When it comes to running a blog for your business, the actual writing of posts is only half the battle. Another fourth is the promotion of posts. So what’s the other 25 percent of blogging? Engaging the readers via comments.
See, blogging isn’t solely about sharing content. The primary purpose of your company blog should be to create conversation with customers, potential clients, and other people involved in your industry. Doing so can be a great PR move.
Now that may seem easy enough, but the truth is that any time you create an open forum for people to be heard…well, let’s just say that you can expect the unexpected. With that being said, you have to have a plan for how you’re going to handle your comments section. There are a lot of variables, and while you are ultimately going to have to evaluate most situations on a case by case basis, you need to have a few basic rules set that you’re going to adhere to.
Some People Turn Comments Off (Spoiler Alert: Bad Idea)
Over the years, I’ve come across multiple companies who have set up blogs on their sites and deliver some pretty useful content. And I’m all for them, until I get to the end of the post with a great idea for a comment, only to find that I don’t get the option to join in on the conversation. In fact, it’s not a conversation at all. It’s just a speech. A one-way monologue, because they turned the comments off. That’s right. They disabled all comments.
How stupid of a move is this? Well, chew on this. I never went back to any of those blogs—and why would I? It defeats the entire idea of blogging. In fact, it just pissed me off. Who are they to think I want to read all their drivel without a way to be heard myself? I can only come up with two things:
- They’re pompous and don’t care what their readers have to say, or…
- They’re scared of what their readers have to say.
If it’s the former, well, they’re going to end up imploding anyway. But if it’s the latter, they simply need to realize that there’s a better way to handle the possibility of negative or wildcard commenters.
What Should You Do with Negative Comments?
I’ll tell you this—in general, the trolls aren’t out looking to sabotage a random business blog, especially if you aren’t some giant, well known company. It’s far more likely that people looking to stir up trouble online are going to search out larger venues with more of an audience so they can get the attention they want. But having said that, there’s still the possibility that you’re going to get someone who will respond negative. Here’s how to handle these instances.
- Airing dirty laundry about a bad experience they had with you—This one is the most tricky, because if you handle it wrong, you could have a PR disaster on your hands. You could delete it, but if the customer has a legitimate beef, this could come back and bite you later. On the other hand, if you address it head on and defend yourself, well then you may look like you’re trying to cover something else to the other readers. However, a public forum is not the place to deal with a personal beef. So you could try to direct the upset commenter to your contact page and have them call you to resolve the issue. But bottom line, you have to squash it one way or the other.
- Disagreeing with your opinion in your post—Relax, this is part of the game. Everyone has an opinion, so don’t be offended. You can either deliver a rebuttal, or post something about how you agree to disagree. But don’t take offense. Instead, embrace and welcome it.
- Posting random junk that no one should have to read on your blog just for the sake of being a jerk—Most likely, a lot of this will get caught by your spam filters. However, as long as you keep on top of your comments, you can delete these comments without a worry.
What it boils down to is that if you’re going to run a successful blog, you’ve got to keep up with it. That means you need to read and respond to the comments. Put on your thickest skin and get ready.
Have you ever dealt with negative comments on your blog? How’d you handle it?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html