The Complete Guide to Content Marketing Through Comments

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Content Marketing Through Comments

Virtually everyone who creates content wants someone to see it, read it, and hopefully engage with it. The desire is so strong in fact, that we have an entire industry dedicated to accomplishing that goal: Content Marketing.

We have learned over time that just because an article is visible, doesn’t mean people are actually reading and engaging with it, which is ultimately our true goal.

You have likes, shares, visits, and other metrics, to help you determine the success of your content, but ultimately it is comments that really tell us how engaged people are.

When someone comments on an article, site, or forum, they are entering into a discussion about a specific topic, with the goal to discuss it further or learn more about it. So, participating in comments can be a very effective way of presenting someone useful content at the time when they are most likely to consume or engage with it.

I know what you’re thinking already… ‘Oh great, is he really suggesting we comment spam?’ Of course not! Like any tactic, using it incorrectly will result in little to no real success, and more often than not result in some sort of penalty. This is also the case with content creation, linkbuilding, on-page SEO, etc.

That said, there are a lot of opportunities to effectively market your content in comments, which is what I want to talk about here.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc

Most social sites out there have updates, where you have the ability to respond to those updates with discussion points, and when relevant, links to related content. I typically like to combine both of these angles, by providing a related and helpful URL, but then also quoting the elements I think is most important to the existing conversation.

This provides the important elements needed to bring value to the conversation without requiring anyone to visit the URL, but allows the URL to be there for those who want more context, which is also likely to be the ones you really want reading the content anyhow.

I also never force a URL to fit. The goal is not to find some loosely related topic and then stretch your participation for the sake of making a URL fit, but rather to find conversations that could truly benefit from the URL and comments you would add.

Tip: You can do Google searches, such as ‘site:facebook.com topic of interest’ and then use Search Tools > Last 24 hours, to identify recent opportunities.

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Tip: For LinkedIn, you can also select the drop down menu next to their search box and then select Posts. Enter your desired topic and then sort by recent posts, to find recent opportunities around topics of interest.

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Tip: Searching on Google+ will bring up the ‘best of’ articles for any searched topic, with an option to sort by ‘most recent’ as well. Also, clicking on Explore and checking the Trending topics, is a great way to find posts trending and everyone clicking on those trends have the potential to see your additions to the discussion.

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Twitter

Twitter is slightly different, as they don’t really have a comments sections, but they do connect @replies into a sort of thread, which can be viewed by all people reading the tweets.

One thing I like to avoid on Twitter is identifying tweets through #hashtags, although I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this. I feel that #hashtags is too overly spammed, so instead, I like to make lists of people who are authorities in topics I have content around, so that when I see conversations relating to topics I have something to contribute, it is more natural and not associated with some #hashtag bandwagon spamming.

Tip 1: Try using tools like Klout, ManageFlitter, and others, to identify people of authority in your area of topic.

Tip 2: Check for people who have blogs, are bloggers, or journalists.

Tip 3: Review each individual’s timeline, to determine if they have a habit of engaging, liking, or retweeting.

Blogs

This is always something you have to be super cautious with, as blog owners and other readers are very sensitive to people putting links in their comments, but if done right, I have seen this lead to updated posts that actually reference the link provided in comments.

Again, this should be implemented with extreme caution and with a very high bar for quality, but it is very effective when it fits the article and discussion.

Tip: Check out Google News for Top Stories, to see if anything currently trending is related to your content.

Quora, Wiselike, and Other Answer Sites

This is probably one of the best places for content marketing through comments, as people on these sites are specifically looking for information.

It is still very important to be on topic and relevant, as you want to make sure that the people looking for answers are finding the answer in whatever you are providing.

Tip 1: Avoid adding any URLs that do not provide a unique answer or discussion point.

Tip 2: Set up tracking to try to make sure your answer or contribution is provided quickly after the question is asked.

Tip 3: Share your answer socially, as it not only allows you to further share the information you provided, but many answer sites sort based on popularity, so it never hurts to get some extra votes on your answer.

Tip 4: Here are some tips from a top Quora user on how to have more success.

Reddit

One of the most under-rated and scariest social media sites for marketers, Reddit has a lot of opportunity for content marketing in the comments. In fact, there are a number of Subreddits dedicated to crowdsourcing information, such as /r/findfashion/, /r/Thrifty/, and /r/frugalinteriordesign/.

WARNING: Reddit is completely unforgiving, so you have to identify the right subreddits and the right way of commenting when including a URL.

Tip: Use sites like Redditmetrics.com, to identify the best subreddits for your topics.

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Tip: Read the rules to make sure nothing prohibits URLs in comments and review the subreddit extensively, to see if the practice is accepted or not.

Forums

Most people have completely forgotten about forums, but if you ever check into your contents link portfolio, I am sure you will find a number of them coming from various forums.

Forums continue to thrive, but they do require you become a member of the community to really have any chance of marketing your content within them. Some forums even require you have a certain number of posts before you can even leave URLs in your comment.

Tip: Check out thebiggestboards.com, to find the largest and most popular boards to participate in.

Tip: If you are on a niche forum, try creating an article or two that would appeal to everyone in the community, and then link it in your footer instead of actually linking in comments.

Tip: Participate on the forum for a while before trying to leave any URLs in comments.

Research

Regardless which sites you decide to focus on, I would HIGHLY suggest making an effort to establish yourself on that site and to research the most accepted and common forms of discussion engagement.

Not having an understanding of the site’s discussion etiquette and having a profile that is incomplete and not very active will make you look questionable when participating.

Be Smart

There is a fine line between marketing and spamming. Often people who have no intention of spamming are doing so, simply by not taking the time to understand the subtle, or not so subtle, differences.

If you do not know what you are doing, then I would highly suggest avoiding the above detailed tactics, as they are intended for people who have experience in marketing.

Your Thoughts?

I would love to hear your thoughts about content marketing through comments in general, as well as about any other sites, tools, or tactics I missed above.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In post images screenshot by author

 

Brent Csutoras

Brent Csutoras

Managing Partner & Chief Social Media Strategist at Search Engine Journal
Founder & CEO of Pixel Road Designs, a well respected marketing design firm, and Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal. Brent has over 10 years experience in Social Media Marketing and is an avid Futurist, focusing on the implications of future technology on society and societal growth.
Brent Csutoras
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  • I have found comments to be a great way to identify gaps in content. No matter how good a blog post is, there will always be people who have great questions that never occured to the author. You can crank out a powerful blog post just by reading through the comments.

    • Brent Csutoras

      Totally agree. I like to go back and look at the posts with the most comments and look at how you can use them to create a new version of the post. Great point!

  • I’ve been using hashtags on twitter and am debating stopping. I get some great people and definitely some spammers. Great ideas in this post.

    • Brent Csutoras

      I would not say anything against stopping on Twitter personally, but keep them on Instagram and Google+ right now for sure.

  • Daniel

    Great article. Thanks a lot ­čśë

  • I personally like interacting with my audience. I believe that it helps in content creation as well as building credibility. You get to know your audience very well when you are actively listening and asking questions. Great post ­čÖé

  • Martin Stewart

    Just like anything else, sooner or later, bad marketers come along and wreck it for the rest of us with spammy comments. I think the premise of taking a piece of content and going out to find comments is an ok-ish strategy, so long as the onus is on adding some value for the audience of the blog (or whatever) as opposed to a marketer’s short-sighted perspective of value (like planting links for SEO purposes). Pseudo-statements like “I found a great article here…” represent the spammy end of comment behaviour and should be avoided.

    I think that responsible marketers need to make sure there is a mix of standalone comments (no link) that add value and comments that point to an additional content resource – e.g. understanding that there won’t always be an opportunity to link to your content, but value can be added by commenting with an encapsulated “nugget” of wisdom that has been omitted/forgotten from the content in question. This is where getting your company’s real industry experts (like consultants) is useful (but difficult to get them to actually do it). Not being marketing people, they will tend to add value without even a hint of a marketing agenda. There’s a lot of value to be gained here in terms of developing the personal brands that make up a company; putting a face to the experts you have in your company, and letting them establish a more authentic and authoritative thought leadership stance. Most marketing people simply don’t have the depth of knowledge to actually make valuable comments, especially where the domain is deeply technical.

    With so much content being produced, and more than half of it being more-or-less ignored, then engaging with existing content to bolster that and using a limited number of links to weave together stronger, tighter networks of content that work well for the content consumer mean that prospects looking for solutions to problems won’t see 500 articles repeating the same solution – but they will get the information they need in a more concentrated and consumable form (e.g. in fewer places, with less navigation).

    A reverse strategy can also be useful (essential perhaps to creating valuable, non-repetitive content). Keeping tabs on competitor content and other industry content hubs to spot the gaps is a good way to find the unanswered questions – which can then be serviced with new content. Marketers that look for the “trends” end up producing “me too” content that people really don’t need. If there isn’t a new angle to be discussed then it’s probably not worth producing yet another piece of samey content. But too many marketers simply follow the heard and churn out the same stuff because they feel that they need to “neutralise” a perceived gap between the content they produce and the content their competitors are producing. That’s precisely why we end up with the high volume of crap content that is floating about today….and it serves no purpose but to frustrate people who are looking for the good stuff.

    • Completely agree. I figured I would get a lot more push back on this topic as a whole, but happy that most people read through and found the underlying quality requirement to have success with this.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and for adding your thoughts as well!

  • There is no doubt; comment posting is one of the fastest ways to build the quality links. This post is really helpful for all of us. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • I think monitoring plays an important step for content marketing. Ok, you can use Facebook, Twitter, G+, or others for sharing or spamming, but the beauty of the content marketing stays in the power of community. If you share something be there, talk with others, see how they feel and what they think.

    Very useful your blog ­čśë

  • Hi guys thanks for sharing your knowledge. We really appreciate your advices about SEO. We are trying to get same good positions in Brasil. Your advices really helped us. Thanks again