Crafty performance marketers routinely capture prospective visitors' attention by using the comment section of various content-based publishing websites. Yep, blogs.
Commenting is a powerful way to foster relationships with content publishers and their audience, but there's more. It's also useful in establishing oneself (or one's brand) as an expert in a particular industry vertical, build awareness and, of course, acquire new visitors. Although challenging, there are several practices, if you have the time and the inclination, that will serve your digital enterprise well.
When commenting on a new website, it is important for affiliate marketers to present themselves as experts in the topic at hand and to leave remarks that are relevant to the content they're commenting on.
The most effective way to establish oneself as an authority on a given subject is to provide information that supplements the publishers' original content and helps readers better understand the topic. One way to add credibility to comments is by including complementary material through a link to an outside resource, which could include the affiliate's own website (if they have a suitable page to link to).
According to Byrnes Consulting President Michael W. Byrnes, Jr., two excellent practices for asserting one's authority include presenting a distinct opinion and being trendy or newsworthy on the most popular topics of the day. He also advises commenters to write to the point quickly with easy-to-scan text.
Smart marketers know that the reason behind commenting and asserting their authority on other people's content comes down to earning the trust and respect they need to generate attention for their own sites, products or services.
Perhaps the most important part of commenting is appealing to the content publisher, as the writers have already made their expertise in the niche known (theoretically). The commenter can use this relationship to draw attention to their work and acquire links.
Marketers should direct their comments to the author by calling them by his or her name (if it's available) and commenting on specific aspects of the publisher's work. Asking pointed questions also works in attracting an author's attention.
Other times, marketers may want to engage with other commenters. The best way to do this is to answer questions that users may pose, as this begins a dialogue and helps the affiliate show authority.
Regardless of who you're conversing with, it's important to keep digital etiquette top-of-mind. "Complimenting others can create great goodwill," said Byrnes.
After establishing relationships, the next goal is to drive traffic back to the affiliate's website.
Obviously, they must provide links to the site or a specific page on the site. There are a few good ways to do this. For starters, the affiliate can drop in a link and tell others to contact them there or check out their content for more insights. However, if the affiliate already has complementary content on his or her site, one could refer users directly to that content as a supplement, although not without offering useful information along with the link.
Another, but less direct way is to put a link in one's username. For instance, some of Website Magazine's savvier commenters have set it up so that when someone clicks on their username, it takes them to the commenter's website, rather than their WebsiteMagazine.com profile. This works for providing a link without seeming pushy.
However, all of this traffic generated from commenting is useless if you don't track it. "Analyze where traffic is coming from and refine/improve the marketing strategy," said Byrnes.