Welcome to another edition of Top 10 Tuesday, a semi-regular series introducing you to some of the finest bloggers around, my fellow winners of a Top 10 Blogs for Writers award.
This week, meet Ollin Morales from Courage 2 Create. At his blog, Ollin chronicles his journey as he writes his first novel.
Take it away, Ollin:
When you’re a blogger, you can’t help escape the fact that no matter how great your content is, no matter how good of a person you are, and no matter how noble your intentions can be, sooner or later you are going to rub someone the wrong way—and that someone is going to come to your blog and slap you with a negative comment.
That’s why it’s important that you learn how to deal with a negative comment in a productive, positive way, or else you might risk letting that comment become one of the biggest downers of your week.
The Difference Between A Constructive Comment and A Negative Comment
It’s important to point out the difference between what I am going to call a “constructive” comment (which is always a good thing) and what I’m going to call a “negative” comment (which is never a good thing).
A constructive comment may illustrate a point of disagreement reached through the use of logic and reason; it can call you out for a factual mistake you have made; or it can seek to elaborate a point that your reader feels might be misunderstood.
On the other hand, a “negative” comment is just that: a shot of negativity thrown your way that often times has no rhyme or reason behind it.
A negative comment is filled with a toxic energy that you can almost feel coming at you from behind the words.
Whereas the intention of a “constructive” comment is to enlighten and improve, the intention of a “negative” comment is to confuse, throw you off balance and—sometimes—tear you down.
How to Turn A Negative Comment Into A Positive
So, you’ve received a negative comment. Congratulations! You’re a real blogger now.
But, you wonder, how can I turn this negative comment into a positive? Here’s how:
1. Reflect Your Best Self
Don’t forget: everyone is watching you.
When you’re a blogger you have to remember that your discussion is not happening in a secret cave in the middle of nowhere.
No, it’s more like your discussion is happening in one of those police interrogation rooms where there’s just you, the negative commenter, and a one-sided mirror on the opposite wall. You know that there are a lot of people on the other side of that mirror watching and listening to everything you say—you just don’t know exactly WHO is listening at any given time.
For instance, you don’t know whether the guy on the other side of that one-sided mirror is just a rookie, or the Police Chief himself.
Why take a risk, then?
Here’s what you should do:
Even if it may not be true, assume that your boss—or your next boss—is reading your blog and seeing how you handle this negative commenter.
Then act the way you would act if your boss were on the other side of that mirror, watching your every move.
2. Try To See It From Their Point of View
I know this is hard, especially when you are being unfairly attacked, but—I hate to break it to you—this is part of being a professional blogger.
You need to try to see the issue from the commenter’s point of view. Even if it is a stretch, still, try to find a point of mutual understanding.
3. Act Quickly
If you find ANY reason why your negative commenter has a point, then you should address the issue right away. Then, after you have addressed the issue, let the commenter know, and apologize for the misunderstanding or mistake.
This move should cool things off enough for the commenter to back down.
However, if after you corrected the mistake, your commenter continues to attack you, then maybe it’s time to take the discussion “outside” of the blog.
4. Take It “Outside”
If you have made contact with this negative commenter outside of your blog (i.e., e-mail) you should ask to hold a private conversation with them outside of the blog.
At this point, you are no longer in an interrogation room, so you can relax, but you should still remain professional.
First, tell them how their negative comment has affected you.
Although they may not want to see things from your point of view, you have every right to let the commenter know that their negative comment has hurt you.
If you feel hurt then there is no need to doubt that the commenter has said something to hurt you. You have every right to voice your feelings and demand to be treated with fairness. You can say something like:
“Maybe you didn’t mean to hurt me, but what you said made me feel THIS WAY, and I didn’t appreciate it.”
This gives the negative commenter one final chance to recognize the wrong they have committed and ask you for your forgiveness.
If they recognize their wrong and apologize, then it turns out this was just a small blip in the relationship. Maybe the commenter was just having a terrible day and took it out on you without thinking about it.
If, however, your negative commenter stubbornly refuses to see that they have done anything wrong, then I’m afraid it’s time for the both of you to go your separate ways.
5. Go Your Separate Ways
Although it might not feel like it, you have done an EXCELLENT job of dealing with the negative commenter. You have managed to keep your moral high ground, covered all your bases professionally, and also asserted your right to be treated fairly.
Unfortunately, it is now clear that this person is NOT a commenter you want to have around anymore.
You’re a good person who works hard and you don’t deserve to be met with negativity on you blog.
It’s time to halt all communication with the negative commenter, put them on all your blacklists, and move on.
You might even go as far as moderating your comments from now on, like I have done.
6. Shine Brighter Than Before
As I said before, the negative commenter’s ultimate goal is to throw you off balance. So, if you allow them to topple you then you are letting them win.
DON’T let them win.
Show your negative commenter that they haven’t achieved their aim by making a big move–in a positive direction.
Take that big step to finally monetize your blog, or offer new and better services to your readers. You can make a new goal to double the amount of guest posts you write, or take a risk by reaching out to those big players in your niche.
Then, as you grow and become wildly successful because of your new efforts, you’ll smile inside knowing that some big bad villain at their laptop somewhere is crying because their diabolical plan to ruin you and all the good you stand for has failed—big time.
At that point you could pat yourself on the back.
Congratulations! You have successfully turned that negative comment into a HUGE positive.
Have you ever received a negative comment from someone?
How did you handle it?