|Do you think commenting on blogs are for know-it-alls? Do you think the World doesn’t need to read your opinion? Are you still struggling with crafting a clever comment?
You’re Not Alone.
I know that commenting can be daunting for the shy and introverted artist, but doing this will help build your brand and bring traffic back to your site. Honest! I’ve outlined few more reasons why commenting is good for your business and how to cultivate your legacy.
Presence is the New Dial Tone
Commenting on other blogs/sites promotes your business, builds your brand online, and fosters communal support. It also cultivates trust among your new friends, educates your new and current collectors, and build your tribe –and you thought it was just for your own site!
Think NPR where their part of their tagline reads, “Supported by listeners like you.” Blogging and comments are a very similar paradigm. Today, content is king and participating is the new currency. Because we seem to be so crowded on Facebook (FB) “Hey everybody, look what my cat just brought me!” , we’re becoming even more fragmented from authentic dialog –this goes for extended families and communities alike. By participating on blogs through comments, you’re supporting your community in three ways:
- The artist/gallery as author
- The Customer
You’ll also find that you leave a much more lasting impression on the site than you would on FB. You want to leave a legacy, right?
Repository and Legacy
Think of your blog as a repository of your intellectual wealth and leaving comments on other blogs as a legacy of influence. FB isn’t forever, but your Web site/blog is. FB changes it’s MO everyday and we simply can’t guarantee that it will stay around forever. We’ve seen our own comments on FB hiccup and get lost in the system on an all-too-frequent basis. Mark could sell it tomorrow and it could morph into something completely different next week –and you can’t control that. What you can control is your own Web site, your own blog, and as importantly, your legacy. By posting in your repository, you can broadcast (share) on FB and encourage comments back on your post.
Hint: Copy and paste a portion of you first paragraph on your wall and create a crumb trail with ellipsis to feed curiosity -this will encourage your readers to take the link and leave a comment on your blog. Don’t forget the link!
Are you still struggling with “I” vs “We” when it comes to identifying yourself as an INDIECreative? Do you think your customers won’t take you seriously when you tell them that it’s just you who makes your product?
You’ll be surprised
Over the past 10 years, the US has seen a dramatic shift… I vs We | IndieCreatives
You get the idea, right?
To reinforce the stability of your Web site vs FB, try to recognize that FB is another social media tool to help broadcast/share your insight. By the way, just found an interesting article about FB and posting too much, too often can get you unfriended. By in large, artists aren’t self-promoters and by posting way too much about kitty could prevent you from sharing the real meat of your business. So, I believe we’re beginning to see a shift in online behavior again and this bodes well for our blogs, too!
Party on a Blog
Think of the conversation as a party. The blog host begins a topic and comments can eventually turn a dialog into a party on someone else’s blog home. You’ll find new friends who relate to what you have to say, thus, bringing more traffic to your Web site. I know I get traffic when I respond with a wise, funny, or passionate comment.
Bloggers & Commentors are People Too
Specifically, and this is critical, the most important thing people want in their lives is to be acknowledged. They want to know they matter. Commenting on another blog is not only good for presence, it’s good for the spirit. Replying to a comment on your own blog also acknowledges the person who took the time to leave a thoughtful note and promotes goodwill. Chances are pretty good that visitor will return as a regular, too.
Bonus: Leaving comments regularly is good fodder for other unknown visitors -you never know who’s reading.
I know you’re shy, but…
We really need to hear your voice. Really. We know you have something to say. You could begin with empathy or sympathy -do you relate to the author’s position? How? Do you have a personal experience with this? How have you dealt with it?
Hint: You can start small and grow when you’re feeling more comfortable.
Try: I’m in awe of your unique style. I’m still developing mine and find your work inspiring.
Be Useful (aka Don’t Make Noise)
Commenting for the sake of commenting just adds clutter and noise. Please read the entire thread and take a 2nd glance to make sure you’ve read it correctly before making your comment. If there are a number of comments already, take the time to read them as well because someone may have already posted the exact sentiment you wanted to convey.
Hint: Get your comment in early!! 😉
Many times I will read and re-read to ensure I’m focused on the topic. How many times do your thoughts blend with ideas taking you off course? Happens to me all the time. I may have to read a section a 3rd time censoring my wandering mind. I want to be useful, don’t you?
Tip: Read Saving Your Words Without the Drama for those times you’re crafting a post. Sometimes, our internet connections aren’t as reliable as we believe and you can lose your words in a blink of an eye.
Stay Short and Sweet
Insightful, useful, and concise is the key to a great comment. Try to constrain yourself when responding. It’s about adding to the conversation and continuing the dialogue, not a place for your own monologue.
Hint: If you’ve got more to say, you might consider writing your own article and then come back to post your comment. Add the link, too, if it’s relevant.
Please Stay On Topic
When comments are enabled on blog posts, it’s because the author wants to hear your voice on that subject -not on the one before or the one after or that your cat barfed a hairball while you were posting. Don’t change the subject.
Hint: If you want to remark on a specific passage of the article, copy and paste that short section and add your comment beneath. Ala:
[…Try to constrain yourself when responding.]
So true! Anything longer makes one look like a longwinded blowhard. I read that Paul Krugman is now having his assistants delete any comment that expands beyond “3 inches on my screen.” Who has that kind of time to write novellas on someone else’s blog?
Be a part of the conversation, not clutter. Being a noise maker by exclaiming, “I love puppies” doesn’t win you points, nor does a simple “Ditto!” or “Great post!” They’re annoying at the very least and a stream of consciousness is irritating -both may get edited or deleted. When you do contribute, provide inspiring insight when you know you have an opinion because others are looking for additional veins of thought, not just the author’s. When you do contribute something wise, you’ll gain followers (people like smart people). As you contribute, you build your brand.
Hint: You have the option of including your Web site addy in the field box (before the comment box) so be sure to include it –not in the comment box -that’s spammy. Readers have been conditioned to click on a commentor’s name to take them to their Web site and remember to take advantage of it! You’ll thank yourself later. 😉
Support Other Artist Bloggers
Bloggers appreciate comments, we really do! Contributing to blog posts of other artists and galleries also helps to build rapport and interest. Definitely match the passion and spirit in which the author posted. There are a few artist blogs out there who match my passion and when I’m incited, they appreciate it.
Hint: If you can’t purchase their work, please share some uplifting thoughts. As artists, our art is the first to get crossed off Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and in tough times, we could really use some encouragement.
What not to say to a professional artist:
- “Keep up the good work!” Ack! Really? It’s not only authoritative, it’s pithy. Strive to remain a peer, not a micromanaging boss or overbearing parent.
Try: I really love your elegant style, I would collect it all if I had the space.
- “I wouldn’t use that color!” Giving tips on how to paint, what color choices to make or how to design a bag is treacherous territory. They’re the expert of their art, not you. They’ve taken the time to develop their style, let them be the one to unfold their inner genius.
Try: I would love to see you include big cats in your series. I would be the first to buy a tiger print!
Know When to Comment, Know When to Email
This is a gray area and can get sticky quickly. If you’re not sure where to draw the “I was just trying to be helpful” line, here are a few gems to use as guidance.
- If your comment is about menial criticism on spelling or grammar, then you might consider emailing the author privately.
- If your comment is pointing fingers at the author and not a constructive disagreement, then you might consider emailing the author privately.
- If you’ve been drinking heavily (caffeine, sugar, alcohol), then you might consider emailing the author privately. Same goes for smokin’ dope, shootin’ up, or any other illegal activity we just don’t need to know about.
Can you think of any more? Let me know!
All in all, I hope the tips above will help you reach out one blog at a time, gaining comfort and traffic along the way.
Bonus – On this blog, those who comment frequently get noticed. You get to see your avatar positioned proudly on the leader board. Your position on the leader board indicates to others that you’re insightful, helpful, and not to mention, endowed with a charming personality.
Bonus – I will be running contests for those top contributors on the leader board, so there’s no time like the present to start commenting!!
How will you comment today?
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence