Dealing with Negative Comments in Content Marketing

It's happen to every personal or company blog at some point in time in content marketing. Someone leaves a nasty comment. The person disagrees with what you've said, or feels wronged by you in some way. So wrong that they have to comment and let you know. How do you deal with the comments, especially if the comment (or parts of it) makes attacks on you and not your words? I'm going through something similar myself with my piece on circumcision, and can provide a few tips on how to deal with negative comments. First, only on the rarest of occasions should you ignore them or delete them. Unless the comment is offensive, or is simply meant to hurt people, then take the time to respond to that comment. And TAKE YOUR TIME. Just because the commenter wrote in a rage, doesn't mean that you should too. Focus on the commenter's words, and respond to those, not to any jabs against you. Avoid making personal attacks or "gotcha" statements in an attempt to make the commenter look bad. It's not professional, and doing so will only make you look as bad as the person who posted the comment. If the commenter has already written some illogical arguments or has behaved poorly, that already reflects upon him/her. There's no reason to pile on.

Second, be open to changing your position. By that, I mean give the commenter a chance to prove his/her point and provide evidence. Sure, defend yourself, but don't write off the commenter as a buffoon, even if the comment demonstrates otherwise. This can calm things down a little, and maybe open up the opportunity for a civil discussion. That's what happened with my circumcision piece. I gave the commenter a chance to provide evidence to support his/her point, and since then we've been back and forth via Twitter. Turns out, the commenter is part of an activist group that wants to eliminate circumcision. That deserves some credit. It's kind of like customer service. You don't just accept that you've angered a customer. You try to work with them to improve the experience and their perception of you and your business. It doesn't always work, but if it does, then that's a bonus!

Third, look at the positives. By responding to negative comments in a civil manner, that shows that you, as the author, are paying attention to the comments and care about them. This could encourage more comments, especially ones that may refute or support the negative commenter. More comments mean more page views, meaning more exposure for you. This is great if the site happens to pay by page views in any way. After all, even if you end up deleting the negative comment because it was inflammatory, that's one more page view for you.

Fourth, don't take them personally. Don't let the negative comments get you down, even if they are personal attacks. These people probably haven't met you before and, therefore, they don't have any grounds for these attacks. Plus, the only way to prevent negative comments is to stop writing entirely, and that's hard to do if you write for a living or even write as a hobby. So, the best thing to do is to learn to take them in stride, and to learn to deal with them civilly and professionally.

Overall, if you blog online, whether for work or for fun, negative comments are something that's going to happen, no matter what you write about. Of course, it's more likely to happen if you write about controversial topics, but you never know what might anger a reader enough to leave a negative comment. Now, you can be prepared with these simple tips.