If you have been blogging any length of time, you know there are all sorts of readers. There are some wholl read regularly and never comment. There are some wholl retweet every post. There are those who often say something like "Nice post!" but rarely anything more. There are those who are just waiting for something to pounce on and sling mud at. And there are those who leave long, insightful comments that you want to hug to bed at night.
If you are smart, you (want to) use blogging as a way of networking: either for business or just to make new friends. So how do you do it to get noticed and liked by the blogger youre such a fan of? (And maybe even have her offer you a guest blogging spot?)
Being a good commenter on a blog is just like being a good guest at a dinner party.
So heres how to be a good blog-guest.
1. Bring a gift.
Youre not required to take a gift if you are invited to dinner, but many of us would pick up a bottle of wine or some flowers or dessert (especially if its the first invitation from that host). On a blog, you can add value by providing a relevant link or other information that the blogger might like.
2. Be social.
You dont show up at dinner and then ignore the host and the other guests. You thank the host for having you and then, even if you dont know any of the other guests, you participate in a conversation. Thats exactly what you should do on a blog post that you liked: thank the blogger for informing you or making you think (or laugh!) and add to the conversation.
3. Be interesting.
Whos standing in the middle of the largest circle of people? The guy with the most interesting stories. Be that guy. Share your experiences. Be funny. Or profound, if thats your thing. Be the most interesting version of you.
4. Dont self-promote (blatantly).
Self-promote by being interesting (see last point), not by mentioning how great you are and how much clients (or your parents) love you. Talk about yourself only incidentally, to add value to the conversation. Dont spam.
5. Be polite.
If the conversation takes a turn you dislike (a guest bashes your favorite politician or asks you why you havent had kids yet), you suck it up. You may not attend the next party because your host is friends with such scum, and rant to your wife in bed that night, but you dont get into a fistfight. You might be tempted to engage in a debate: but can you be sure it will remain polite? Its smarter to just change the subject. (In blogging terms, just close the window and move on to the next blog.) And remember, you might still want to remain friends with the host.
6. Help out.
If its an informal gathering, you ask the host how you can help out: mix drinks, fire up the barbecue, play DJ or clear up. If two guests are having a heated argument (see last point), you try to diffuse the tension and take one of them into the next room to help out.
If the blogger asks a question, volunteer your answer. Retweet or share the post to show your support. If another commenter is being rude to the blogger, pull him up. You might win yourself some appreciation.
7. Use coasters.
If you go to a friends house and place your glass of wine on their new coffee table (carefully ignoring the coasters he has placed there) . . . however much hes enjoyed your scintillating conversation hes not likely to think about you very favorably the next afternoon as he is trying to scrub the ring off his hardwood table.
Whats the online equivalent of not using coasters? Making more work for the host: writing incoherently or with poor grammar, leaving broken links, making a claim with no references etc.
8. Dont derail the theme.
Respect your host enough to let her set the theme for the party. If she wants to play charades, dont start your game of poker on the side with a few like-minded buddies. Invite them over to your own poker party next week, on your own blog.
What happens if youre a good guest? Some of the other guests might find you so interesting they check out your party (blog). They might want to keep in touch and be your friend. They might (eventually) want to give you a job (or buy from you). If the host likes you enough, they might ask you over next time to help host the party (write a guest post).
Are you the kind of guest that gets invited to more parties, or will your host be happy to slam the door on you?
Unmana is the co-founder of Markitty, a tool that recommends actions to improve your online marketing. She writes about marketing for startups and small businesses on the Markitty blog and can be found on Twitter @Unmana.