Studies have revealed that most blog and wiki readers never comment or contribute.

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

As a marketer, this presents a great opportunity for you. Blog comments and forums. You finally have an easy way to interact with your very own customers. Oh boy, Oberto!

Read my commenting guidelines before you run off and start Googling for blog entries to comment on:

  1. Be relevant. Don’t try to force your products into the conversation. Only do so when it makes sense. Many people write blogs and participate in communities so they can escape from advertising. Err on the side of being a blogger’s peer, rather than “just another marketer.” Heck, this may be your chance to become friends with a customer. (Imagine that!)
  2. Link back to your web site or blog. Most blogs let you submit a URL when you comment. If you’re talking about a particular product or service, link to its page on your site. You will be rewarded by the search engines for getting another link to your site.
  3. Put in some effort. Just today, I read a spammy comment on 37signals’s blog. It’s since been removed, but notice that the next commenter called it out immediately. Be sure that you’re contributing to the conversation and not just pasting your pitch into the comment box, clicking submit, and moving on to the next blog.
  4. Subscribe to the blog and say hi again later. This makes the blogger feel more like you’re their friend than someone who wants their money. Plus you may learn more about your customers from stalking them reading their blogs. (Huh? How do I subscribe to blogs?)
  5. Don’t ever fake your identity. You will be found out. Just ask Wal-mart.

If you can make it a point to comment on just 1 blog entry per day, it very well could make a difference. It’s kind of like marketing without marketing, really.

Go ahead, try commenting on my blog for practice. I’m very forgiving and like feeling the comment love!