. It can be overwhelming (and ineffective) to think you need to connect with thousands of people to grow. What good is it to have thousands of followers if no one engages with your content?
Start small and work your courage up until you feel comfortable leaving a comment. “liking” and “retweeting” content can go a long way.
5 Dos and Don’ts for Writing Thoughtful Comments
1. DON’T link drop | Whether it is done on social media or on someone else’s blog, out-of-context link-dropping is hands-down one of the rudest blogging behaviors.
From a social media perspective, out-of-context link dropping is when someone drops a link on a thread without providing any context to the content. To be fair, this behavior is perfectly fine when done on a blog-comment or blog-link thread that is hosted by a Blogger Retweet Account (check out this post for 40+ Blogger Retweet Accounts)…because this is expected!
So when is this behavior rude? If another blogger hosts a “link drop” thread on Twitter, it is common courtesy to introduce yourself or to provide context regarding the post you are sharing…especially if you are not acquainted with the blogger hosting the thread. Think about it like this: if you’re meeting someone for the first time, would you immediately ask them to do you a favor without introducing yourself first? I don’t think so.
When is link-dropping potentially rude from a blog-comment perspective? Linking or promoting your own content on another blogger’s post is rude, unless that blogger has specifically asked you to share a link. There are exceptions to this “rule,” such as when you use your blog URL in your comment signature, but this behavior is a big “no-no” otherwise. Again, think about it like this: if you were attending a book reading at a bookshop, would you interrupt the visiting author to read a passage from your own work? I don’t think so.
2. DO use a blog signature | As I briefly mentioned above, referencing your blog URL in an email signature is an effective and courteous way to promote your blog… particularly when connecting with (1) new bloggers and (2) bloggers who use a different blogging platform or comment-hosting program (ex. Blogger, WordPress, Wix, Disqus).
Also, if you are blogging on a platform such as WordPress, make sure that your blog URL is properly linked to your account. There are countless bloggers who I’ve tried to follow after a thoughtful comment exchange, but was unable to due to a broken blog link.
3. DON’T write a generic comment | I strongly caution against leaving generic comments because you’re unlikely to build a relationship or good exchange from this type of comment. Generic comments are statements that have no actual substance to them (ex. “great post,” “nice post,” “thanks for sharing these ideas” etc.). Why don’t these types of comments work? These comments don’t give the writer any indication that you’ve actually read his or her work. Instead, comments like this could indicate that you are phishing for comments in return. These are totally fine statements to use in conjunction with additional details, but are otherwise meaningless on their own.
4. DO write a well-thought comment that pulls from the writer’s post | If you find the prospect of commenting daunting, try using this formula to help you get started:
Compliment + Context + Signature/Sign-Off = Thoughtful Comment
A compliment can be as simple as “Great post” or “thank you for sharing” but should provide additional context as to what specifically you liked about the author’s post. For example,
“Thank you for sharing this post. I really loved your advice regarding effectively tagging your blog posts – I’m going to start implementing this strategy in my future posts. Happy Blogging!
XX, The Newbury Girl | thenewburygirl.com”
A thoughtful comment doesn’t have to be a long paragraph (although it can be if you want), but it should clearly indicate to the author that you’ve actually taken the time to read his or her post. Asking a thoughtful question or responding to a blogger’s question prompts could be another way to signal that you’ve taken the time to read the author’s post.
5. Don’t Neglect Comments | This should go without saying, but don’t neglect those who take the time to comment on your posts. Personally, I’ve stopped commenting on bloggers’ posts when I consistently show support but receive no acknowledgement back. While I recommend responding to a comment, with another comment… a simple “like” will suffice to let the commenter know that you’ve read his or her comment. As you grow your following, this may become challenging. However, chances are if you’re reading this post then returning comments should be doable.
Personally, I’ve become friends with other bloggers through blog commenting. Why miss out on an opportunity to make a new friend?
So what’s the big takeaway? Online people are still real people. As such, we need to remember to treat our online friends and acquaintances with the same courtesy we would treat others if we met them in-person.
Are you a new blogger looking for tips and tricks on how to grow your blog? Are you a seasoned blogger just looking for a few pointers? Check out Blogger Recognition Award: Why I Write & Tips for New Bloggers, Helpful Tools for Blog Planning & Scheduling, and 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging.
Do you struggle with writing engaging comments? What is the best comment-etiquette advice you’ve ever received?