The Do’s and Don’ts of building your personal brand through blog comments.
Respect the blogger
My rule of thumb is to consider blog commenters as potential guests in my home. As a commenter, the blogger is inviting you in by giving you the chance to continue a conversation they started, so don’t barge in with the sole purpose of selling yourself. Instead, add value and make the blogger (and other readers) wish you’d come around more often.
Now let’s take a look at the standard blog comment form fields, using the ones here below as an example.
Use, not abuse, the comment form fields
Another rule of thumb is to fill in the form fields in the most obvious way possible. If the blogger wanted your job title or your branding statement, there would be form fields for them.
- This should be your personal brand name if you have one. Otherwise, settle for your full name, using the same format as it appears on your business card.
- Do not abbreviate your first or last name, which smacks of trying to remain anonymous, something a brand-builder clearly doesn’t want.
- Do include abbreviated titles or designations, such as ‘Dr.’ or ‘Ph.D’, especially for credibility purposes.
- Do not add anything else, such as your job title, unless it’s part of your personal brand name.
Although your email address will never appear, the blogger will use it to help decide if your comment is spam. Ideally, they will be so impressed by your comment, they might contact you directly. In other words, if you’re interested in potentially continuing the discussion with the blogger, leave a real email address.
Another important reason to use your real email address is if the blog shows a user avatar with each comment. Systems like Gravatar need your real email address to display the right avatar.
However, if you don’t fully trust the blogger and are worried about spam, Tempomail is a free service that lets you create temporary email addresses that redirect to your real inbox until you decide whether the blogger is trustworthy or not.
Simply enter your most brand-building url. This is easy if you have a brand-building blog, otherwise use your best social media profile such as your LinkedIn vanity url, your Facebook vanity url or personal branding page, or your Twitter profile.
This should be one of the 7 Types of Personal Brand-Boosting Blog Comments.
Heather Cyrus, an Eco-Conscious Public Relations Mother, left a comment on that article asking about using signature blocks in blog comments, to which I responded: “When leaving personal contact information, only use the designated form fields, which is the way a blogger signals to commenters which information is okay to leave. On JobMob, I allow people to leave their name, website and Twitter id and will remove signature blocks when people leave them. Also, people who leave signature blocks are in effect signaling ‘I don’t know much about blog comments, so I’ll treat them like email messages’.”
Blog comment timesavers
easyComment Firefox add-on – makes it easy to automatically fill the comment form fields with one click of the mouse. This guide explains how it works.
Commenting systems – Disqus and IntenseDebate are examples of commenting systems that let you easily associate all your blog comments with a common user account, such as your Facebook account, so you can easily track your commenting history, replies to your comments and more. Nice as they are, these systems are not as popular as you might think, and the easyComment add-on saves me a lot more time than they do.