One of the hallmarks of social media is the “comments section,” a kind of virtual town square where people can share their opinions on articles, blog posts, and Benghazi.
The comments sections that don’t devolve into hate-filled shouting matches provide an excellent opportunity to connect with people who are literally thinking about your issue at the moment you post your comment.
The comment section is truly a product of the Internet Age. Back in the day, the only way to weigh in on an article was to draft a letter to the editor, get it approved by your boss, run it by legal, send it to the target newspaper, and pray that it would be selected to run in the paper several days later … long after everybody had lost interest in the story.
But online comments sections let you:
- Post your comment immediately.
- Imbed a link that will instantly drive new traffic to your website.
- Use the same comment on numerous sites because exclusivity is not required.
- Engage directly and instantly with people who have demonstrated an active interest in your issue.
The best part is you can start right away. Let me show you how it works.
Shortly after Dylan Farrow accused Woody Allen of bad touching her when she was a kid, the Daily Beast published an article written by Allen’s biographer that essentially called Dylan a liar.
Having experienced a dash of what Dylan had gone through, I wrote a blog post challenging Allen’s biographer. Then I drafted a very short comment that encapsulated the main point of my blog post—added a link to my blog post in the comment I wrote—and then posted that comment on every heavily trafficked site I could find.
The results were impressive. Prior to this campaign, I was lucky to get more than 200 page views for any given post. But this post attracted nearly 3,000 page views, with over 2,000 of them coming in just a few hours after I hit “send.”
To make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I launched another comment-section campaign a few weeks later. Here is the step-by-step process.
Step 1: Select the broad issue you want to promote. The goal of my personal blog, FlackOps.com, is to teach people that there is often much more to a story than meets the eye. I’m constantly on the lookout for stories that seem to be too good—or too bad—to be true. When I find one, I pounce.
Step 2: Look for trending topics that relate to that issue. Not long ago, multiple news outlets reported that a “NASA-funded study” predicted the imminent collapse of Western Civilization. Having a selfish interest in the topic, I set out to learn just how valid this study was.
Step 3: Write a blog post that presents your perspective on that issue. I started with the most obvious question: Who exactly did NASA fund to do the study?
Turns out it was a researcher who has been writing about society’s pending collapse since at least 2011. He also holds a rather notable bias against the free-market system, calling for government policies to “stabilize population,” and to “stabilize industrial production per person.” It made for great blog post fodder.
Step 4: Craft a very short comment and imbed a link to your blog post. After I wrote my post, I drafted a comment which included a promise that the reader could find more information by clicking on the link back to my blog.
Step 5: Copy and paste your comment into every applicable site. This is the fun part. Now that I had essentially done the work, I just cut and pasted this comment into heavily trafficked every article I could find.
Step 6: Identify your performance indicators on your blog’s dashboard before you post your first comment so you can see exactly how effective this tactic is … and which media outlets send the most traffic to your site. In this case, my comment generated more than 800 page views within two hours—second only to the Woody Allen post.
Step 7: Create an auto-search for terms relevant to your issues. Every news story that gets legs follows a certain pattern of coverage—it breaks online, gets picked up by the foldable media, inspires blog reaction and old-media editorials, and finally if it’s significant enough, columnists will talk about the societal implications of the issue. Following this cycle will give you plenty of opportunities to generate more web traffic.
It's that simple. So give it a shot and leave me a comment telling me how it went.
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