Negative Comments Aren’t Negative – Ya Jerk

Negative comments

We’ve all received a comment or two that was at best not so positive and at worst downright evil. It’s only human nature to become defensive when it comes to negative comments but are these comments really a bad thing?

My theory is that controversy is interesting. People love controversy, this can be witnessed by any number of examples in everyday life. Take a look at (gag) Britney Spears for example. More revenue is generated due to people following her ridiculous antics than some entire countries Gross Domestic Product.

Britney is an economy unto herself. Dennis Rodman, Madonna, Howard Stern and a host of others only serve to show you how much success moderate talent combined with a lot of controversy might bring.

Uhh So What?

So what does this have to do with negative comments on your blog? Well nothing and everything at the same time. If you are one of those who are unfortunate enough to NOT receive a lot of negative comments then this might be the best blogging tip you would ever get, if you keep reading.

Let’s take a look at the evil John Chow. He’s one of the most successful bloggers of all time, at least if you use revenue as an indicator of success. You cannot read the comments section of ANY of his posts without having some little sniper take a shot at him in some way, shape or form.

I have a theory that negative comments can be inspired by not only controversy but Success. Jealousy is the root of all evil and that shows itself in almost any negative comment you ever read. So in reality, what you are looking to get, what you should be hoping to receive…are negative comments.

They are a sure sign that you are either writing controversial content (aka interesting) OR you have achieved enough success that people are jealous of your efforts.

What Next?

I’ve said all that to say this, if you rarely receive negative comments or if you rarely receive comments at all, then that is a sure sign that you are writing a vanilla blog. You need some zest, some pizzaz, some drama and most of all, a healthy dose of controversy.

Am I telling you to turn your blog into the Jerry Springer show? Absolutely not, although that might make some interesting reading. What I am saying is that you need to write articles that push the boundaries of traditional thinking.

If your niche is about Making Money Online, then write an article about why Make Money Online blogs suck. Controversy comes in many forms and unfortunately most bloggers aren’t that good at it. Rookies will most often try to dog a well known blogger hoping they will retaliate.

Honestly, that’s overdone and frankly, it’s boring. Something far more effective would be to take a typical subject, spin it 180 degrees and present a completely opposite view than the norm.

Some people might be familiar with the term playing Devils advocate, and that would be a very appropriate way to describe what I am thinking. Present the other side, the other opinion, the other view. Argue it, defend it, stretch the way people think about a particular subject.

These kinds of blogs are FAR more interesting to read than “10 Ways to Write Titles that Make You Tingle.” Good lord, if I read another stupid list post that has ZERO value to anyone I think I will gag. Maybe you could write a list post about why List posts stink.

That might be interesting and it would definitely be different.

Conclusion

A lot of readers will read this post and just not get it. It’s far easier to be a lemming and follow the crowd than it is to go your own way. Darren from Problogger recently tweeted a very profound statement that sums up what I am saying.

“Do not follow where the path leads, Rather go where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

Do you blaze your own trail or do you write “10 ways to Bore Your Readers to Death” type posts? If so, then change your tune. Write a post about “10 Ways reading a Problog is a Complete Waste of Your Time” type post, at least, a Problog other than THIS problog. 🙂

So the next time someone leaves a less than pleasant comment on your site, take it as a compliment rather than an insult. It’s a sure sign that you’ve been noticed.

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If you enjoyed reading this post then check out my own blog at The Blog Entrepreneur where you can feel free to leave me all of the negative comments that you want.

10 thoughts on “Negative Comments Aren’t Negative – Ya Jerk

  1. Jeffro2pt0

    Wow, nice batch of reading here. If I receive a negative comment, I always use it as an opportunity to take the high road when leaving a reply, it looks better on my record and it’s just good over all. What about if you receive a negative comment and the people who follow your writing/blog go chastise the person on their own behalf without any intervention or direction. Is that a sign that I have a dedicated following or is this a bad thing?

    By the way, I have always felt that the ingredients to success are different for everyone. Following someone else’s recipe for success generally doesn’t work. Everyone needs to toy with the ingredients until they find the perfect match, that being success.

  2. John Cow

    Its hard not to get defensive when someone starts slamming you or your post but I 100% agree with this post. Controversy is very powerful and if you look at Digg, a lot of the popular stories are just that.. controversial. Just like the news on TV… people love this kind of stuff.

  3. David

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. The fact of the matter is that you will get nowhere if you’re Johnny Middle of the Road. People who create controversy in an intelligent way get an audience. Think Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh. Some people will follow you because they agree with you. Others will follow you because they actually like to be angry, and you provide them a reason to be angry, lol. Either way, you get an audience!

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  5. Brad

    I quite agree that some controversy in your posts and comments is a good thing. I had a friend who was a moderately successful blogger until he signed a 3 book publishing deal with St Martins and decided he would much rather pursue writing fantasy fiction than covering politics, which to me is much the same thing. When he got started he wrote 3 or 4 fake post comments and at least half of them were negative, usualkly one of them told him “to go f*ck himself”. This was how he got conversations started and it worked pretty well, 50 or 60 comments was his average per post and his adsense revenue was pretty good for it.

  6. Greg

    OMG, you’re talking to me. I know you are. And you’re saying that I’m not enough of a shite disturber, that I need to step things up a notch. Take heart, because I’ve heard you! 🙂

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  8. Pentad

    There are a lot of correct statements here, and MMO bloggers are bound to be the brunt of many a negative comment. People are not satisfied with their own accomplishments, or that they are not happening quickly enough. The envy is that someone is accomplishing what they want. Now, if you have a political blog, controversy can be centered around differing opinions, minus the envy aspect. Yet, everything you wrote here does very much apply to your niche. I had to chuckle a little, though. I have been contemplating if people really would rather have the superficial “list posts”. I wondered if I should just start providing them, and even in the knowledge that they are fruitless. I decided that I just couldn’t “go there”, and it was nice to read that someone else isn’t fond of them, either. Cool post. People definitely love drama and controversy. They wouldn’t know how to go about living without it, which leads to a big “sigh” in my book.

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