Imagine this…you just finished writing one of your favorite blog posts of all time. You were authentic and funny and full of good information. But, you come back a few days later and read the comments and there’s one comment that sticks out like a thorn. It’s negative and hurtful and you find yourself in tears. You can’t stop re-reading your post in a new and negative light. You keep thinking why did I choose to share this, why didn’t I catch that grammatical mistake, and why am I even blogging at all.
We’ve all been there…
Blogging comes with a certain level of vulnerability. We’ve all experienced negative comments on our blogs or facebook walls, but the negativity doesn’t have to leave you in tears. So how do you protect yourself and handle negativity?
The thing is, negativity is never comfortable, especially when it comes to our blogs and businesses. And, dealing with negative people isn’t easy, but there are a few things you can do to help you reframe the negativity and regain your confidence.
Read below for the 5 tools you can use when encountering negativity:
REALIZE THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Here’s a good rule of thumb to remember. It’s not about you. What drives someone to write a negative comment can be a ton of different things. Maybe they had a bad day, got into a fight with their husband, or their kids were not cooperating. Negative comments are often made out of someone’s own struggle or frustration or anger and misdirected at you. When you read your comments with the understanding that it is more about them than you, then it’s much easier to let go of the negativity.
LISTEN TO THE NEGATIVE
As tough as it may be, negative comments can have some powerful insight as to where you can do better. These subtle or not so subtle messages are often the key to discovering issues, like grammar mistakes, misrepresented facts, etc, while there’s still time to correct them.
Negative comments can also help you pinpoint where whatever technology you use might not be working correctly. For example, if someone purchases something from you and they receive the wrong thing or an error link, you can course-correct and fix the issue and also de-bug any future problems that could have negative effects on your entire business.
DIFFUSE THE SITUATION
There are always two sides to every debate, and while you aren’t necessarily debating through your blog posts, your writing does show your unique worldview. When someone disagrees with your view, there’s a surefire way to diffuse the situation. All you need to write is, I hear where you are coming from. When you acknowledge that commenter’s point of view (whether you agree or not) it makes them less likely to keep up the negativity and leaves little room for a cycle of negative comments to continue.
TAKE IT AS A SIGN YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT
You can’t be all things to all people, nor should you want to be. If your goal is to please everyone and offend no one, then you are committing yourself to a message so boring and vanilla that no one will actually be interested. And who wants that? If, on the other hand, you want to grow a tribe of raving fans, you must also accept the fact that some people will not like what you have to say.
When we’re writing from an authentic and vulnerable place, we’re sometimes polarizing, and that’s okay! When someone is consistently unkind about your message, then your message might not be right for them. Go back to your original avatar, and keep in mind that specific person that you’re blogging to. That avatar is YOUR person! So be okay with turning a few people off and letting those people go, because they weren’t your people to begin with.
SQUASH THE NEGATIVITY
Have you heard of the term, “cowboys?” Much like trolls, virtual cowboys are people that consistently spread negativity about you or your business. These people follow you from your website to your blog, to your social pages, and constantly harass you. When you encounter a cowboy, it’s definitely time to squash the negativity. There are two courses of action you can take on your website versus social media:
It’s okay to delete negative comments posted on your blog. Those negative comments can harm your SEO, So it’s actually important to delete them before they cause trouble. And don’t feel like you need to offer the commenter an apology or explanation for your content unless the comment addresses a real technological issue.
If you have a closed group, make sure to start the group by setting expectations for behavior. You can write this in a post and pin it to the top of the group. The expectations can be common sense things, like no-self promotions, no bashing other members or your team. You want to try and maintain the group’s sense of community and keep it as a safe space for the members.
That being said, if someone is not respecting the community guidelines, give one warning and don’t feel like you need to respond! If anything, your loyal fans will have your back and respond to the negative commenter themselves. If your first warning is ignored, then delete the person and ban them from your group.
In the end, as uncomfortable as it sometimes feels, a little hate might actually be a good thing, because it means that what you are doing is getting noticed. Not only can negativity help you fine tune your customer service, it can also help you hone in on who your audience really is!
At the end of the day, a little hate is a sign you are doing something right, not wrong, so make sure to take the negativity with a grain of salt and keep on blogging!