For most people, the goal of blogging is to engage others with your content, whether it be your views, news or experience. The successful blogger will not only succeed at articulating this content, but will generate activity on their posts in the form of clicks or comments. While it can be rewarding to know that people are drawn to and are engaging with your content, the feedback you receive may not always be pleasant.
Below are the most common types of negative blog comments:
Stabs - Comments that are obvious attacks on your credibility.
Spam - Inappropriate link dropping, profanity or swears.
Corrections - Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or corrections to facts or figures.
When should I delete a blog comment?
The decision to delete or address an unpleasant comment is the right of the blog author and he or she alone. Personally, I advise not to delete any comment unless it is spam, and most social media and blogging "gurus" would offer the same advice. Still, I can understand how this may be difficult for new bloggers. I remember receiving my first "content stab" and it was a tough choice. I had written an opinion post advocating why we should find passion in our work. It was the essence of why I chose to start writing and ultimately formed the basis of my personal blog. When I received a negative comment on it, my first thought was "Where do I delete this?" To me, the comment was a stain that needed to be cleaned. But then I started to think, shouldn't I be happy someone is reading my post? What will they think if I remove this? Will they tell others? After giving it some thought, I decided to keep and address the comment. After all, transparency and honesty are the keys to building trust in relationships, and isn't that a primary goal of online networking?
How do I address a negative blog comment?
If you've chosen to address the problem rather than delete it- great. My advice to others faced with a negative comment is to determine where the feedback is coming from. Is the commenter a competitor, disgruntled colleague or someone who is trying to discredit your post? Could it be a spammer, a newbie or someone not versed in social media etiquette? Or perhaps it's another subject matter expert who is just trying to help you correct a mistake? Understanding who this person is can help you determine why they may have chosen to leave the comment and help frame your response.
At a minimum, try to do the following:
1) Review your post - Try to see where the commenter is coming from. Read your post from their perspective and see if the comment makes sense.
2) Check your facts - Did you have sources for your facts or figures? Did you remember to give credit where credit is due?
3) Check your tone - Does the post sound helpful or bossy? Oftentimes a critical or negative tone will invite similarly-toned feedback.
If you can come to an understanding where the commenter may be coming from- great. Let him or her know that you understand. It is important to appear diplomatic rather than argumentative. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and there's no harm in understanding the commenter's perspective even if you don't necessarily agree with it.
If the commenter was correcting you, thank them for catching it and taking the time to make a contribution to improve the post. Most of our every-day written accomplishments were created from collaboration and with the help of others.
If the commenter was challenging your facts or figures, cite your sources. Let them know where you're getting your information and cover your bases.
The most important take away from receiving a negative comment on your blog is to not take it personally. Be thankful that others are taking the time not only to read but to interact with your content. There are many blog posts that only have crickets, so if you're receiving comments (good or bad) you're obviously doing something right.