Davina Brewer of 3 Hats Communications gets around more than just about any other social media user I know. She’s tweeting, she’s commenting, she’s blogging, she’s guest blogging. She’s everywhere.
And she’s always relevant, always sparkling with that famous sharp wit, and she’s gotta be any blogger’s dream commenter. That last bit is what I pulled her aside to talk about, shortly after she was named “Comment Queen” in the comments for this post. Read about her practical experience and tips to squeeze all the networking and contact-making power you can from a simple blog comment.
Q: How long have you been actively commenting the way you’re famous for now?
About 3 years (and overdone it this last year). Before that I lurked and I commented anonymously in a few places, unsure of my voice and opinions. It took a while to take a chance and put my thoughts out there.
Q: When I first started reading blogs, I seldom commented because I didn’t see much point. What makes you want to comment on a post?
Interest. If it clicks, I share what and how I relate and maybe add to that. If it does not click and it really tugs at me, it’s a chance to ask questions.
Community and network. I’ve made friends and connections, and if asked to read/comment on something I will do my best to try. I also try to repay the courtesy to my commenters which also takes time; I have to find a relevant post on which I can add something of substance—more than a “like this post” comment.
Q: How often do you leave comments that oppose the point of view of the post author?
Maybe 25% of my comments are in disagreement. It’s sneaky because I will mention what I like or agree with, then go into why I disagree, rather than just jump up and down on a blogger. I do it because I think my disagreement would actually benefit the blogger and readers. But there are times I’ve not liked posts and not commented or shared b/c my dissenting opinions are too hard to explain, won’t add anything of value to a discussion, reflect personal bias, etc. Paul Wolfe wrote a post on these types of comments.
Q: Do you think your commenting habits have anything to do with the blogging company you’ve kept?
YES! I will be blogging this as well. As I said, it has a lot to do with my comfort level. Once my comments started getting replies and my blog started getting just a few comments, I gained more confidence. The “crew” is relatively new even though I’ve known many of these folks (Gini Dietrich, Danny Brown, Mark Schaefer) for years. Next I got to know Neicole Crepeau, Jayme Soulati, Jenn Whinnem, Shonali Burke. The Sales Lion/Nitty Griddy core has been great, lots of crossover that have really kicked things into another gear.
Now what it does for my habits is ruin my days with great tweets and blog posts that I must read and comment on! It’s a nice problem to have, so I joke, but it’s true. There are some good writers and bloggers out there and I like the conversation so I let myself get pulled into it. In a good way of course.
The other part of my habit–replying to others in comments—is a byproduct of forum and bulletin board service play. It’s considered rude to comment and expect others to read and reply to your comment without extending that courtesy to them first. Before I comment, I read what some others have shared so I don’t just parrot that. Next thing you knew, I was replying to others as well as the original post based upon my “assumption” that there is something to all this “conversation” buzz.
Q: What are your recommendations for other commenters?
Lurk. Pay attention to the blog and blogger, their style and approach and what they like and want. Look at their comments and see what’s going on there. Find and read their comment policies! I’ve become lax at that and am reminding myself of these things. Yes I can and will joke but I also have to respect the house rules. Not all blogs or posts are the proper places for that. It may mean commenting less, or just cutting some of the banter.
Be you. It’s trite and cliché because it’s true. Even when leaving a “serious” comment, my writing style and humor just happen, and I don’t see it benefiting me or the blogger if I force myself to change it too much.
Q: Do you frequent the blogs your clients visit or the ones your colleagues visit?
Most of my clients are not “into” social media or it’s been a challenge getting them to take it seriously. Cold, hard truth—and one reason I’m networking. Of course I use it as part of my job and business practices on their behalf (talking with reporters, monitoring trends, research, etc.), but it’s different.
Maybe I’m engaging in the “wrong” places, which is to say the blogs that already do take it seriously, which are mostly written by colleagues. Lurkers play a part of this: a potential client might never comment on my blog or anyone else’s, but if they’re researching topics in our field, maybe these blogs are in fact the “right” places to be and be seen.
It’s a Catch-22 I’m still working on resolving along with many others regarding my networking and inbound marketing strategies, etc. So it’s work in progress—very slow progress!