In the beginning, driving traffic to a blog can be very challenging. However, one way to direct traffic to a site early on is to comment on online articles published by traditional media.
When submitting comments on traditional media outlets, there are several rules of thumb one should follow.
1. Go Big
Submitting a comment on the Civil War Widows Forum won’t do you any good, mostly because there aren’t any Civil War widows left. Target media outlets with the largest possible readership like The New York Times. Also target opinion editorials written by famous people with a fanatic fan base and ideally, with whom you disagree. My personal favorite is Paul Krugman, and out-snarking him is my game. Not only do my comments sometimes infuriate his fanatically loyal following, but some of them will come to my site looking for a fight.
2. Go Early
When commenting on an article, timing equals placement, and placement means everything. Few readers ever get to comment 947, but many will read the first three comments after a provocative opinion editorial.
Your goal is to be one of those three.
Of course, getting there requires one to submit a comment shortly after an article is posted. However, most articles seem to hit the wire between nine and midnight Eastern time. If you check the site at those times, you can submit comments at a time when you have a better chance of getting a single digit position in the comment section.
3. Go Often
You never know which comment will strike a chord with potential readers. The more you write, the more likely you will stumble onto a topic that drives readers to your site. It may not even happen until weeks later. But it be less likely to happen if you do not try often.
4. Be Provocative
Never preach to the choir. It’s boring.
If you are a big Krugman fan, it will do you no good to comment on his op-eds. Comment instead on a Charles Krauthammer op-ed by telling him he’s wrong. Just make sure you support your argument with logic and facts, and are prepared for a flurry of counterattacks on your personal website.
Remember. Never kick a hornets’ nest if you aren’t prepared to fight the hornets.
5. Link to Your Site and Have Relevant Content Ready
Some people consider it a form of spamming to leave one’s website address at the end of a comment. If one does not speak to the article in one’s comment, then leaving an address is definitely spamming. However, if one leaves a thoughtful and provocative argument, there is nothing wrong with encouraging further discussion at one’s own site. Not everyone will agree, of course, but those who choose not to include their blog’s address when commenting on traditional media sites will find it harder to ramp their blogs as quickly as those who do not.
Commenting on the pitfalls of President Obama’s latest policy is pointless if people come to your site and find a post on Ranger Pudding Recipes. While there may be a lag between when you post your comment and when you are able to write a longer and more thoughtful piece related to that comment, make sure that lag does not linger for too long.
Is this Strategy Really Effective?
In my experience, yes.
The data speaks for itself.
My comments on various articles and opinion editorials on two publications alone, The New York Times and The Economist, accounted for nearly 25% of referrals to my site in its first four months.