A Step-By-Step Guide to Leaving a Meaningful Comment
With millions of new blog posts being written every day, maybe one of the best ways to truly stand out is to learn how to write powerful comments that do more than just respond but actively engage with content instead.
Even if you’re a blogger too, you can and will benefit from writing amazing responses to all the work that’s out there.
But more than this, and this is really important, we’re all part of a bigger community. How we respond to one another is one of the more powerful ways we can build that community up. Not all competition has to be ruthless, we can be cooperative in our competition too.
So, if you want to learn how to write comments that stand out from the crowd stick around because that’s today’s topic. Ready for it? Let’s dive in.
Step 1. Read the post you’re responding to
It might seem painfully obvious, but the first thing you have to do is read the post you’re responding to. What isn’t so obvious is how you should read it.
You want to read in such a way that is intentional, that breaks the piece down and helps you connect with the purpose behind its existence. What do you think the message is? Why do you think the writer wanted to share this piece?
Read with intention, everything else follows this. So, slow down, take it in, give it the time and energy it deserves.
This also means you should give yourself plenty of time to do the actual reading. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you feel rushed, or pressured by other things going on. So, cut out the distractions, give yourself plenty of time, and then start reading. Give the work your attention and energy.
Step 2. Engage with the piece as you’re reading
Next up, you want to really engage with the piece. This might mean different things for you than it does me, but I like to highlight things if the platform I’m on allows me to. If not, I’ll pull the article to somewhere that I can (simple copy and paste to a google doc, or a note-taking app, can work).
If it’s a big piece, take notes. But typically you won’t need to do this for everything you read. Just pay attention to the parts you find yourself agreeing with, or not agreeing with. You’ll want to come back to these because this is where the piece had an effect and where you’re most likely to be able to connect with the writer.
Step 3. Don’t just read, seek to understand
Your main goal with all this is to try and connect with the writer, their message, and why they’re writing this. First, seek to understand, and then you respond.
This is closely connected to how you read and how you engage with the text. Make note of the places the blog post speaks to you, where it doesn’t. Pay attention to what holds your attention, and where you nod off.
This doesn’t mean you’ll respond to every one of these situations, but knowing about them, and understanding at a deeper level will help you respond from a much richer place. Your comment won’t be easily overlooked if it’s written from a place of depth and purpose.
Step 4. Respond
Now we get to the real meat and taters of the whole thing. It’s all about the response, right?
Just like every other part of the process, you want to slow down, take a breath, and don’t rush. It might help to think of a good comment as a mini-blog post that builds on what you’re responding to.
Remember all those places you took note of? Maybe even jotted down some actual notes about? We’re going to use all of that to help write the response.
So, first thing’s first, who are you writing to? What’s their name? Triple check to make sure you spell it right. But open your piece with their name.
Why do you want to do this when the system clearly shows who you’re responding to? Because it’s personal, and people respond to their names. It shows that you took the time to notice, to care, and to show it.
Now, a little praise is just fine, but you want to write more than praise alone. You want to tell them why you liked the piece, and more, what about it resonated and how. Going beyond simple praise will give the comment more weight and will automatically make it stand out from other comments that are maybe a few words at best, and hyper-focused on praise and praise alone.
What you’re after is more than just a compliment, you want to show the writer that their work resonated and you found meaning in it. Praise is good, connections are better
Also, it’s OK to disagree with a point in the text. It should go without saying that you want to be respectful, and let empathy drive the comment. This is where highlighting the good stuff first comes in really helpful. Here, especially, you want to make sure to add in a genuine compliment but strike a balance. You don’t want to gush praise and then write a disagreement. One or the other will feel like a lie.
Comments are simple, short, easy once you get their rhythm down. Just think of them as a mini-blog post, or better, a very short letter written to the writer of the piece and focus on why and how it connected with you.
Step 5. Take it to the next level
Now, to really take your engagement to the next level, read more by the author. Maybe not all at once. Actually, it’s better to come back regularly than just taking a deep dive.
If you really resonated with the work, share it and show it. Use some of the ideas from your comments to help you write a quick blurb to introduce the blog post to your followers on various social media platforms.
Remember, reading and writing are how we support one another. Just in different ways. It all comes back to the community we share, and active, and committed engagement is one of the best ways we have to build that community up.
That’s it. Nothing too hard, right? And yet, when you start to actively engage with the work of other writers, you start to plug into something truly powerful and rewarding.
You go from an isolated blogger, hoping people might see and even respond to your work, to a blogger that’s plugged into the community and paying it forward. Your work becomes more than what you produce alone, but also what you produce in the community as well.
Now you’re fully equipped to get out there and start engaging with other writers. Happy commenting!
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