Blog Comments: Good or Bad?

Editor’s Note: I recently attended WordCamp Richmond, which was all about blogging using WordPress. I learned a lot, felt overwhelmed at times and was inspired to write several blogs. This is the second one. Part 1 focused on whether to create a blog and Part 3 will talk about communities and blogging.

One of the best parts of blogging is when someone writes a comment after I post a blog. The comment lets me know that I said something that resonated. My goal is to get to the point where there is a long comment stream because it means that the conversation is continuing.

When it comes to comments on blogs, there are three considerations.

  1. Should I respond to comments? “Yes! It’s building relationships,” says Bradley Robb, who spoke at WordCamp Richmond
  2. Should I allow comments? Yes, if you want to steer the conversation.
  3. Can I delete comments I don’t like? Yikes!

If someone posts that they liked the blog, I sometimes acknowledge the kinds words. I know I should do it every time. Sometimes, I get distracted, but really, it’s a compliment, and you should always acknowledge a compliment.

I have my blog set up that I must approve the comment in advance. Only once did I not allow a comment and that’s when someone made a wild claim that I could not substantiate and I feared it could lead to a libel issue.

One time, I made a grammatical mistake in my blog post. A reader sent me a comment. How embarrassing! I quickly revised the blog, and I allowed the comment to remain. I want my readers to know that their comments are appreciated.

Comments are a great way to keep the conversation going. At WordCamp Richmond Frank Fitzpatrick of Henrico County Schools (Va.) shared how students in his school district studied multicultural versions of Cinderella and then commented on blog posts about the topic. Students are taught early about internet safety. Commenting on blogs was a means for  students to pull their thoughts together and share with others, Frank said.

When won’t I allow a comment? As I already noted, if the comment could lead to legal troubles, is offensive or is off topic. After all, this is a community of professional communicators, and I think everyone expects a level of professionalism.

Going forward, I hope to hear from more of you on the blog through comments. For those who are consistent posters, thank you! Your comments mean the world to me.

Blogging 101

Editor’s Note: I recently attended WordCamp Richmond, which was all about blogging using WordPress. I learned a lot, felt overwhelmed at times and was inspired to write several blogs. This is the first one. Part 2 will focus on blog comments and Part 3 will talk about communities and blogging.

When colleagues learn I have a blog, they often say to me, “I need to start one.” My next question to them is why?

Don’t get me wrong, a blog is a great communications tool. However, if you don’t have a communications plan or a purpose for writing the blog, your blog is going to go into cyberspace and nothing will happen.

So why should you have a blog? During a recent WordCamp in Richmond, Va., Bradley Robb, a digital producer with INM United offered four reasons to blog, including:

  1. Building Community
  2. Establishing authority: “If you’re the one with the mic people obviously assume you know what you are talking about,” he notes.
  3. Building fresh content
  4. Engaging directly with clients, customers or peers

Once you’ve decided that a blog is an appropriate communications tool for you or your client, you will want to establish an editorial calendar. I post on Wednesdays and Sundays so my calendar has all the Wednesdays and Sundays listed. I then go through and note possible topics. For example, I knew I would be attending WordCamp Richmond so I marked the dates closest to the camp as topics related to the camp.

In September I always note that I will have three to four posts around the National Federation of Press Women conference. January is a good month to have a post around resolutions related to communications.

An editorial calendar Bradley says “is a great way to make sure your blog doesn’t die.” Since establishing my schedule and calendar, I have never missed a post. A calendar forces consistency for me. When I run low on ideas, I have to spend some time researching so that I don’t come up short on a day that I post. A calendar also leads to new ideas. I met a student the other week for breakfast after he asked for advice about communications in the non-profit field. He tweeted about it, and it inspired a post on a day when I had not yet decided what to write about.

The final benefit of an editorial calendar is that it forces consistency. Thanks to my calendar I have never missed posting on a Wednesday or Sunday. My readers have come to expect twice weekly posts. I don’t want to disappoint.

When you’re ready to blog, don’t forget to create your editorial calendar. Whether you post once a week or once a month, it will help you with your content.

Are you ready to blog?