By Joe Pulizzi published September 16, 2011

The Missing Ingredient in Your Blog Strategy: Commenting

Coming off the very successful Content Marketing World, I thought about all the relationship building it took that helped make CMW the largest event in the industry.  Frankly, it was a combination of a number of things that made it happen (I’ll share the story on that in an upcoming post). BUT, what really amazed me was the first step to the majority of our relationships with the leading content thinkers around the world.

Commenting on Blogs

Yes, I said it. What opened the door to, dare I say it, the majority of my relationships and friendships with the speakers at CMW was commenting on their blogs.

How did I first make contact with David Meerman Scott?  I commented on his blog.  Mike Stelzner…same thing…as well as Brian Clark, Jay Baer, Bernie Borges and Drew Davis.

The Forgotten Skill of Blog Commenting

LEGO JesusI was recently at a large marketing conference where I asked the audience how many of them had corporate blogs.  About 50% of the room had a blog.  Then I asked how many of them had a blog commenting strategy.  Only about 10% of those bloggers had a commenting strategy.  What a shame.

Great content alone is not enough.  You have to work it.

In many of my presentations, I show this picture of LEGO Jesus and ask the audience what Jesus was doing before he really started “spreading the Word” at age 30.  I ask them to envision this:

Jesus is 29 years old and distraught. He has this amazing news to share with the world, but no one is following him.  It’s just him and his mom Mary.  Just before his 30th birthday, Jesus asks Mary what he’s doing wrong and why no one is following him.  Mary says simply, “Look Jesus, I love you, and I love your teachings and parables…but if you want people to follow you and truly understand the stories you are telling, you have to leave the house”.

If You Create Great Content, But No One Reads It, Did You Create Great Content?

Gilad de Vries from Outbrain made a fantastic statement at Content Marketing World:

If you write a blog, but no one reads the blog, did you really blog?

You could be the greatest content creator on the planet, but if you don’t work the channels, no one will know about it AND your business won’t be positively impacted.  Number one on your list of distribution techniques should be commenting on the right blogs.

Not sure how?  Here’s a handy list:

  1. Find out where your customers and prospects are hanging out?  Use tools like Google Alerts and Twitter (or a reputation management system) to find out what blogs are making impact on your customers.
  2. Develop a list of at least 10 – 15 key blogs that you are going to be engaged in.  We cover ours with the Junta42 Top Content Marketing Blogs list.
  3. Make an informative comment on each of those blogs at least once per week.

Realistically, this should only take an hour or two per week, but the payoff will be tremendous.  Each of those influential industry leaders will know you.  After a while, some will start sharing your content.  At some point, you may even become friends with them.  And, over the long-term, it will positively affect your blogging and online marketing goals.

So, if you have a blog but don’t have a commenting strategy complete yet, do it today.  It’s that important.

For a more formal plan, check out this post from Brody Dorland on the 12 Things to Do After You Post a Blog.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Arik Hanson

    Blog commenting has been a great tool in my client toolbox for the last couple years. From a consulting perspective, the challenge isn’t the actual tactic, it’s *selling* the tactic because it does require some time and commitment.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Agreed Arik…finding someone to “own” the behavior is key. I would limit it to one to hours per week so it doesn’t become overwhelming, and then look at the results.

  • Nenad


    this is interesting and it makes sense. However, if you can look from my perspective: I write a blog in Slovene for the Slovene market, commneting on blogs in English. If those come to my site they turn away immediately, b/c they don’t understand the language spoken by about 3 million people. Do you suggest that we all blog in English and have multiple blog sites or … This is my European dilemma … 🙂

    Cheers, N.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Nenad…it depends on your goals. If you are trying to target English-speaking/reading influencers, then yes, your blog should probably be in English as well.

  • Al

    Excellent points Joe! It makes sense that one should reach out and touch someone. Once again, I find your blog to be an excellent source and an inspiration to us smaller agencies. Thanks!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Awesome Al. Thanks!

  • Paige Holden

    I was just sitting down to collect myself (and my notes) after Content Marketing World in order to see what I can implement right away for my corporate blog and this post came in! Perfect timing! The commenting part has been my greatest challenge, but this serves as a reminder to keep plugging away. Here’s a question though – when you have a blog with multiple authors, how do you motivate them to comment? Or, is one “lead commenter” enough?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Paige…thanks again for being at CMWorld. Glad you were there.

      This is what we do:
      1. Assign one person to “listen” to what needs to be commented upon.
      2. That coordinator is responsible to get the other people to comment…sending them the link and some instruction.
      3. General comments can be made by that “lead” person.


      • Paige Holden

        Great advice. I’ll give it a whirl. Thanks.

        P.S. Content Marketing World was great. My CEO wants to go to the next one!

        • Joe Pulizzi


  • Josh Miles

    Good stuff Joe. Or to paraphrase Gilad, “If you have a blog, but don’t have a commenting strategy, do you really have a blog?”

    • Joe Pulizzi

      LOVE IT

  • Joanne Costin

    This is so simple, but when I think about it, my comments on other blogs usually lead to comments on our blog. It’s a great idea to actually make it part of your strategy.

  • Kim Schuette

    So many blogs, so little time…

  • Pingback: Creating a blog commenting strategy « Thinking out loud()

  • David Meerman Scott

    Joe. I’ve probably left 10,000 blog comments in the past 10 years. You’re absolutely right that it is an important but often overlooked content strategy. And, hey, without it, we wouldn’t have met. David

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks David…it is amazing how many people and companies don’t look at this strategy. Obviously, it’s worked out well for both of us.

  • Mohammed Alsubaie

    Great post! People should look at this angle of content writing. Deigning an editorial plan for new content and mapping keywords to content and digital assets can also be good strategies.

  • scott aughtmon

    Great tip, Joe. I’m learning the importance of this more and more and am trying to be more diligent at it. (See I just did it? :))

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Yes you did…nice!

  • Dechay

    Did you see the blog post that Netflix released last night? It has 14,000 comments!

    • Joe Pulizzi


  • Emily Carter

    Loved this post! Commenting on a blog is a great way to make it SOCIAL. Being able to interact with colleagues or customers is why blogging is so great. And providing useful information to your target is what it’s all about! Having that interaction with people will make you stick out in their minds, which is why I find it so great.

  • Kent

    Agree. I am a Christian. In order to spread gospel, we have to go out rather than staying in the church. Same goes to the blogging strategies. We have to go out and build our virtual community by starting commenting other people’s blogs.

  • Ville Kilkku

    I agree with most of what you wrote here.

    However, there is this one part that really rubbed me the wrong way: “Make an informative comment on each of those blogs at least once per week.”

    Please, please do not add to the noise. I do not think that part of the strategy is viable or even useful.

    Yes, following blogs is a great idea. Yes, commenting is a great idea. No, setting a quantitative target for the number of comments on a specific blog is not a great idea.

    Why? Because if you strive to meet your quota, some of your comments may be just noise.

    Comment when you have something useful to say. And please at least skim the previous comments before leaving your own, because repeating something five people already said is not impressive.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      I agree Ville…which is why you need a comment that actually adds to the conversation. Anything less just won’t do.

      Regarding the number, just like an editorial calendar, you have to set goals…if you don’t, you’ll never make your desired progress. If my goal was not to blog two times per week, I’d slack off. Same goes for commenting.

      Thanks for YOUR comment.

      • Ville Kilkku

        OK, I get your point about setting goals.

        However, I still think that setting the goal to be the number of comments is not useful, and I don’t think the analogy to blog posts works all that well: you can always write a blog post about something, but comments are by nature reactionary, and it is not obvious that everyone has something relevant to say about everything.

        So, how about an alternative goal? Choose the 10-15 blogs, set up a separate group for them in your RSS reader, and make it your goal to read through that group every day, with an eye on commenting if possible. What do you think? Does that still give too much leeway to slack off on commenting?

        • Joe Pulizzi

          Not bad….I like it.

  • Jayna Locke

    I love blog commenting as a strategy. I think everyone who is looking for more back links and more visibility should have it on their calendar to comment on one blog post daily.

    Okay… here I go to add it to my daily to-do list. Must practice what I preach!

    Thanks Joe. You are an inspiration.


  • Garrett

    Practically speaking, how do you manage to get hits on your site by commenting on other blogs? Do you 1)Make a comment that is reflective of a post on your own blog and then link to that specific blogpost in your comment? or 2)Comment and just ensure that you have the general website linked under your post as a ‘signature’? or 3) Try to do both?

    If you do both, have you found one of the two to be more or less effective? Thanks.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Garrett…it’s about building a relationship with those influencers. Once you get on their radar, there are many more possibilities that they will come to know you and share you content with their followers. So, it’s not necessarily what the comment does in and of itself, but the results that matter.

  • Klavier Lernen

    Many people write a blog for the market commenting on blogs in English.I don’t think the analogy to blog posts works all that well.If those come to my site they turn away immediately.You can always write a blog post about something but comments are by nature reactionary.

  • David

    The title “If You Create Great Content, But No One Reads It, Did You Create Great Content?” hits home. I’ve been focused on enriching our website with content and functionality and am just starting to engage the blogging community. It has been a serial process and I’m not sure that that was very efficient.

    I’d like to here your thoughts.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks David…sounds like you are on the right path. Just make sure you have a goal with every piece of content and how you are going to market it in the long term, specifically growing your subscriber base.

  • Alyssa Staub

     Thank you so much with regard to giving me an update on this topic on your blog..Thanks for your time and consideration of other individuals by making this web site available…keep sharing..

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  • Gel Case

    These days, blog comments will do what it supposed to do. Unlike in previous months or years that commenting is done for seo purposes hence a lot of spam comments has been received by blog moderators but today due to google penguin updates, blog commenting is no longer the primary method in seo so spam comments has been minimized and only useful comments now is made to every blog posts.