Take the common-sense approach to overcome negativity

Don't cry! It's not so bad...Blogging is generally a fun activity, as we get to have our say in an online environment, where our readers are supportive and provide positive feedback – GENERALLY. However, there’s always the risk of offending someone with your comments and receiving hurtful comments in return. Li Evans of Search Marketing Gurus recently wrote a very interesting blogpost, titled “How to get over the Ouch Syndrome in blogging”.

In it, she states that ‘no one likes to hear “bad” things about themselves’. (True.) She adds that there is always a detractor somewhere, and in the aim of helping sensitive bloggers out there roll with the punches, she compiled a helpful list of factors for new bloggers (whether private or corporate) to keep in mind, based on tips from a recent Twitter chatgroup and from Linkspiel.com – I have paraphrased these tips below:

1. Grow a thick skin
This is key to becoming a successful, carefree blogger. Evans states that blogging naturally attracts emotions of all kinds, and to think things through before respond to any negative comments.

2. Don’t engage or feed) the trolls
Evans says it is a good idea to try and pick out who are your customers with a few complaints from the constant complainers and what she names ‘avid troll’ (Trolls, apparently, have a limited scope of view, and most only see the world through their own tunnel vision of how they demand the world to work. Therefore if you don’t meet their expectations – as unrealistic as they may be – you’ll immediately be slandered). Understanding this difference will determine whether you should take the comments to heart or merely brush them off.

3. Allow comments on your blog
It can be quite tempting to take the ‘ostrich approach’ of posting your messages out there, and not allowing your readers to respond, but keep in mind that one of the innate qualities of blogging is that it is meant to encourage debate. People are, in general, nice at heart and will only comment to point out their opinions and motivate you to do more research into your topics. Keep the communication channels open!

4. Post a comment and trackback policy prominently on your blog
This is very important. Evans says corporate blogs in particular should have a clearly posted policy on the types of comments and trackbacks expected – for example, that you will not accept vulgar; sexist or racist comments, or personal defamatory attacks. Simple common sense.

5. Don’t moderate for negative comments
A tricky one – Evans says to allow negative comments to appear on your blog (do not simply moderate and delete!) As this will get your blog to be taken more seriously. Would you trust a blog where every single comment was flowery and positive? I think not. If you do receive a negative comment, take a deep breath and try to address the issue at hand – the commenter will most likely appreciate the effort, as they know how easy it would have been to simply ignore the negativity – and if you DO ignore the comment, they are likely to turn elsewhere with a wider audience, such as HelloPeter.

6. Admit when you are wrong
Also key. Honesty is the best policy, afterall. Evans says that by admitting you were in the wrong, you gain the respect of your audience, as well as their loyalty. Remember that we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Therefore, when you show you are ‘in the wrong’, it adds to your believability, which enhances your trust factor – trust me. :)

These are all very common-sensical, but it’s easy to fall into depressed mode and forget your logic when confronted with any form of negativity or the aptly named ‘ouch factor’. Chin up!

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