The World’s Greatest Content Marketer Hates Comments

A pair of homemade sock monkeys.

I am the world’s greatest content marketer and the world’s greatest dad blogger and I hate comments.

Do me a favor and try not to get caught up in the self appointed titles of greatest content marketer and greatest dad blogger because those titles are meaningless. They have the same authority as the lists that some media organizations compile of the top 50 or 100 Sock Monkeys who blog.

Heck, it is an insult to hard working sock monkeys everywhere to compare their work to some of the bloggers on these lists, not to mention a bunch of other big names. Don’t ask me to name names either because it won’t happen.

Not interested in a flame war with people who can’t write better than Sock Monkeys.

Forget About The Sock Monkeys

This post was going to be called Is Triberr Divisive but I stumbled across a post at Mark Schaefer’s place called Social media “engagement” is not a strategy and decided to go in a different direction.

It is a very smart piece and it deserves to be read. If you are not able to get over there then read this:

“Let’s not forget that all that engagement comes at a cost!  We have to be careful that we’re ready to staff-up to effectively meet those demands. And for some companies, that may not be a good business decision.

Let me give you a micro-example. Last week I wrote a blog post that had more than 100 comments.  As a small business owner, if I had this level of engagement every day, I would not have time to work on the consulting and teaching activities that feed my family.

Now if I really wanted to, I could pump up this level of engagement all the time … but it would be foolhardy for me to do so. I need to strike the proper balance of commercial activities across my customer base that optimize my business results. In fact, I purposely plan my blog postings to DEPRESS engagement on days when I don’t have the time to properly handle it.

In other words, if you’re not careful, you can talk yourself broke.”

Smart businesses work hard to build relationships with their prospective and existing customers. One of the ways they do it is through creating channels that funnel conversation towards places where they have an active presence.

But once you open that door you have to prepared to the comments, calls, emails and visitors that come by to visit.

No one wants to be ignored and if you don’t respond in a timely basis you will alienate people and make them feel like you are ignoring them.

The beauty of our instant gratification society is that our collective attention spans are shrinking so our willingness to wait isn’t what it used to be.

I Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Comments

Remember me, the self proclaimed World’s Greatest Content Marketer?  I have a love/hate relationship with comments. Blog comments are n0t currency but many people use them as such. It is how they measure their success but it is a funny sort of metric to use.

That questions and others that are related to it are responsible for posts like What is the value of a comment? and  Can You Build Community Without Comments?

Hell, sometimes I think the comments are the reason why some bloggers have gone off of the deep end. Blogging is a two way street and when you start to view your readers as groupies and sycophants you are headed to that place Yoda referred to as The Dark Side.

Forgive the tangent, but it irks me to no end that my kids view Darth Vader as being some sort of sympathetic figure.

He used to be scary. He used to be the icon of evil and now since Lucas messed with my childhood he is not the same.

It makes me wonder if Lucas spent too much time reading all of the positive comments and not enough time paying attention to the criticism.

What I really want to see in a comment section is a conversation that we can learn from. I don’t mind banter because that can help build community, but if all we ever see is praise I begin to wonder.

Blogging Questions, Concerns and Ideas

I have to get some shut eye so that I can try to stay a step ahead of the sock monkeys but before I go I want to state again that Writing Is Not The Hardest Part Of Blogging and that blogging/social media isn’t free.

Our time is worth something and that is part of why I like mixing up the posts here. It is not just to maintain interest or because I love to write but because posts like this one stimulate conversation that builds community and educates.

I like learning and I think many of you do too.

The floor is open. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Gini Dietrich ( January 8, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Well, you already know my views on comments because I answer every one of yours! I don’t agree with the block quote you pulled. I run a small business. I get more than 100 comments every day. I answer all of them. And I still feed my family and make payroll and grow the business and hire new people and train and mentor and coach them and keep clients happy. I think it’s less to do with time and more to do with what you think is important. Last year we got three new clients from Spin Sucks because of the way we communicate and engage with our readers. We have one more (a really big one) in the pipeline. Would that have happened without our level of engagement? Maybe. But all four have told me the reason they called us is BECAUSE of our level of engagement.

    • Jack January 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Hi Gini,

      I don’t think there is only one way to do any of these things so I don’t disagree with what you have said or are doing.

      But not everyone can do what you do and make it work for them. What would happen if you didn’t have a team to take care of some of the other responsibilities?

      It would mean some sort of adjustment in approach, but it is hard to say what sort of impact that would have.

      What I know for certain is I use the Spin Sucks community as a model that others should strive to build. That wouldn’t happen without your influence so that is worth a lot.

    • extremelyavg January 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

      I, for the record, always appreciate the fact that you respond to my comments. I think it is worth it and it does make me feel like a part of the community.

      • Jack January 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

        Hi Brian,

        I appreciate your consistency and thoughtful remarks. I know you actually read what is written and aren’t just commenting with the hope of reciprocation at your blog.

        • extremelyavg January 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

          My blog doesn’t really lend itself to comments. Most of the time I’m writing a novel and so people are either following along from the beginning or they aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, I do like getting comments and they are often helpful with measuring how people are liking the story and if I’ve gone astray, but it is unreasonable to expect someone to wander over and read only chapter 27.

  2. Bill Dameron January 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Good points here. I find that sometimes I spend so much more time “engaging” than I do writing, but without the engagement, who am I writing for? I think there is a “critical mass” point where a decision needs to be made about reducing engagment. In the beginning a writer needs to get his identity and brand out there and engagement is a big part of that. I’m still waiting for that critical mass moment.

    • Jack January 8, 2013 at 12:29 am

      Hi Bill,

      It is an interesting dilemma/question. I love writing so much I would write without comments and have. However the comments help provide guidance in the respect that they demonstrate whether our words resonate with others.

      If the goal is to write professionally it is quite useful to get that kind of feedback so…

      The challenge is trying to find the time to promote and to write– not always easy.

  3. Bill Dorman January 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    A fine line indeed and depends on your purpose and who is paying the bills. Personally, I like the feedback and conversation comments allow. However, I would be dead in the water financially if I posted 2-3 times a week and had to answer 50+ comments at my place AND take the time to visit others.

    I like to write and I like to network; there has to be a place for me in here somewhere, right?

    • Jack January 8, 2013 at 12:27 am

      Hi Bill,

      It is hard. I have had some good runs where I posted multiple times per week and averaged around 30 comments per post. It was great but brutal because it just took huge chunks of time to respond.

      If you aren’t the Bloggess it is harder to ignore comments and still be assured of receiving more.

  4. Jens P. Berget January 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I have the same relationship with comments. On one hand, I love comments, because I really enjoy feedback on the things I am writing. On the other hand, it’s too easy for people to see that a blog post with no comments or few comments are not as good as blog posts with lots of comments.

    I have started a Norwegian blog, and I have realized that it’s a lot harder to get comments in Norway. It seems that Norwegians are not as eager to comment, even though a lot of people are reading the blog. And, once in a while, I am thinking that, people who are reading this blog might feel sorry for me, because I don’t have any comments 🙂

    • Jack January 8, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Hi Jens,

      It irks me sometimes to think that people will judge posts based upon the number of comments. I understand the reasons and that it happens, but it just chaps my hide.

      I would be curious to find out if Norwegians are less likely to comment or if it is more of a traffic issue.

      • Jens-Petter Berget January 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

        I am not sure if it’s a traffic issue or not. I get a lot more traffic to slymarketing, but I get enough traffic to get a few comments a day on my Norwegian blog. But, I’ll be doing some testing to see what works.

  5. Gil Reich January 7, 2013 at 5:35 am

    First time I’m seeing your blog (thanks, Mark, for sending me here). At the risk of delivering too much praise in comments, I love the Groucho Marx quote, and the funny throw-away lines all over your blog

    For the vast majority of bloggers, more comments is a good thing. It’s only the tiny minority that reach the point where they need to get strategic about reducing interaction with their audience. First world problems.

    • Jack January 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Gil,

      It is nice to meet you. I am glad you solved the comment dilemma.

      I agree that more comments is usually a good thing for most bloggers but I would modify it so that it would read as comments that advance the conversation. I like banter and silliness and a prime “offender” of adding those to a comment section, but I also like seeing real dialogue.

      I want to see hard questions asked and answered. The comment section can be gold when used well.

  6. Julie Barrett January 7, 2013 at 5:22 am

    This was timely. Remember I mentioned my Get Real Guide? Well I did get some paid readings from it, but I also have people who don’t read who expect free intuitive guidance. I do like to give back regularly, kind of like tithing, so I will often answer a few but then it gets to be too much of my time and becomes counterproductive. I need to set boundaries SOONER – because I then got sick and couldn’t do the paid work as quickly as I would have liked to. So there you go – right, again.

    • Jack January 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Hi Julie,

      Boundaries are important, especially in your position because many people will keep asking questions for as long as you let them.

      I think it is common for people to forget about the value of time and not realize that they are imposing, but there are also those who just don’t care.

      So when you set boundaries you make it easier to take care of both groups.

  7. Mark W Schaefer January 7, 2013 at 4:52 am

    For some reason I have that scene from Elf in my head when he sees the window sign that says “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” and he bursts in and yells “You Did IT!” Congratulations on your honor Jack! : ) And thanks for carrying the conversation forward. PS I would still like to hear your views on Triberr!

    • Jack January 7, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Hi Mark,

      I had forgotten about that scene, but it is perfect. I am a fan of self proclaimed titles and made up awards. They are just fun.

      It is an important conversation to have because many bloggers/businesses really don’t grasp what is going on out here and how to make it work for them.

      The principles aren’t all that different from the real world, but it is not obvious to some, especially new comers,

      My goal with the discussion is to help people as well as help myself because those who muddy the waters sometimes devalue our work.

  8. Betsy Cross January 7, 2013 at 1:49 am

    So, if you have browsers, a lot of them, in your store, and they become customers (assuming you have products to sell), you hire salespeople.
    Write the book. 🙂

    • Jack January 7, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Hi Betsy,

      You just made me smile. There is a chicken and egg thing going on here. If you want to sell products/services you need to generate leads and convert them into sales.

      Real life example: I was in a store a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to buy a new pair of pants and I would have but they didn’t have enough people on the floor to handle all of the business.

      I waited for a few and then walked out to go find a store where someone could help me.

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