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  • 5 Tips for Branding Yourself When Commenting on Blogs

    I get bothered from time to time, when I witness blog comments in my queue that are too self-promotional, from robots or simply don’t have anything to the conversation. Thankfully, I don’t receive much spam anymore, but instead I receive more comments that are meaningless and are certainly not branded properly.

    3 reasons why bad comments will hurt your reputation

    • 1) Every single comment you make is stored in Google and is part of your permanent record online.
    • 2) People won’t click on the link to your blog if you don’t give them a good reason to (add to the discussion).
    • 3) You will be viewed as either a spammer or a troll, both of which are highly looked down upon in the blogosphere. You can’t take comments back!

    The anatomy of a bad comment

    5 tips for branding yourself when commenting on blogs

    1. Use your avatar: Whenever I present to an audience, I always mention that you have 3 very important assets online: your name, your picture and your personal brand statement. This is how people will remember you and hopefully translate that association to a certain topic that you want to own in peoples minds (positioning). Whenever I see a comment without a picture, I see a missed opportunity. If you want to have a universal comment avatar, then go to Gravatar.com and upload one. It’s really that simple. Think of it as open-picture ID for your global branding presence on blogs.

    2. Insert your full name: I don’t understand what the big deal is with using your full name. What if there are two Mike or Rachel comments on the same blog post? They would probably have to rely on their URL to differentiate them, which is dumb. If you want to stand out, especially if you have a unique last name, then use your full name.

    3. Add value to the conversation: Don’t even try and take advantage off a post by saying “great post” and then linking to your site. You will get enemy’s if you do it and be discounted as a troll. The real way to succeed when commenting is to read the blog entry (yes, some people comment without reading) and then share your opinion on the subject.

    4. No extra links: You only get one chance to use a link to your website and it’s not within the comment itself. When you go to fill out a comment form, there is a spot for your URL and when the comment is posted, your name will link directly to that URL. That’s how it works everyone, so don’t try and game the system to get more people visiting your site because it won’t happen.

    5. Use Gmail or your domain name for email: A lot of you may disagree with this one, but Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses are dated. You really need to get Gmail or at least use yourname@yourdomainname.com. Gmail allows you to talk directly with other people and your domain name is more professional.

    avatar

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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    18 comments on “5 Tips for Branding Yourself When Commenting on Blogs
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      tante says:

      While adding to the discussion is always the best way to make yourself noticed, I have to say that your “use gmail” “hint” is quite bad:
      Whether you use gmail, yahoo or hotmail doesn’t matter (yeah I get that gmail is what the “cool kids” are doing but being another follower of the hype does not make you stand out).
      There are many people who have used one address for many years now, way before gmail existed, why should they give up their identity? Sometimes looking for some @yahoo address will show you newsgroup posts that person made 10 years ago so “just getting gmail or your own domain address” is actually really bad advice.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @Tante – I was waiting for that type of comment. Yahoo! and Hotmail are very outdated and will make you look like you “don’t get it.” Sure, people already know of your address, but you can always mail them your new one. I think you’ll be at a disadvantage if you stick with the legacy email services.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Derek Dysart says:

      I dunno if I buy it the GMail argument either. It’s time is numbered. One day it will be as outdated as Hotmail. If your Hotmail or Yahoo address is concise, IOW isn’t just random numbers and letters, then I think it is just as legit as a GMail account.

      Truth be told, I think there is probably no excuse for not having your own domain. Domain registration is less that $10/yr and Google Apps for Domains is free. It can be daunting to setup since there are some technical hurdles to jump, but Google has documented the process quite well.

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      tante says:

      Yahoo’s Webmail nowadays is actually quite good (better than the state the company is in ;)). I mean, I get the gmail-hype and all, but what will happen? People convert their email to gmail. Then the next big thing comes along, convert again.

      I just think that telling people that the provider of their email address matters is not good advice. I personally would never have any of my email on a server I don’t have full control over for example, and I consider all those “hosted” solutions to be sub-par. But I wouldn’t judge people based on that.

    5. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @Derek – thanks for commenting. I’m actually very confident that Gmail will win out because of their integration with AIM/Gtalk, as well as their favorable brand name.

    6. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @tante – now I think you’re hitting on something important. I think you are more pr-domain-names for email addresses, such that Tante@tante.com would be acceptable.

      Thoughts?

    7. avatar
      EXPERT
      Chad Levitt says:

      I used to use hotmail until about 3 years ago when I switched over to gmail. I’ve been impressed thus far.

      @Derek – I’m not to sure Gmail will be beat out by the next greatest email client. Google is pretty good at evolving their product line and Gmail will probably be no different. Not to mention Gmail already comes embedded with some very neat features.
      No doubt, it will be interesting as the email wars unfold.

    8. avatar
      EXPERT

      I understand about Gmail and its necessity now. My list of email addresses is about 9. They are separated amongst Hotmail, Yahoo, and my primary address is Gmail. We tend to have different address because of the many sites we sign up for. In the end I use Gmail because that is what I am used to and it looks more professional in my opinion.

      Provide a positive conversation and the right showmanship and people will start coming back to you.

    9. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @Kiel – great point about using different email addresses for different purposes

      @Chad – right on!

    10. avatar
      EXPERT
      John Carson says:

      Hi Dan,

      As for point #3, I see no harm in commenting on someone’s post, and then pointing them to your own blog post whereby you might have gone into more depth about the subject the original poster was covering.

      People who really care about blogs and social media aren’t looking for the “hits” — they’re looking to add value to the conversation, wherever that may be.

      Cheers,
      John Carson.

    11. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @John – to clarify, what I was trying to say is that you don’t want to leave 1 quick note and then a link to your site. If you write a few sentences and continue your thought on your own blog, adding a link, then that is legit.

    12. avatar
      EXPERT
      fishdogs says:

      Dan,

      I’m so tempted to write “Great Post” and leave several URL’s just below. But this really is a great post. I have inadvertantly broken several of these tips.

      Mostly number 3 because I will sometimes find an article that I like and simply tell the author he did a nice job. I’m not really trying to get anyone to my page(s) other than possibly the author in an attempt to be friendly in a social networking kind of way. And I mostly only do this if I am the only one who has posted a comment.

      Also I have now added all my email address to my Gravatar account. But I will henceforth utilize my own domain more for commenting, since I, like @Kiel, have multiple email accounts.

      I am addicted to my giant Yahoo mail account and find it works better for certain things than my gmail account – but I don’t want to appear to be outdated!

      Great post. Great comments too. Best, -CF

    13. avatar
      EXPERT
      vikdulat says:

      Great article. The best thing is having a picture next to your comment so people can associate with you. They’re tempted to find out who you are 🙂

      Well at least that’s what I think.

      My 2 cents

    14. avatar
      EXPERT
      Ari Herzog says:

      Very good advice, Dan.

      I’m going to break one of your rules by providing VALUE in this comment.

      Based on feedback I’ve received both in my blog’s comments and on Twitter, you and your readers may enjoy reading my 3 Tips to Keep Me Commenting on Your Blog.

    15. avatar
      EXPERT

      Great Post!! I will share with twitter world now!
      Thanks for posting this…as it is very important!!

    16. avatar
      EXPERT

      lol sorry…I guess I need to go to Gravatar.com! Going now!

    17. avatar
      EXPERT
      Jess Sanders says:

      Dan, I’m submitting this comment with my Hotmail email address and really had to put some thought into your tip re: the datedness of the service. Is the risk of looking “dated” really worth the trouble to switch my short, well-known Hotmail account for an @Gmail.com update?

      Here’s my line of thinking – IMHO, email itself is dated. I get much, MUCH more information about friends, clients, online contacts, family re: social aggregators and sites than I do via email. I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t wait to get into my email account. I CAN remember being excited to check out what was happening on Facebook (erm, this morning).

      Email is what it is. It has it’s uses, but whether it be Hotmail, Yahoo, or GMail, it’s still static. Want to know what I’m up to? Find me on FriendFeed and please understand that I probably won’t answer your email for several days until I get around to checking it again.

      🙂

      Jess

    18. avatar
      EXPERT
      Mike Tieden says:

      I agree with the email point. The point is not whether Gmail is a better service than Yahoo! or Hotmail (I would say it is), it’s that you are building a brand. If you don’t care to use Gmail, that’s fine, just make an account and link it to you existing one. I personally love Gmail, so that’s why I use it for my @miketieden.com email address.

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