The little blog comment that made it to print in the Harvard Business Review

HBR CoverSometimes, even those of us who “do” social media for a living become a little jaded after hearing so much unqualified talk, hyperbole and cheer-leading. It comes with the territory, I suppose. After a few big wins, it takes just a bit more to get me really excited. But David Armano and the Harvard Business Review have done exactly that, and I’m incredibly honored. In this month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review (print edition), you’ll find a blog comment of mine reprinted on page 22, followed by David’s response. The comment (one of 92 on the post!) was originally left on his thoughtful post Six Social Media Trends for 2011, and led to a meaty little discussion between David, myself and other HBR.org readers.

HBR comment

The thread, and the guidance it lent to my planning of Bazaarvoice’s 2011 social media strategy, was extremely valuable in and of itself. But the fact that the editors of one of the most respected business publications in the world found it worthy of another look reinforced my belief in the power of blog comments, in particular, as a means of being seen and heard by those that are otherwise difficult to get in front of. Comments also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in a low-intensity, conversational manner. In a way, they’re even a means of guest blogging on top sites without having to make it through the various gatekeepers that guard their content. As if to illustrate my point, the link in the second sentence of this paragraph is to a piece that I originally sent to HBR as a guest post–I didn’t hear back (though I was thrilled Brian Solis ran it on his blog).

The first time my commenting strategy was publicly validated, I was in an entirely different role in an entirely different industry. But the importance of blog comments to relationship building–still the main reason I do it–hasn’t changed at all.

What is your commenting strategy? What results have you seen?

Ian Greenleigh
Author | Turning data into stories | Sr Mgr, Content & Social Strategy, Bazaarvoice | Former baby
  • http://hauntedbymarketing.posterous.com Lori Witzel

    Hi Ian – Alas, I have no commenting strategy. I can see now I need to address that. :-)
    But I do have a commenting pattern: if I see something that sparks happy interest, I want to join the fun and play. And if the surrounding threads and posts have a low flame-noise-to-conversation-signal ratio, I usually do.
    The results I’ve seen from my pattern?
    I’ve e-met a wide variety of people in a wide variety of disciplines who think interesting thoughts about things that matter to me: marketing, applied creativity, history, BBQ. In some cases, we’ve become IRL friends.
    Thanks for making me think a little differently about the role and place for comments — while I’ll indulge myself with my pattern, I’ll try out a more strategic approach as well.
    (Like, for example, this comment.)

  • Ian Greenleigh

    Hi Lori-

    Sounds like you’re doing well already with your commenting. I don’t aim to tell people to be more calculating in their approach–the comment of mine that sparked this post was left simply because I had something to say about a post I enjoyed. I do, however, think that when we fully understand the value of commenting, we’ll want to apply a bit of a strategic twist on what we already do.

    Thanks for your comment :-)

  • http://wesleyfaulkner.com Wesley Faulkner

    That is very cool. Kind of meta for me to comment on a blog post that is talking about a comment, but hey. :)

  • Ian Greenleigh

    But my comment on your comment about a blog about comments is even more meta.

  • http://www.SandySpeaks.com Sandy Harper

    Hi Ian ~

    Well, I HAD to comment on your post about making comments!!

    Thanks for the reminder of why it’s so important to connect with people after you read their words. In our busy, busy world we sometimes forget to do that and connecting is really what it’s all about at the end of the day!

    Like Lori, I have no concrete strategy. I will make it a point, from now on, to not just click away after reading a good article, like I’ve done in the past. Thanks again!

    I’m a big fan of social media. Thanks to the smaller world we live in, my story was included in SXSW Pokes with some very cool people… like you! I’m hoping we can all get together and meet IRL one day!

    Congrats on your inclusion in WBR. That’s awesome!

    With Gratitude ~

    Sandy Harper :-)

    • Ian Greenleigh


      Apologies that this took so long to approve and respond to–I’ve been busier than at any other time in my life (our annual event is coming up April 4-6). I love that my post was a discovery for you that will augment your existing strategy. Comments should never be forced, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make a conscious effort to leave them. Thanks!