Amy has an interesting post on her blog today on the value of blog comments. In it, she writes:
I think blog comments are VERY overrated. “Social media experts” act like they are the be-all-end-all but personally I think they are insignificant for many (not all, but the majority of) companies.
If I ran an SEO blog, I’d expect comments from my peers and MAYBE a few clients. However, if I was in charge of a blog for plumbers, I would NOT expect any comments. Plumbers are going to be out fixing sinks and such all day long, they are not going to be sitting in front of their computers waiting to weigh in on clogged toilets and whether or not industrial Drano is environmentally friendly.
Now I could easily see a plumber having a blog that created content on teaching others how to do simple plumbing upgrades/repairs on their own, and how blog comments could have value as it would let the plumber answer questions from readers and in the process, establish the plumber’s credibility and expertise with potential customers. But I think Amy’s larger point on the true value of comments, is valid.
Companies need to understand that while comments DO have value on a blog, that value will be different for each company. And that comments are NOT the end goal for any blogging strategy. If any of you write for a company blog that is judged ultimately on how many comments you generate per post, I’d love to hear from you.
Let’s assume a fictional company blog has the end goal of generating more sales on its website. So the average path that a person might take on the blog would look something like this:
1 – Arrive on blog
2 – ???
3 – ???
4 – ???
5 – Leave blog and go to website
6 – ???
7 – ???
8 – Purchase product from website
Let’s say this visitor commented on the blog before leaving it and going to the website and purchasing a product. If so, that action would have taken place at #2, #3, or #4. Probably #2 or #3. The point is, the visitor leaving a comment is low on the totem pole of importance. What you want to look at more closely is what happened at #4 to prompt the visitor to leave the blog and go to the website, and then what happened at #6 and #7 to prompt the person to purchase the product once they arrived on the website.
But even IF a comment happens at #2, it still has value if it moved the visitor on to the action they took at #3. The point is, you need to understand that you can’t judge the blog’s effectiveness solely on comments per post, you need to look higher up the chain to find the value. And it could be that for your unique blogging goals, that getting comments on the blog is more important to you. For me, getting more comments per post has value for me in several areas:
1 – It helps me learn from my readers, which means the content I create here is (hopefully) more useful.
2 – It gives me ideas for future posts.
3 – It helps establish for event organizers that the content I am talking about resonates with readers, so they should hire me to speak at their event.
4 – It helps establish for clients that I know how to build engagement and interaction via blogs and social media.
Now if your company’s blogging strategy is built around building engagement and your online presence, then comments on your blog has a higher value for you. Each company’s situation is different and the only ‘one size fits all’ rule when it comes to blogs and social media is probably that there is NO ‘one size fits all’ rule
So blog comments will have different value for each blogging company. While comments are NOT the silver bullet that some social media experts claim, they aren’t totally worthless, either.
Those of you that blog for your business, what value do YOU place on comments? And I’d like to hear from business bloggers moreso than personal bloggers. If you have a personal blog, comments are absolutely more valuable for you. But I’d like to hear what business bloggers feel the value of comments are.