What to Do With a Bad Comment

There’s a way to handle criticism. Sometimes it means ignoring it. Other times it can mean engaging. Choose wisely.

It can ruin your day. It can get you off track. The bad comment that comes back on your content from a reader or onlooker is meant to hurt and it does.

When you are growing an audience, it is impossible to please everyone. There are always going to be naysayers mixed in with the true fans. Their comments can hit you like a rock if you are unprepared for the byproduct of growing success. Everyone who is seeking to engage an audience and stand out faces this problem.

And this is where the trap lies. If you ignore feedback, then you might continue with bad practices.

If you try to please everyone, then you end up pleasing noone.

Critics have a role, but one of them is not to dull your message or position. In fact, if you don’t have critics, it is likely because you are boring. And being boring means you do not stand out. You are a commodity.

On the other hand, you do want to get better. You want to be valuable and respected. Heeding great advice can help sharpen your message and elevate your game.

Listen But Don’t Relent

When you start to receive the inevitable bad comments, remember that this is a good sign in its own way. Someone cared enough to comment. They are paying attention. It mattered enough.

Attention is extremely difficult to attain and keep. Engagement is even harder. Having someone that reads your content and thinks about it means there is a connection that is occurring on a deeper level. This is where you want your message and work to live. It needs to matter enough to break through the noise.

Hearing praise along the way is encouraging and is a good signal to keep going.

But hearing criticism is also a great signal to make adjustments. It’s a data point that offers feedback. When someone is saying that they don’t believe what you are saying, then you have the challenge to think about where you stand. Perhaps you need to be better at persuading others. Or you may need to work harder at clarifying your message.

If someone does not find your content relevant, then you have to examine whether this person represents others that are outside your target audience or if they are exactly who you want to work with. If they are outside, then their viewpoint has some weight, but not nearly the same as someone that matters.

If they are part of your ideal customer base, then you have to make adjustments. They are not saying that they are not engaged. They are saying that they either disagree or want better.

Bad comments accompany success. However, if you are not careful, you can dilute what you have worked so hard to build. If you are making 99% of your audience happy but you are so emotionally jilted by that 1%, then you might end up pleasing the wrong people.

Ultimately, your thought leadership means having conviction about what you are about and how you can help people specifically. This kind of conviction has a double-edged effect. It attracts and it repels. Better being in this position than being ignored.

So, welcome bad comments and be sure to look at them as part of the mix of building a brand and authority with an audience. They are road signs that should be heeded wisely and ignored when necessary.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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