The Business Blog Authority

Comments: a business blogging weapon

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): March 7, 2007

Comments are one of the real weapons of blogging. "Traditional" websites don't have them. This is the reason that blogs create conversations instead of lectures.

While attending the University of Vermont, I sat through dozens of lectures in auditoriums with 200+ other students. It wasn't very personal, and frankly, they weren't very interesting. Each year, the classes got smaller and smaller until you were actually having a conversation with the professor and the other students. This is the time where you could ask questions, contribute your own ideas, and actually learn something.

Blogs are the equivalent of the "senior year" on the web. No longer are customers forced to sit through the lecture of a website where all you can do is receive the information the website wants you to, which usually isn't very much.

Blogs allow you to participate by clicking the 'comment' link found at the bottom of every article on a blog and adding your own thoughts and asking questions. Sometimes the author of the article will answer your question or further the conversation, and often times other readers will do the answering and the continuing.

This feedback results in tremendous value for your company when your readers:

  • ask questions you haven't thought of yourself
  • point out problems in your products or services you hadn't noticed
  • give you ideas for new products
  • start developing a relationship with you that eventually translates into sales

Negative Comments: the greatest weapon
The big fear my clients have with comments is the negative comment. No one likes to be criticized, particularly in such a public way. I will ask the client at this point if they are committed to customer service and they always answer, "Of course."

"Than it isn't a problem," I tell them. After I let them have a funny look on their face for a few seconds I explain that negative comments can be the best weapon of all. They allow you to address a problem in a very public and permanent way and show the world what a good guy/gal you are. Furthermore, your other readers will often jump in and defend you without you having to lift a finger yourself. And that's an awesome feeling when your customers come to your own defense!

Finally, should a comment go over the line and include profanity or really offensive language, you can always delete it (you can even pre-screen comments before they are 'live'). But don't delete the ones from folks who are just upset for a valid reason. Address their concerns and let the comment and your response become a testimonial of how committed you are to having happy customers.

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I'm finding that comments are giving my readers an even better chance to learn about who I am - and, ultimate what I can offer them.

I couldn't agree more Dawud. You can only learn so much about someone by reading their posts. It's how they create conversations with their readers through comments that you start to really see what they're about.

I second and third what you are saying - a great example of this is going on at El Bloggo Torcido right now:

Conversely, comments also allow you to publicize your own blog. For example, this comment right here...;-)

Hmmm. This reminds me...I really should write a post about comment spam. It's a good thing I really like el jefe and know that his blog is an EXCELLENT example of a small business blog and it really is a GREAT example of comments being used, and he would NEVER intentionally spam another blog just for gratuitous links back to his site.

Still, I'm sooo tempted to delete his comment and ban his IP address for life for placing such a blatant link back to his blog.

Who am I kidding? El jefe can spam my blog as much as he likes. Seriously, if you haven't been to the twisted oak winery (el bloggo torcido), you MUST check it out and emulate them as much as possible!

You say the sweetest things sometimes...:)

I really try to be relevant and add positively to the discussion - that really is the lesson to take away from this. I felt my link was a good relevant example of what was being discussed here, or I wouldn't have included it. The last thing you want to do is be thought irrelevant! That's even worse than leaving a "Great Post!" comment.

(I had considered tweaking Brian by including this link in this comment:

but I decided not to. Ooops.)

Just for that, I'm going to spam my own blog and make you visit this link to watch the video I took tonight. It was a dry, British quartet who visited my home to sing and make us laugh. I say home because my apartment is located in a 1920s renovated high school that now houses the Janesville
Performing Arts Center.
Visit the link. I promise you won't be disappointed. You will laugh.
Cantabile at JPAC

Let me put that into web-speak:


Seriously, would love to have them up at Twisted for a night - ideally in denim and cowboy boots*. They sing pretty too!

- j

* not a fetish, just local style. This time.

Oh my.

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