Spam comments that told a story and did not appear to be spam did fool me and Akismet, the spam terminator on WordPress. Because they were not just a bunch of dreary keywords, which I guess led back to a dubious site, I actually preferred deleting them. Well, if you are going to delete spam you might as well enjoy it!
Recently the comments thrown up by Akismet are more complimentary. They have been along the lines of “This is a very interesting post, please write more” or “This is a long and worthwhile post. I look forward to reading your next one.” or simply “Please write more”.
Am I flattered?
Do I want to believe they are genuine?
Do I actually think they are genuine?
No.. although some may be, and I don’t delete them all.
Recently I read a blog post by Michel Fortin the well-known copy-writer where he talks about instigating a zero tolerance approach to Fake Friendly Comments. As a well-known authority he receives a lot of genuine comments, and an enormous amount of spam comments which recently have been dressed up as compliments.
Now, thinking about it some more I realise when you first start out to comment on someone else’s blog it is in fact quite difficult to know what to say. You don’t know how the blog writer will respond, and as a normal good natured human you do want to spread good around the world. And despite everything that goes on via the internet, most people are good natured!
So writing a complimentary sentence or two is a natural first step. After all you wouldn’t force your way into some else’s house unless invited in, and caution is an appropriate response.
So the spam writers have been clever. They have in fact caught what happens in real life.. where people do make vague compliments about each other. Whether you are writing or receiving a comment on a blog or getting comments that value your business the easiest ones to write are generally non-specific and broadly complimentary. eg
” I have worked with ABC company for years and they are very good.”
“I would recommend John Smith highly.”
“XYZ company are my first choice”
This is the sort of thing people say in real life. Very often they are the types of comment that my clients think will look good on their website. They may have tried to get something more substantial from their clients, but they have waited a long time. The trouble is these comments don’t look real .. even if they are .. and – even worse – they are not interesting to read.
There are no details, no rough edges, no interesting snippets that bring in some life. Nothing about WHO the writer is, HOW the company has helped, WHAT has changed – with real figures, or real results, WHEN it all took place, or indeed WHY there was a problem at all.
Once some of these details are written down, the vaguely complimentary comment becomes a great deal more lively. It is more interesting to read, and becomes of use to the prospective buyer.
“ABC’s financial knowledge has helped us increase profitability by 12% each of the 5 years we have been in business.”
“John Smith’s design work has allowed us to bring in bigger target customers and position the company more confidently in our sector.”
XYZ have consistently cleaned our offices to a high standard. We have moved to larger premises in Anytown a number of times and they are the number one company we call each time.”
In fact it may be quite a relief to just tell the truth and not have to be complimentary at all!
So too with blogs. While a warm tone is of course preferable as the conversation is more interactive, responding to the meat of the blog post is preferable to a vaguely complimentary sentence.
It also means that your comment looks more authentic and is less likely to be deleted as spam.