Here are some guidelines for making effective comment marketing. Seem to make sense - some of the best rules I've seen in this line of research.
Still goes back to ClueTrain Manifesto. Marketers should have that as required reading before they touch the web for their client. (If they want to ruin their own personal reputation, no one can stop them...)
PR 2.0 - Silicon Valley: "Why? Because there are risks….and the stakes are high. This is YOUR reputation. This is your company’s brand. Respect the communities you engage in and they will respect you. The cost of entry is participation and information. The cost of failure, is well, not only embarrassing, but could spark a sharp decline in sales and brand credibility.
Deb Schultz had a great post about it last year that is still a great read.
Here are some tips:
1. Read the blog
2. Read the comments
3. Let it permeate
4. Understand the pain points
5. Know what the hell you’re talking about
6. Be a resource, not a sales person
7. When in doubt, shake it up or say something witty
8. Be consistent
9. Revisit the comments sections you participate in to make sure that things progress naturally
10. Pay attention, as there might be something to learn from the entire discussion for the next time
Update: John Bell posted a very thorough examination of "Who "owns" conversational marketing?" It's a good post that actually should link back to this article. I believe that an easier question to answer is who shouldn't try to own the conversation because, at the end of the day, it is created by and for the people. Most of the worst offenders make-up the majority of all marketers...therefore, we need to bring them into these conversations in order to make an impact."