Denise posted this week over at Build a Better Blog about negative comments. It’s amazing how many professionals express this fear. I’m reminded of the old Hollywood press agents’ response about "any press is good as long as they spell your name right."
Of course, if you really want to avoid people saying anything negative about you or your business, all you need to be is bland. Or try to be perfect. Or never express a strong opinion. In other words, be boring.
On the other hand, if you want readers to pay attention to what you have to say, write with passion and purpose: be strong. Take a risk and say something controversial.
Yesterday I expressed doubt about the effectiveness of email newsletters in today’s email environment, yet nobody responded.
So what? I probably don’t get hordes of vociferous commenters to this blog anyway, but that doesn’t stop me from making a strong statement that has many sides to it.
Lord knows, I love ezines and have built a business providing customized newsletters for consultants. I don’t want them to stop. But if blogging or white papers are more effective, then I want to be among the first to announce it.
Our business blogging clients often complain about lack of comments to their blogs, and I say: "When’s the last time you came out with a bold statement and dared readers to disagree or take a side?"
If you’re afraid of negative comments, then maybe you shouldn’t be blogging. Try to find a place where you can hang out and be perfect, or bland, or boring.
Here’s an excerpt from an excellent post I found on How to Avoid Negative Comments by British blogger Mark White:
From a company perspective:
Be mediocre – successful companies appear to polarise opinion and will always generate some negative feelings as well as all the positive ones. Just look at Microsoft and Google. To avoid encouraging negative sentiments which might then be expressed on your blog, avoid success like the plague and concentrate on remaining steadfastly average.
Supply faultless products – ensuring that your products never fail or break will cover you against any possible negative comments that might come from customers who expect that when they buy a product, it should work for life. Their life, that is … not the product’s.
Provide perfect service – we’re talking here about not only customers but suppliers, partners and staff too. This should make certain that people don’t need to resort to using your blog to ask service or support questions – in fact, hopefully they won’t really need to contact you at all or clog up your nice call centres.
From a blog perspective:
Avoid expressing an opinion – there is nothing worse than opinions to get people’s backs up and there’s also a high risk that someone, somewhere will disagree with them. You may find that sharing information carries these same risks as it opens the door for dialog and discussion.
Make your posts as bland as possible – by reporting little of relevance or interest in your blog, you will successfully be reducing the number of people reading it. An added bonus is that nobody is likely to make the effort to engage in conversation by posting comments, positive or negative. Longer-term strategy but still very effective.
Hide your blog – let’s face it, if people can’t find your blog then they are unlikely to react negatively to anything in it. This can either be done actively or passively: actively should involve regularly changing permalinks to break those unwanted inbound links, while passively you can simply sit back and steadfastly refuse to admit that the blog exists.