I recently wrote a guest post for another blog, the post mentioned in it about outsourcing and hiring virtual assistants, and one of the comments was from a gentleman who basically seemed to use his own blog to search for new talent. Now this admittedly was a means for him to approach people to guest post on his blog, but nonetheless this was one example of someone using commenting to locate assistance.
He didn’t go into much detail, but I have concluded that he would write a post, then review the comments to see who fits the bill, and if someone looks like they have potential, he would approach them and offer them a guest post slot. It would seem only natural, the people would have demonstrated their ability to write meaningful content on the comment, they have an active interest, not only in the blog owner, but the overall topic as well, and that’s really half the battle of finding good people online to guest post.
But, comments are used for a whole host of reasons, and as virtual assistants we can take advantage of this powerful tool to put ourselves directly in front of potential clients, who have the opportunity of getting to know us better through the comments we write.
Make commenting a part of your strategy.
Commenting for reasons other than recreation, does mean that you need to put some thought into it.
Research your locations.
I would initially say do some research into your locations, and make a point of commenting on blogs which appear to be active and have a small to medium community built around them, check out the other commenters, could they be potential clients you may like to work with? Do a bit of research into the blog community, and decide whether it would be advantageous to spend your time on that blog. Once you find someone who looks like they could be reputable, has a good following and a fairly active site, use them as a stepping stone and check out who they are promoting or recommending, see who they interact with and who’s in their circle, then keep going and check out the blogs of those people too. I find the smaller communities are the best for this, where you can get around a handful or up to 50 comments per blog post, there tends to be more of an intimacy, with more of a chance of getting noticed. Also, whenever you see a blog where the author is active in commenting too, this is a great sign, the author is the glue that holds the blog together, and the more the author comments, the more the followers will come back to interact.
You can also use “Good-Old Google” to locate keyword specific posts that would attract the kind of like-minded people you would want to work with.
Make sure the posts are relevant to your business, things about claiming back time, outsourcing, business support, or are based on specific services etc… This is an example of a good post to comment on: http://thinktraffic.net/how-do-you-find-the-time – it’s on topic, you can make a very useful contribution, Corbett does a wonderful job of interacting with his readers, and the blog attracts a small but quality community that you can become a part of.
Say something useful.
If you leave comments such as “great post”, “thanks for the post, really interesting”, or “I’ll be back, really great content” — these type of comments won’t get you noticed, and if you’re commenting for business purposes, they would be a bit of a waste of effort.
Always try to make a valuable, useful contribution to the conversation. Put a bit of thought into what you have to say, and always remember the purpose of the comment is to attract potential clients by demonstrating your expertise, and if for whatever reason you feel compelled to write a negative, impractical or judgemental comment, walk away, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Constructive criticism is fine, but having a bee in your bonnet over a post, then expressing negative emotion about it certainly isn’t useful to anyone, and it’s also “off putting” to most people as well. So, stay positive, be constructive, demonstrate expertise from personal experience and you’ve got a winner! The same should go for if you are blog posting on your own blog.
Track and follow up.
If you wrote one great comment then wondered why you never heard anything, then you’ve missed the point… You need to give people a chance to get to know you, see you coming back, see you as “consistent.” So you need to continue to visit the blog and become a regular commenter. If you look at musicians, “one hit wonders” don’t last in people’s memories, but they make a single, and another, and another, then an album, and before you know it, people know who they are… This is a bit like that on a smaller scale — don’t be a one hit wonder.
Reply directly to other people’s comments.
If you see a potential client, someone who you might like to work with, or get to know better, or someone who may move in certain circles which could be beneficial to you, then make a remark on their comment and address them directly, “Hi David, you made a great point here, I have to agree with xyz”. “Susan, these are my thoughts exactly, do you have any further information on this?” Really, this is an ice breaker, and rather than indirectly making yourself visible, you are “directly pin-pointing individuals,” which can have a much greater impact. You have to of course mean what you say, but it’s a great way to connect with people.
Above everything, have fun, be consistent, and remain professional at all times, and always remember you’re representing your virtual assistant company.