Blog Comments: How to Handle Negative Comments

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from people before they start blogging is: what do I do about negative or inapproriate comments? My answer, in a nutshell, is “don’t worry, comments are your friend.”  Well, I don’t say exactly that, but it’s true. 

On the webcast I did for Wells Fargo last week, this question came up once again from a viewer. And then, the same day, we got an email from someone who had read our new white paper on online marketing challenges, about how to deal with negative comments.

One question that I’m struggling with right now is how to deal with the tails [trolls], i.e. how to avoid that people don’t become too aggressive/abusive in their comments to blogs.

Here’s how Patsi responded:

 You have the ability to moderate comments. When someone is aggressive, or abusive, or misuses your blog to blatantly promote themselves, simply delete the comment.

When you get negative comments or feedback, however, this is an opportunity to open up the discussion, as long as everybody is respectful. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and it seems everybody has one… it’s up to you how you handle them, but often it’s an opportunity to further explain your company and its mission, or you and your professional views. It’s an opportunity for you to gain their trust and respect.

Of course, it’s your blog and you are in charge.

Our collegue Lena West of xynoMedia, riffed on this subject as well after viewing the webcast.  Her advice about how to deal with negative comments is important to read.

The bottom line is this: only 1-2% of your comments will be negative, if that many. Comments are an opportunity for you to connect with your readers, to state your case, to build rapport.  Commenting is one of the features that make blogs interactive and intesting.

Embrace comments; solicit them; respond to them.