After I’ve read an article or blog, I like to leave a comment by answering a question that the writer may have asked or to thank the writer, especially if what I’ve read has provided me with new information.  Have you ever read comments and found some useful information? Well, I have.  And I’ve found that when readers chime in they can provide great insights and share information that is diverse, helpful, and new to both the author and other readers.

Now, it’s definitely not practical to read every comment.  But reading the first few comments can help you gauge if there’s something interesting there.  And then you can quickly scan the rest by looking for links or a few words in CAPS that may catch your eye, lead you to more helpful tips, or impart new information.

When it comes to reading the comment section here are my payoffs:

  • Learn something that wasn’t in the article: Maybe it’s the tip of the day, job hunting leads, or improving writing skills—whatever it is comments can provide a tremendous amount of information for readers.  And I’ve taken away some fabulous tips too.  I’ve found that reading the comment section of articles is an added bonus because I’ve been lead to other writer’s blogs, websites, and resources by checking out the comments.
  • Twist the dialogue for a new take: Ideas for articles can be found everywhere if you’re in the mindset of looking for them.  The key is to create something fresh.  And reading comments of an article you found worthwhile may provide insights into your next piece – with your own spin, of course.
  • Minimize your own legwork: Sometimes articles can leave you wondering a bit more about a topic.  Before you venture off on your own research read the comments.  Readers may provide you with a good amount of information to help you get started.
  • Share your own perspective and gain new readers of your own: Whether you’re an expert or not, if you took the time to read the article then you may have an opinion or some advice.  Leaving a comment behind may just pique the interest of other readers, and that may in turn draw others to your website.  I know I’ve met some great people online by piping in and leaving behind my two cents.

Do you skip the comment section or do you scope it out in hopes of finding something new?  Think about that hidden pearl of wisdom, it might just be buried in the comments section.