Back in the day, when questions were asked about how to interact with bloggers and how generally to interact on blogs, I always told audiences and clients that it will serve you very well to be an intelligent contributor to conversations on wine blogs.
This holds true today as very often consumers and trade mingle at various wine blogs and your presence there can not only introduce folks to you and what you offer, but can convince them you have something of substance to offer a conversation as well as a parched throat.
However, there always were and there still are good rules of thumb to follow when interacting on a blog as a commentator or interacting on any forum on the net.
1. Don’t Flog Your Own Wine or Winery (Or Service or Product)
It will come as a surprise to no one reading your comment that you think your own wine is fantastic. There is no good reason to remind them of this.
2. Don’t Try to Hide Your Affiliation With A Winery When Breaking Rule #1
What are the odds people reading your comments won’t discover you are just flogging your own brand? Really? Who puts down $1 on a bet in the hopes of making 10 cents back? It’s not a good bet. Folks will find you out and think less of you. And there’s no good in that.
3. Always Use A Signature in Your Blog Comments
The signature is that little thing that is usually always added automatically at the end of your comments that has your name and your affiliation with a link to the web page of your affiliation. That’s all you need to do to identify who you are and bring a little attention to what you do. If the signature isn’t added as a result of you registering with the blog or their commenting system, then manually add it yourself.
4. Think Before You Write
What you write is probably permanent and it’s likely your grandchildren will be able to read it when they are researching you on the interwebs of the future. So, basically, don’t be stupid. If you have nothing intelligent to add, don’t add anything.
5. Be Timely in Your Comments
Unless you really MUST have your say on a blog, try not to comment on a blog post that is old. Try instead to comment soon after the article is posted on the blog when the most people will be reading it.
6. Be Prepared to Follow Up.
If you comment, for example, that “Natural Wine is the Devil’s Juice” or something else equally provocative or controversial, be prepared for responses and be prepared to respond. Responding to comments on your comments is not only another opportunity to make yourself visible, but it’s a common courtesy. Don’t be a hit and run commenter. Oftentimes blogs will allow you to subscribe to comments, meaning you’ll get an email when someone else comments on the post. Use this service if you’ve commented and if it is available. Otherwise, look in on the post every couple of hours for the next day or so.
7. Be VERY Judicious Adding Links in Your Comment
It’s considered somewhat bad form to place a link in a comment that takes a reader of the blog away from the blog. However, if you absolutely must add a link to an outside source 1) make sure it is relevant to the conversation and 2) that it isn’t a self serving plug. An example of a self serving plug looks like this. “Oh, and by the way, I wrote about this subject on our very own TOM WARK ESTATE WINERY blog just two years ago…Please go read it.”
These rules apply not only to blogs, but also to the various community and discussion forums that serve the wine community and wine geeks who exist across the Net, as well as to commenting on news articles that allow the practice. The point is to make your point, make yourself known and not to make an ass of yourself and your company.