One of the best ways to grow your blog, is to leave it. What I mean by this is leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to create value for others, and ultimately grow awareness for your own blogging efforts.
But not all blog comments are created equal, and here's some of the tips I've learned over the years for writing great blog comments:
1 - Add something to the conversation. Often I will read a post and think 'wow, great post!' But go past that, highlight issues that the blogger addressed, and add your own take. You don't have to agree completely, and you don't have to stick with their point. If one example they mentioned reminds you of another instance from your own experiences, mention that. But try to avoid simply repeating what others have said. And this is easier to do when you...
2 - Comment early. Sure it's nice to let a few people comment first, so then you can build off what they say, as well as the blogger's post. But what if you wait too long and everyone has addressed the points you wanted to raise? And for well-trafficked blogs like Chris Brogan's or Liz Strauss', each post can get dozens of comments, and not everyone will read down if your comment is #37 of 54.
3 - Don't over-promote yourself. @garyvee says that the only link you are ever allowed to share in a comment is the link you get in your name that's hyperlinked back to your blog/site. I tend to agree with this stance, because the fastest way to honk off a blogger, is to leave a comment on their blog, that's really just a commercial for you. You've seen them, the comments that say 'This is a great post, thanks for sharing', then proceed to add 5 lines of bio/site links. Don't be 'that guy', remember that you aren't leaving the comment to promote yourself, you are trying to create value for the blog by adding to the conversation. If you've done your job, you'll get promotion as an indirect result of your efforts.
4 - You can disagree, without being disagreeable. I might be a bit different from some in how I approach disagreements in the comments section, but I love it when readers disagree with my posts, and challenge my points. The biggest reason why, is because when you bring in alternative points, that extends the conversation and gives more people a chance to jump and leave their point of view.
However, always remember that it's ok to 'attack' the ideas, but not the people presenting the ideas. Challenging stances and ideas are fine, but personal attacks add nothing to the conversation, and make you look like a jackass. Not what you want. Feel free to disagree, but don't be disagreeable.
5 - Ask questions. What if you find a post and agree with the post, and everything the commenters have said. Now what? Why not ask a question or bring up a point that no one has raised yet? One thing that often happens, especially on blogs where the writer is very popular, is that the readers may all agree with the writer. Why not offer a contrarian view and bring up the other side of the issue? Again, this helps extend the conversation, and you might find that others will then chime in saying that they agree with your point of view.
6 - Know why you are commenting. Are you leaving a comment to draw attention to yourself, or to add to the conversation? As with most everything else in social media, blog comments work best as a way to INdirectly promote yourself. Write a comment that others find value in, and that encourages others to check out your blog, follow you on Twitter, etc. Write a comment that was clearly intended to promote your blog, and you will likely gain nothing, and hurt your reputation.
These are some tips I have learned from my own experience in writing blog comments. What did I miss that works for you?
Pic via Flickr user Bohman