How To Tarnish Your Brand By Leaving Comments On Blogs

I almost titled this “how to screw up your brand,” but you know, that kind of strong language would be off-brand for me :p

In the last three weeks I’ve received three comments, all from different people, on this blog.

All comments kind of, almost, add to the discussion, and enrich the original post or surrounding comments.

When I went to approve the comments in question, I kind of hesitated, but ultimately thought, “well, if they want to leave something that stupid, it’s on their brand, not mine.” It’s almost the “give them enough rope to hang themselves with” idea.

I approved the comments.

And then I started to see the very same comments posted on other blogs in the career or recruiting space. No editing, no customizing, just a straight copy-and-paste job.

So here’s the deal – I saw a yellow flag by the overly-self-promoting comment… but decided to let it fly. I figured my readers are smart enough to see through the crap.

But then when I read the very same stuff in multiple places, my initial concern was validated.

Guess what? As a blogger, you have gone backwards on our relationship. Instead of being flattered and grateful for you adding to my discussion, I’m now mad that you are “using me.” And insulting my readers.

You have tarnished, or screwed, your brand, as far as I’m concerned.

And I’m sure my readers are smarter than you think. I bet you’ve tarnished your brand with them, too.

Why the uncharacteristic rant?

Because I travel around telling people to comment on blogs to enhance and develop their personal brand. But please be cautious about how you do it. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t be self-promotional, unless it’s clearly warranted. If you have a solution that is right for the topic, great… let us know about it. Otherwise, save your pitch until the timing is right.
  2. Don’t insult me, as the blog owner. I’m okay if you disagree with me, for sure. I’m okay if you think I write something dumb, or unwarranted. But don’t try and pick a fight with me, and try and smear me. Of course, this might be what you really want to do, but if you are interested in nurturing a relationship with me, or enhancing your personal and professional brand, it might pay to take a breath and keep it nice. Also, I, like most bloggers, have built a community of readers. Sorry to say, but they like me. They support me. They are my champions and my evangelists. You might think I’m full of hot air, but they think I’m pretty cool. And they’ll stick up for me.
  3. Don’t ever insult my readers. You might think they are yours to preach to, but they are pretty smart and can see through your crap.

What am I missing? What have you seen diminishes the credibility of a commenter?

9 thoughts on “How To Tarnish Your Brand By Leaving Comments On Blogs”

  1. I completely agree. I just deleted a comment on my blog today that was completely self promoting and had nothing to do with my post. And it wasn’t just a web link or small sales pitch… It was two pages worth of junk! Two pages worth!

    Why do people think that this will work to get them positive attention? The only attention they will get is negative.

    Anyway… Great post!


    Adam DesAutels

  2. I got a “comment smear” on my blog from someone, so I took their email address and plugged it (with code) into the comments section of my blog for all the scrapers/spammers to find . . .


  3. I would just chalk it up to Internet newbiness. One of my account execs did that on a very prominent blog when he first started working here. It was obviously well meaning (so he says), but I still cringe when I see it.

  4. Ok, the guy is a newbie and no threat to Michael Arrington, but someone at that company let the kid loose. If i caught one of my sales people doing that, I’d put ’em on licking mailers for three weeks.

    Back to Jason’s prompt for examples of cruddy commenting: how about being too nice all the time. You compliment my blog, and I’ll do yours. It’s more pathetic than spam because i see even the leading bloggers out there doing it.

  5. Jason,

    I’ve never understood how someone can use any avenue to self-promote. What happened to just giving for the sake of others? Maybe my problem is that I give too much, and don’t wave my own flag as much as needed. But I also know that what I have said, and what I have posted, is showing me in the best light I can. It also is asking questions that I hope others can respond to in a helpful way for my edification.

    It could be an honest mistake, and possibly even a newbie, but I’ve seen too many people use that excuse to cover up what they know was blatantly wrong.

    Jason, keep up the good work. I appreciate how you are willing to say what needs to be said, regardless of whether it is always the easiest or most politically correct.

  6. Spam comes in many forms. Some of it is to sell you replica watch or sexual potency drugs and some is some mindless person trying to promote themselves. If the comments have no relevance to the topic and you find they’ve posted the same comments on other sites – it’s spam. I’d treat them the same as the Viagra ads and delete them – spam is spam.

  7. The hazard for anyone who is trying to self promote is looking like you are self promoting. It is an instant turn off and has the exact opposite of the intended effect. Unfortunately, there are people who do this without even understanding what they are doing. I have a friend who is like this. He is a really good guy, but as soon as he gets around a potential customer, he goes into sales mode. Trying to sell yourself before the other person has even figured out if they like you guarantees that the sales pitch will fall flat. I am his friend and it makes me uncomfortable, I can only imagine the person being pitched to.

    I have taken to simply deleting some comments which are too self promoting. I guess I hope that the person will notice that the comment did not get posted and try and figure out why. If I had a relationship with them I would explain the problem. However, the people who make comments like that rarely develop the relationship first.

  8. Great post! I try to be conscious of what I say when I answer to blogs, forums, tweet, etc. because I not only am representing myself but my employer. So I try to stay professional. Have I slipped? Certainly, I’m human!

    But my peeve? When there’s a discussion group focused on a specific area of sourcing or recruiting and we get random posts – redistribution of unrelated questions, posts on articles not even related to the subject, etc. At first I found it intriguing but not it’s just a tad irritating and I do tend to discount those posters when I see them pop up.


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