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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : January 28, 2009

How to manage negative comments on blogs

Company blogs are valuable tools for developing a dialogue with consumers, building a brand and disseminating information. But marketers need to know that by entering into such a conversation with consumers they must deal with mixed emotions from their audience.

by Helen Leggatt

What do you do when you are alerted to a negative comment on your blog? Do you have a response strategy in place or is the way it's handled based on an emotional or knee-jerk reaction?

The way you handle negative comments on your blog will demonstrate, to the commenter and blog readers, your company's integrity and transparency. To that end it is imperative that the comment is not deleted, or ignored. In fact, negative commenters are often seeking acknowledgement and empathy, and a well thought out response can 'mend' and advance the relationship.

So what key elements are required in a response to a negative blog post? Firstly, ensure the wording is positive, considered and gracious. Never be tempted to fire off a one liner or tit-for-tat rebuttal. Far from shunning or arguing with the commenter, begin a dialogue.

1. Acknowledge them; let the commenter know that their concerns have been taken seriously.

2. Thank them; make it clear that you welcome negative feedback to cultivate an environment of transparency on the blog.

3. Involve them; if not already offered, ask the commenter for their thoughts on solutions or alternatives and provide ways in which they might contact you off the blog.

4. Welcome them; having already invested time and effort in providing a comment on the blog, encourage them to stick around and continue to contribute.

In another situation, and on blogs where readers are engaged and active, you may find that others on your blog will answer the negative commenter's concerns for you. Don't use this as an excuse not to reply, show you are listening.

Tags: blogs, commenters, dialogue, feedback, negative comments, transparency

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