Building Your Credibility on the Other Guy’s Dime

Yesterday we left you with the promise that today we’d show you how to build your credibility without having your own blog or podcast.  So, what’s this magical secret?  It called "commenting".  Nearly every blog and podcast has a place for you to leave comments.  If you get into the habit of leaving valuable comments where your prospects and customers are likely to see them, you’ll gain a reputation for being a source of good information without the work and expense, minimal as they may be, of having your own blog or podcast.

The great thing about this arrangement is that most bloggers and podcasters (including yours truly) love comments.  Comments let us know that someone’s listening and the move the conversation along.  Your thoughts are valuable to bloggers and to readers.  And you’re welcome to include your contact information along with your comment.

So, where do you post your words of wisdom?  For blogs, you can go to an online feed reader, like Bloglines, and search for relevant terms.  Google Reader is another popular choice.   You’re likely to find lots of possibilities for your particular industry and physical location so your next step is to subscribe to a few blogs and follow them daily.  It won’t take long to find out if you’ve made the right choice.  If nothing strikes your fancy, you can go back, unsubscribe from your first round of choices, and try some others.

If you see that a blog really is serving the community you want to reach, it’s time to join the conversation.  Stay away from comments like "Nice post!  I couldn’t agree more."  They don’t add anything to the conversation and while they might massage the ego of the blogger, they do nothing to build your reputation.  What readers are looking for is substance.

What about podcasts?  The search engines are different but the procedure is the same.  Try sites like Podcast Alley and blubrry, or use the search facility in iTunes.  Choose a few things that sound interesting and subscribe.  When you find a good match, start commenting.  Most podcasts will give you a number of choices when it comes to commenting.  Podcasts almost always have show notes pages, which is a page describing the content of each episode.  The show notes will also list the options for commenting.

There’s probably a link that says "comment" just like there is on a blog.  That’s where you leave written comments.  If you want to try your hand at audio comments, most podcasts will have a link for that too.  They’ll either have a "comment line" which is a toll-free telephone number, or they may invite you to record a comment and send it via email.  Whatever method you choose, I promise you the podcaster will be happy to hear from you.

When you have a blog or podcast of your own, it may take some time to build traffic.  By commenting on other posts, you take advantage of their existing followers.  It’s a very good way to build up a community of your own, and to meet some interesting people.  Just this week, MYOB has had visitors from eleven foreign countries.  I’m sure that most of those have come because of comments I’ve made on other blogs.

Bottom line is that you’re going to attract more customers by becoming recognized as an industry expert.  You’re also going to become more of an industry expert by following what others are saying.  You’re going to make connections with other interesting people in your industry. It’s a win/win/win.

PS, If you want to practice commenting, just click on the link below and fire away. 

Tomorrow, Facebook and MySpace.

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