How to transform your online comments into a branding tool

One fast and easy way to brand yourself as an expert in your field is to comment on news articles online.

Here’s one example from a social network site for hypnotherapists. A member named Bill Kennedy added a blog post that discussed food aversions brought on by traumatic childhood incidents. The blog post was inspired by an article in Bill’s local paper, “Hate beets? Maybe you need therapy for childhood food trauma.”

Bill posted the following comment on the newspaper’s website, under the username “WRKennedy”:

“Any hypnotherapist could help a client with this kind of aversion in a single session by removing the emotional link to that food. It would be very similar to a fast-phobia cure.”

Bill’s impulse to participate, and promote his profession, was right on–but here are a few suggestions that would have made his comment more effective as a marketing and branding tool. These tips apply anytime you comment on articles online in a professional capacity.

Marketing Tip: Comment on Articles for Branding and Positioning1. If you’re commenting with the goal of branding yourself as an expert and/or promoting your business, register to comment using the exact name of your business, or your full name.

“WRKennedy” could be anybody (or anything). How about “BillKennedy,” since that’s the screen name he uses in other social media related to hypnosis. Or, if that wasn’t available, “TorontoHypnotherapist” or something similar?

2. If the website allows you (or requires you) to create a profile in order to comment on stories, take advantage of that opportunity to promote your business and detail your expertise and training. Add your professional photo if the site allows. Bill hadn’t completed his profile, so when you click on the name “WRKennedy,” you get a blank page.

3. Use the comment to identify yourself, identify your business, position yourself as an expert, and then add value to the discussion. For example, here’s a comment that would have done all that:

“In my Toronto hypnotherapy practice, I’ve helped dozens of people who have phobias or food aversions. Phobias are, by definition, irrational–not controlled by the conscious mind. Hypnotherapy allows us to reach the subconscious mind–where traumatic emotions are stored–and break the link between the food or object and the stored traumatic emotions. With hypnosis, we can usually eliminate a phobia or food aversion in one session.”

4. Consider your audience and stay away from “insider” jargon. Bill’s mention of the “fast-phobia cure”—a commonly-used NLP technique—makes sense to the other members of the hypnosis social network where he published his blog article. But that term means nothing to the potential clients who may read his comments on the newspaper’s website. It’s too “inside baseball” for the newspaper’s general readership. (And what’s NLP? It’s something that all marketers should be aware of. Here’s a great introduction to it.)

You can easily find articles related to your profession by setting up a Google News alert.

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