Blog commenting is my secret weapon to connect with high profile names in book publishing and the most popular bloggers on the internet. It’s true that following them on social media is a great place to start, but being more interactive will help to develop those connections.
When was the last time you commented on a blog? Perhaps they were covering a story or topic that was really captivating, and you wanted to participate in the conversation. What if you attempted to do this professionally, with blogs and people you admire and would like to network with? Did you know this can also help you show up higher in search results, too?
We’ve been using blog commenting for years as an excellent book marketing tool for our author clients, and although the structure of blogging campaigns has changed over the years (as Google has), the concept has remained the same.
What is Blog Commenting?
The idea of blog commenting is nothing new, but using it for virtual networking is a solid strategy that most authors don’t employ enough. As a book marketing tool, it’s a very sound strategy to connect to people of influence.
Blog commenting is not the same as a blog tour. The purpose is to comment on a blogger's existing post.
Why Commenting is Important for Book Marketing
Who doesn’t enjoy seeing comments on their blog posts? I know I sure do, but oddly enough so few people take the time to network that way. So, commenting, in and of itself, is a great way to build on a relationship and get to know a blogger and vice versa. Maintaining regular contact with a blogger will keep you fresh in their mind if you ever decide to pitch him or her your book. A problem for many authors when it comes to book marketing is not having the proper network to gain exposure for their book.
Is There Any SEO Value?
If you aren’t familiar with SEO, it means “search engine optimization.” Years ago, when blog commenting first became a “thing,” many SEO experts were using it to attract incoming links to their page. Why links? These links improve your overall Google ranking. Incoming links from high traffic websites increase your overall website visibility, therefore helping you become discovered for your keywords. So, SEO is definitely a consideration, but more importantly, your comments help to foster a relationship with the blogger.
For those of you who want to geek out about SEO, let's discuss the significance of backlinks, specifically, backlinks from high-quality websites with lots of traffic. This is one of the main factors by which Google measures Domain Authority, and was previously called “Page Rank,” which was the rank of various pages on your website. Google stopped using this metric and now employs a series of benchmarks to determine your domain rank.
Domain rank varies by industry. For example, our domain rank is 48, which is on the high end for our industry. You can check your own domain rank by visiting: https://www.semrush.com which will also show you how many incoming links you have!
Which Blogs to Comment On and Why
Everyone wants to comment on the high-profile sites like CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, but it’s essential to have a precise vision about your blog commenting and book promotion objectives. What is your vision?
I wouldn’t recommend doing this just to get links into your site, because you’d be missing the scope of the matter. At the beginning of this post, I talked about virtual networking, and that’s where your book promotion focus should remain. So, who do you want to network with?
Do you have a wish list of blogs you’d want to be highlighted on? The blogger might review comparable books to yours or may have author features. Or, perhaps they also accept guest post requests. If you’ve emailed a pitch but haven’t heard back, this may be your chance to really stand out. (Want to work with a blogger on book reviews? Check out this recent article I wrote.)
If you become familiar with the blogger by making interesting or insightful posts, this could open the door for them to interview you.
How to Find Great Blogs in Your Niche
You probably already know who you want to network with, but if you don’t, then you’ll need to get on Google to do some quick searches on your topic. You can use the same site I recommended previously to find other sites that are linked to yours. I’d recommend watching these sites for a while (maybe a week or more) to get a sense of the content they post, how often, etc.
Make a list of 10-15 blogs you want to follow, but don’t feel like you need to comment on each of these sites every week. A good pace is generally five comments a week on five different websites.
Write Thoughtful Comments
Use some ingenuity when posting instead of using generic responses, as this will help you stand out. You may even (gently) mention something related that you address in your book. Don’t push your book too hard, though mentioning it is okay just as long as you don’t do it every single time you write a comment.
Linking to Your Website
Within your blog comment, you can certainly link to your website via the login most sites have. So, for example, when you post on our site, the commenting system will ask for your name and website. Most commenting systems offer this, but always list the website as “optional.” This should never be an option. Always list your website when you’re signing into the comment portal.
We talked earlier about linking and getting incoming links to your website. So, it’s sometimes prudent to list your website URL within the comment itself. I’d advise doing this only if it’s relevant to what you commented. For instance, if you mention that you previously wrote about a similar topic, feel free to say this in the post and include the link. However, I’d only do this once in a while and remove the “www” from your URL. Why? A lot of blogs now have no-follow rules, which means they won’t approve comments with full URLs linked in them.
Don’t Forget to Blog on Your Own Website
We all know that blogging is a good book marketing tool, but in reality, it’s much more than that. It takes one to know one and to connect with other bloggers in the community you need to be blogging yourself, at the minimum of once a week to have some notoriety. However, if you’re trying to build more traffic to your website, I’d recommend blogging twice weekly if you can. It’s a solid book promotion strategy.
Following up on Social Media
Be sure you’re also following these bloggers on their social media accounts. The majority of them will be on Twitter. (Here’s a post I wrote about connecting with influencers on Twitter.) Regardless of which accounts they have, make sure you’re following at least one of them. If you’re on Facebook a lot, you may just follow them there. The point is that you want to follow, share and comment on their social posts as well. The benefits of connecting with bloggers by commenting, combined with following them on their social platform(s) will further boost your book promotion efforts. Not sure which social platform is best for you? Take our new quiz!
From personal experience, I can tell you that there is a lot of merit to this. We have “followers” on our blog and social platforms who are always engaging with our content. I don’t know them, per se, but I “know” them virtually — and their emails always go to the top of the pile when they write.
While it’s great to meet industry professionals in person, the ability to connect and network through blog commenting serves as a powerful marketing tool and also helps you become more recognizable. The bottom line is garnering increased exposure for your book.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.