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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Blogging: Self-promotion, Commenting and its Effectiveness


For those of you who have been reading for a while, you may be aware of my deep love for the podcast show Welcome to Night Vale, which is a bimonthly spoof radio broadcast of a town where all conspiracy theories are true. I tend to listen to it on iTunes or Soundcloud, but it was when I was on the latter that I saw something that ticked me off; Soundcloud allows the listener to add comments at specific portions in a audio file for everyone to see, which tend to along the lines of 'this tune' or 'I love X!' - however, there was one advertising the commenter's own electronic music album, and it made me irrationally annoyed. It was only when I was discussing the difference between blogging niches with the gamer that I considered the wider examples of this within blogging as a whole (particularly fashion blogging).

The internet offers endless opportunities for connecting with potential fans of your brand and getting word out about it. But as a result of the relatively new nature of the web and the delicate definition of online etiquette, problems can arise. And somehow, many bloggers can't tell the difference between useful online advertising and advertising which harms you.

Networking and being seen is a well recognised strategy within blogging to growing your readership. However, for some bloggers (particularly within fashion blogging), networking seems to mean this classic, generic comment -

Examples taken from LOVE AESTHETICS.

Now, I don't want to shame people who do this - we shouldn't criticise people for ignorance. They're just trying to get a little bit of exposure for their blog; I know how hard that is. However, this is really only a step up from spam; what do these comments add to the conversation? On a superficial level, it may get your name out there, but to the viewer, it makes you seem desperate for views and willing to use other (usually more successful) bloggers as tools to get you them.

Blogging, for me, is all about building a connection with both the reader and the wider blogging community. Not only are you missing out on this wonderful aspect (as a side note, I'm so grateful for both the people who take an interest in my writing and life and for the other bloggers who engage with my own comments), but when you post obvious self-advertisement the reader is led to believe you yourself only regard the blogging community as a superficial fa├žade, and don't value true engagement with both readers and other bloggers.

Obviously, these individuals have not been successful in their advertising strategy. What should be done? I regard networking as just fostering good will and a sense of community between bloggers. If you truly value your fellow bloggers and want people on other to see you as someone who does (and, by extension, their readers) you should be posting comments that actually add to the discussion. If a blogger is asking a question, consider it and answer sincerely. People will recognise you from that, and it's a far more rewarding strategy in the long run.

What's your opinion on the ethics of advertising your blog and commenting? If anyone responds with an ironic 'good blog! [link here]' comment I'll hate you forever (I kid).


P.S. There won't be a monthly blog round up this month, I'm afraid, due to my looming exams. There will still be a post, however, so don't fret.


  1. Blatant self-advertising, as pasting the link to one's blog, turns me off to the point I don't even check them. But whenever I see a comment which relates to my post from a blogger I haven't seen earlier, I go to their profile page and check out if they have a blog of their own. Because this is a sign for me they are interested in my blog and don't use it as a simple platform to promote themselves - and, in turn as a halo effect, it makes me think they are interesting and worth checking.
    For alike reason I avoid Follow for Follow groups, because I don't wish to have lots of followers, who don't give a damn about my blog (and I probably don't care about theirs, too) - I prefer to have smaller follower base, but build of people I can recognise.

    1. I do the same as you! I love being creepy and checking out bloggers whom I haven't seen before and look interesting, whereas I'm contrary when it comes to self advertising and don't want to check out their blog.

      Eww, is Follow for Follow still a thing? I can't believe people would place a number over genuine interaction.

    2. I definitely agree with Ra here.
      When I see very wise or insightful comments, I instinctively click their profile and their blog to try to learn more about them (and hopefully see more wise and insightful content).
      On the other hand, if they leave a unmemorable word or two and feel the need to type out their link on top of that, I'm pretty skeptical of the quality of what they have to say and even less likely to want to branch out and see what their blog is all about.

      I think there's a level of investment you have to put in to writing a worthwhile comment or reply and sometimes people want to reap the benefit of 'connecting' to others without putting in that effort. Plus, no one appreciates blatant, unapologetic advertising. if there's a subtle way to advertise yourself (as blogger so eloquently allows you to do) and you're resorting to pushing your content in everyone else's face, no one is going to appreciate that. Your content should be so worthwhile it speaks for itself without you needing to be a virtual marketing machine for it.

  2. I've never been a fan of promoting my blog that way. Occasionally I will say those things (very rarely) but it typically means that I couldn't honestly think of anything else and genuinely wanted to tell someone they look lovely. For promoting my blog I prefer to go the route of guest blogging, links or at the very least telling myself to leave at least five thoughtful comments at that moment because I'm a lazy blogging community participant.

    1. Yeah, there's some posts where sometimes all you can say is something like 'awesome!' or 'nice outfit!', but I do challenge myself to say something else where that's the case (e.g. commenting on what exactly I liked about it, sharing my experiences). As a blogger you can also help the reader by asking a question or for them to share something.

  3. The only time I make a comment directly linking to my blog is when I've written a post that directly addresses the issue being discussed and I don't feel like repeating myself.


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