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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally posted on May 9, 2008 @ 7:00 am