Is there ever an appropriate time for a post on negativity?
In January, when the year is young, hopes are high, not then.
Writing your opinion on the Internet takes courage. This makes you vulnerable to people who disagree with you. They may not always word their rebuttals in the most delicate manner.
In the United States, the electoral college is meeting Monday to vote for a president. Whatever happens, emotions that may have calmed since the election will reignite
How will you handle them? Do you have a plan?
Even if you don’t blog about U.S. politics, you might read about them. People might reference them in their comments.
This post will arm you with tips for handling any negativity that comes your way as a blogger.
When I wrote 8 Types of People Who Should Not Be Blogging, a parody that fell flat, I was a new blogger not prepared for the barrage of negative comments I received.
My husband explained that you become vulnerable to criticisms when you “put yourself out there.”
Being thin-skinned, I was unprepared for what I perceived as an attack.
Would I be prepared now? Would you?
Being around negative people affects us adversely. In real time, we can choose to avoid them, but what happens when they bring their negativity to your blog? What is your recourse?
When is a good time to learn how to avoid negativity?
In January, when the year is new and bloggers are full of hope for a successful blog in the new year?
In December, when the holidays roll around and people are full of holiday cheer?
I chose the latter. Hopefully, you are so full of the spirit of your holiday, whatever it may be, you can take the suggestions in this post to fluff off the negativity.
Consider these comments made to an offended blogger:
“Sorry to say, but it’s an on-line diary. Nobody cares what you ate for lunch.”
“To be honest, I’m worried about the quality – the quality of the writing.”
“It’s for amateurs really, it’s not what we do.”
“Most readers don’t want to hear about your kids.”
These comments were shared by a blogger who struggles with symptoms of mental illness:
This climate [the recent United States election] of inappropriate and inaccurate cause and effect impacted me so much I am only now able to write about it.
How Should You Deal With Negative Blog Comments?
- Have a thick skin.
- Diffuse it.
- Ignore some of the negative blog comments you receive.
- Don’t respond right away. You need time for your emotions to cool.
- Don’t respond to everyone. Pick your battles.
- Don’t respond with arrogance. Even if you have conviction your opinion is correct, no one likes someone who sounds like a “know it all”.
- If you do respond, consider the criticism. I read there will be at least 10% of truth in any criticism. If it has any merit at all, see what you can tweak.
- Respond by offering proof. Statistics and credible research will back up your position.
- When you respond, avoid using inflammatory words like”always” and “best.”
- Block the “troll” who criticized you.
- Use the Feel, felt, found technique. It’s called countering. When you counter, you admit the opposing argument. “I understand how you feel, but this is why you’re wrong.”
- Respond with humor. Content writer Dave Choate explains it works for him.
- Don’t argue. People may look at your blog as a safe place to vent. Be flattered.
- Stick with the facts. If you do choose to argue, your arguments will be a whole lot more credible (Janice, link) by stating fact such as statistics. Numbers are irrefutable.
- If you do choose to engage your negative reader, try to communicate instead of defending your position.
- Make your reader feel you understand him or her even if you disagree. Start sentences with “I am hearing you say…”
- Remember the bright side– controversy breeds high page views.
- Be happy about the negative comment— it makes the positive comments look credible.
- Keep the big picture in mind. Are you trying to win an argument, increase page views, or keep your blogging community intact?
- Ask yourself if a negative comment is better than no comment.
- Remember, “the customer is always right.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
- Admit you were just sharing your opinion; you didn’t mean to present it as fact.
- Look upon the negative experience as a learning experience. This is a chance to improve your blog.
- Dismiss them as a “troll,” the name assigned to online hecklers.
- Invite your critic to write a pro/con post with you. Take different sides of an issue you disagree on. I did in my joint post Are High Page Views the Greatest Thing in the World? I was completely outnumbered in my views, but it was fun. People should talk on a blog.
- To quote a Taylor Swift song, “Shake it Off,” and forget about it.
- Assess the situation and use this as a learning experience. If you had a do-over, would you have written whatever it was that provoked your critic?
- Stand up for yourself by defending yourself.
- Don’t let yourself feel victimized. Remind yourself you don’t know the critic in real-time off-line.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. This IS small stuff.
- Remember your response will be read by your blogging community. Take the high road; be the bigger person.
- If you were wrong, and your mistake angered your commenter, admit your error. You don’t want other readers to network against you and have a mass exodus because you were too proud to admit you erred.
- If you made a mistake which provoked the situation, use the strikethrough key.
- If the comment was so inappropriate you don’t want your other readers to see it, delete it.
- Thank the writer for the comments even if they disagreed with your post.
- Argue. Your readers will take sides, and your page views will flow. That’s the stuff of a good blog.
- Don’t argue. Life is too short and you’ll only keep engaging your critic.
- Suggest you “take the matter outside” and write about it away from the blog in an email.
- Try to look at the situation from the critic’s point of view.
- Feel sorry for the critic. Some people need to “get a life”.
- Ignore your critics. You know you’re terrific.
- Set boundaries. How much of this are you going to take?
- Be respectful even if they didn’t make a respectful comment to you. Treat other the way you’d want to be treated.
- Question the critic as to the reason for the criticisms. They may have been trying to get under your skin. If they see you are genuinely interested in their viewpoint, a more civilized dialogue may ensue.
- Console yourself with the fact that you are not alone. You can not please all of the people all of the time. This happens to everyone. Everyone receives negative blog comments.
- Answer the most negative comment first. Get it out of the way.
- Save the best critical comment for last. End on a more positive note so you aren’t irritable.
Sometimes when people get angry, they use swear words to express their emotion.
Should you swear in your response to them?
My immediate response would be absolutely not. You want to be seen as the bigger person, the calmer, level–headed person for your readers.
That all changed when I read Neil Patel’s article “What Effect Does Swearing Have On Your Brand?”
According to Patel, swearing can actually convey confidence and authenticity depending on who your audience is.
My personal feeling is there are more downsides than reasons to swear. You could offend readers and hurt your relationships with them in the long-term. You could hurt your brand as well.
I agree with one of Patel’s commenters. If you are in doubt, don’t do it.
According to Inbound.org‘s moderator, negative comments will always be there because you can’t please everyone. V.A. Hauser, an Inbound user, agrees:
You WILL receive opposition. You WILL receive backlash. From someone, anyone. And that’s okay. You must be willing not only to read alternative opinions but also be willing to recognize that those other opinions may help to change your own. It’s possible. And if you deny that possibility, you are denying yourself growth.
There WILL be people who will go beyond civil critique and who will flat out ridicule you for your opinion. Ignore them. As a marketer, this is a sign of someone who is not and will never be your customer. Let them rant, and move on.
According to Inbound’s Kayle Simpson:
It is impossible to be a writer with an opinion without getting backlash, period.Negative comments are inevitable when you write online. #writers Click To Tweet
Clearly, your options for handling negativity on your blog vary greatly.
Whichever option you pick, keep in mind you are not alone. For example, when you are in your car, and another driver angers you, no one will hear you if you audibly vent frustration. On a blog, the world can hear you.
According to the International Bloggers Association, there are two types of bloggers– the ones that want you to succeed and the bloggers that don’t do to jealousy. Don’t let the latter group bring you down.
The bottom line is to remember to have fun because blogging is, and should remain, fun.
Readers, please share, so bloggers who are exposed to negative comments know their options for dealing with these criticisms.
Have you ever received negative comments? How did you handle them? I look forward to your answer in the comments section.