Everyone’s a critic, and that goes double when it comes to the blogosphere. While you’re not likely to see the often-virulent attacks that characterize YouTube pages and high-traffic media portals, chances are if you have a blog, you’re bound to have some negative comments.
While a lot of criticism can certainly hurt your blog, and while there’s no room for just-plain-rudeness, there are a number of reasons to to welcome some negative feedback in the comments section. Here are five of them.
Negative comments keep you honest.
When you’re struggling to create lots of engaging content on a consistent basis, it’s easy to get lazy with both your sources and your arguments. Enabling comments ensures that in the event you let your quality slip, someone else will be there to call you out—and there are few motivators better than a critical reader.
Negative comments give you a second chance.
Let’s say that thanks to an oversight, or despite your best efforts, you’ve failed to impress one of your readers. Without the ability to comment, that person will probably click away from your blog for good, and you’ll have blown a lead. Turning on comments will keep skeptical readers invested long enough for you to respond and either prove them wrong, or acknowledge a flaw—both of which can demonstrate your professional merits.
Negative comments show you respect your readers.
By allowing negative comments, you’re telling readers that you’re interested in their opinions. By participating in the conversation yourself, you’re showing that you’re willing to step down from your criticism-free ivory tower and engage readers on their level. Either way, you’ll be humanizing yourself—and last I checked, people much prefer to do business with humans.
Negative comments improve your chops.
Responding to comments is a lot different from writing blog posts. In some ways, it’s easier—other commenters, for instance, can provide you with a wealth of ideas to riff on. Nevertheless, commenting requires you to hone the diplomatic and social aspects of your writing, which regular posts rarely require. Responding to negative comments also gives you practice as a critic, which can come in handy for writing about more controversial subjects.
Negative comments give you street cred.
It may sound nasty, but providing quality criticism in the comments of other people’s blog posts can earn you the esteem of your target audience on their own turf and create backlinks to your own writing. Just remember to be as respectful as possible and focus on blogs with lots of readers–otherwise, you’ll look like you’re picking on the little guy. Alternatively, you can also attract the attention of writers you admire by coming to their defense, increasing your chances of getting a valuable plug or a guest post.
Have you had any experiences you’d like to share involving negative comments? Tell us your story in the…er…comments.