Daimler blog: Reader comment ROI, anyone?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2013/10/06 · 9 comments 20,704 views

in c corporate blogging,c CyTRAP BlogRank

3 questions about blog comments and ROI

When to close comments on the Daimler Blog? CyTRAP BlogRank can help you make better decisions.

  • Should one close the comment thread on a blog post?
  • How can one close comments on older blog posts?
  • ROI (return on investment) to the rescue: Are blog comments worth the trouble?

Keywords: Daimler blog, budget, corporate blog, cost, marketing mix, ROI,  return on investment, strategy, time management

Please answer the questions I pose at the end – I need your feedback to decide.

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1. Comments on corporate blog – when to close?

In 2005, personal development blogger Steve Pavlina decided to close the option for readers to comment, partly because he felt comments can be abusive, useless and might be considered spam.

At the end of July 2012, Greg McFarlane wrote on this topic:

98.2 percent of the comments were effectively meaningless… The remaining 1.8 percent were worthwhile contributions—offering data that challenged a point, or enhancing a position my blog had taken, etc.

Unless we want to just broadcast our news, disabling comments is not an option in todays Web 2.0 world. The challenge is to manage possible comment and trackback spam. Moreover, you must decide how long you will allow comments on your corporate blog.

Should one close commenting on a blog post after a period of one week? Maybe two weeks after publishing the post (see The Independent, which has zero comments for most blog entries, which means zero reader engagement)? Or should we go the Daimler blog route, allowing comments years after the entry was published?

You will have to decide what is best. However, unless you are inundated with spam, keep the commenting option on old blog posts open as most corporate blogs seem to do.

Recommended: Susan Gunelius: 5 ways to identify blog comment spam

2. How to close comments on older blog posts?

In most cases it is worth keeping your comments open, but you have two options to deal with this challenge should it come up, namely:

2.1 Close posts for commenting or trackbacks – indvidually: On WordPress, all you need to do is click on edit post then uncheck allow comments and allow trackbacks and pingbacks.
2.2 Close commenting after a period of time – automatically: In WordPress go to Settings > Discussion > Other comment setting > choose automatically close comments on articles older than X days.
This closes the commenting option, but I advise you go for option 2.1 instead.

Recommended: Amanda DiSilvestro: Should you close comments on older blog posts?      Robert Weller: Warum sich Kommentare für Blogger lohnen
CLICK ON IMAGE - From micro-conversion to macro conversion: Reader comments - number AND quality - depend on how relevant the content is to your key audience and the KPIs (key performance indicators).

3. Costs and ROI for blog comments?

Moderating blog comments takes time and effort on the author’s part. There is nothing worse for the commenter than having things happen, like:

a. Comment gets lost in spam box: False positives happen, whereby the anti-spam plugin labels a comment as spam when it is not. But this is no excuse, because any author worth their salt regularly checks the spam box and gets comments out of there.
b. Delay: Comments should be moderated before being posted, but corporate bloggers should strive to publish these comments within 24 hours. Seems like a long time, but not so much when you take different time zones into account.
c. No answer: If comments are the icing on the cake for the author, you would hope they would reward the reader who took the time to comment with a reply. Most often, blog posts’ quality increases further with comments and subsequent author replies, again making the post more useful for readers. That reader may stop by months after the entry was posted thanks to search results, where your blog entry with all these comments might be placed within the top three.

Frankly, if Accenture gets paid for six of its consultants to monitor UBS’ social media and blogs, moderating and replying to comments in a timely fashion should be no problem. However, outsourcing such work is expensive and never authentic, since consultants cannot represent your organization. Hence, Daimler does it in-house and informs the author of the blog entry that a comment was published. In turn, they likely respond quickly.

Before we can see any benefit (as the graphic above shows, it is a long road to success), we must ensure that all comments we receive are published quickly. Of course, having them end up in the spam box forever is inexcusable. So is failing to reply to a comment over 25 words. Such behavior suggests that we do not appreciate our readers taking the time to contribute to our blog’s content.

Of course, we have to set some goals regarding commenting (see above) before we can reap the rewards and register ROI. And frankly, since Google likes reader comments on blogs, should you not do the same? Therefore, track your corporate blog’s reader comments like the Social Media Examiner. The number of your blog’s readers and quality of their engagement will improve.

Recommended: Urs E. Gattiker: Social media ROI: 3 things we usually do wrong

Source: Daimler blog: Reader comment ROI, anyone?

What is your opinion about corporate blogs and how they should handle comments?
How much time do you spend moderating and answering comments?
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of high-quality reader comments?

Find more on Google about corporate blog, KPI, ROI, metrics, conversation, engagement

Urs E. Gattiker, Ph.D. - CyTRAP Labs - ComMetrics.

The author: This post was written by social media marketing and strategy expert Urs E. Gattiker, who also writes about issues that connect social media with compliance, and thrives on the challenge of measuring how it all affects your bottom line.

His latest book, Social Media Audit: Measure for Impact, appeared in November 2012 (Springer Science Publishers), and he is currently hard at work on the next one.

Connect with ComMetrics on Google+ or the author using: Email | Twitter | | Xing

  • Roberto

    Thanks for this blog post. Really interesting to see how some bloggers close down commenting for their blog post quickly and others do not.
    I suppose @Daimler:twitter is a special case keeping it up for years …. I wonder if these ‘old’ posts get comments 1 or 2 years after they were posted.
    Do you know?

    • http://blogrank.cytrap.eu/ig/4yt/*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear Roberto

      Thanks so much for your comment. Really interesting indeed.

      @toushenne:twitter (Robert Weller) has an opinion about this that he can hopefully share here. Before I start with my comment :-)

      I find comments simply great and as with yours, they are usually helpful and rarely contain spam.

      • http://www.toushenne.de/ Robert Weller

        Yes, older post to still generate comments and I think it’s well worth the effort to curate older posts and start discussion on those, too. If there’s one inparticular it might be worth writing a new post to get the discussion back on top but I wouldn’t close down commenting all together.

        • http://blogrank.cytrap.eu/ig/4yt/*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          @Toushenne:twitter Thanks for writing an answer for Roberto.
          I think it is quite interesting to consider to relaunch discussion about a blog post sometime down the future.
          I have not tried that one but you are right, Robert, it could be worth a try to do this. Of course, I am sure you agree there has to be a reason. Nevertheless, one can ask a question about an issue discussed in an older blog entry in a Google+ or LinkedIn group, for instance.
          @toushenne:disqus thanks for sharing your insights, once again. I truly appreciate you taking the time again to tell us what might work.
          Urs @ComMetrics:twitter

      • Michael Firnkes

        @WebUrs:disqus Thanks for that! Comments can result in new comments even after years, especially if companies offer some kind of “follow that discussion”-function. I often add new aspects to an article as comment, not within the article. And normaly i get response from the subscribers, even if they commented first months or years ago.

        • http://blogrank.cytrap.eu/ig/4yt/*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

          Dear @f5a4afde2886fd80e7e7364dcb4dc012:disqus
          Thanks so much for your reply. We surely agree on keeping comments open as long as practically feasible.

          Interesting is when people use the “follow that discussion” function in WordPress or subscribe to getting new comments (as used by Disqus)
          What I found interesting is that you update blog posts sometimes using commenting.
          I use Update to do this in the blog post itself such as at the top:
          Update 2013-10-10: update about, see bottom of blog post for details…

          I wonder if anybody can tell me what is more advantageous, putting updates in with comments or within the blog post? Any opinions readers @blogprofis:twitter ?

  • http://www.toushenne.de/ Robert Weller

    Hello Urs, interesting approach to corporate blog commenting. I personally wouldn’t close down commenting in general, since one ore comment on any article is still a bonus for blogging companies. Depending on their technology this comment shows up on other pages and (new) readers see that this blog is being actively commented. That’s what we strive for, isn’t it? Building up an active community and motivating new participants to join in.

    Where’s the benefit of closing comments? Just to motivate people to comment faster? Honestly?

    I’d be pissed if I read my way through a great article and felt like I NEEDED to comment just to see that commenting is prohibited…

    • http://blogrank.cytrap.eu/ig/4yt/*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

      Lieber @toushenne:disqus
      Thanks for your comment. I agree, it is unfortunate if one visits a blog post – great one – only to discover that commenting has been closed.
      Matter of fact, happened to me just recently. I wanted to write a coment. But seven days after publication the company had decided to close down the commenting feature for that post.
      I also find it unfortunate if companies decide to not allow commenting on some posts but do permit it on others.
      Like you, @toushenne:twitter I feel that comments add vinegar and spice to a blog post.
      Comments also show that readers care about what you do on the blog so why stop when one has a good thing going.

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