Mining for Gold in Blog Comments

Two blog posts caught my eye today. The first was The Art of Blog Commenting by Arik Hanson, and the other was The Time for Location-Based Marketing is Now by Gini Dietrich.

Two different blog posts – Arik’s (as the title suggests) is about blog comments, while Gini’s is about platforms like Foursquare and Gowalla and acts as a rebuttal to a recent Forrester report.

Yet despite being different, they’re both very much tied together by one defining factor – blog comments.

You see, what both blog posts confirmed is something I believe in wholeheartedly – it’s not the blog that offers the most bang for your buck, but the comments that follow once published.

Digital Gold

While a blog starts any conversation, that’s all a good blog should be – a conversation starter.

Think about it – why do you blog (either personally or as a business)? To extend your brand? To promote products and news? To increase your search rankings? All of the above? None? Some? Others?

It doesn’t really matter, since all you’re doing is opening up a conversation.

  • Customer to sales.
  • Potential client to marketing.
  • Job-seeker to new employer.
  • Website to Google’s algorithms.

All these and more are simply conversations between two entities – the blog and whatever shape the audience takes.

So if you’re opening up a conversation to connect to your audience, then there’s only one place that happens – the comments section. And that part of your blog is where the digital gold is melted into shape.

Look Beyond the Blogger

One of the things I hear a lot when speaking to new clients about their existing social strategies is the advice to “read bloggers X, Y and Z to learn about your business.”

Good points. Bloggers X, Y and Z are writing some great stuff and there’s no doubt there are useful nuggets to take away.

But the real juice? That’s not necessarily from the bloggers, who often stop at the crucial point of ideas without offering real-world ideas or examples to let you take away and put into action. Maybe that’s just for paying clients…

Which is why I always advise to go beyond the blogger and read more into the comments if you want to find the real gold.


Take Gini’s post about geo-location marketing, for example. She makes some excellent points on why Forrester are off the mark with their report, and uses figures and ideas to show why. But Gini is a marketer – that’s her job (and one that she’s damn good at).

But in the comments, there are even more ideas that show businesses what their customers want. If I’m a marketing or promotions manager at Starbucks, for example, I’d be looking at Rob Reed’s comment and putting that on the agenda at my next brainstorming meeting.

Who knows, I might just find that Rob’s suggestion saves me thousands in focus groups but makes me millions in sales.

That’s just one example – considering there are at least 133 million blogs in the world, think how many other examples there could be.

Content is the Apperitif

What both Arik and Gini’s posts show – and many others like them – is that content (while still great) is no longer the king.

Yes, it’s hugely important, and not only shows your thoughts on a topic, but your expertise to a potential client, employer or customer. And as a marketing platform for your business, a blog is hard to beat.

But the real meat is in the comments. That’s where the creativity can really be let loose, and ideas bounced off others and taken to new heights. There’s no limit to a comments section, but there is a finite amount to what makes a readable blog post.

So think of the blog as the apperitif. A great cocktail to ease you into the main course ahead – the comments.

If you’re a business, think of who you want to have a drink with (your customers), and then get out to the restaurant (blog) they frequent the most. And then listen to what they’re ordering.

Because order filling is what you’re good at, right?

Creative Commons License photo credit: damo1977
Creative Commons License photo credit: lusobrandane

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