Being a successful blogger sounds great, but it also comes at a price. The more popular your blog becomes, the higher your profile will be, which at some point will make you a public figure, even if you do your best and try to hide out behind the scenes.
This is one aspect of blogging life that many bloggers struggle with, especially because many bloggers tend to be introverts by nature, and it can be quite a shock when suddenly you are thrust into the limelight without your consent, thoughts wide open for the world to see.
As part of this transition into becoming a web celebrity, you’re going to receive a lot of praise. Let’s be honest, this ego trip is why many of us do it. But these congratulatory remarks, comments, and praises come at a price, one in which criticism is the currency.
Sometimes it’s hard just to push the publish button, let alone wait for the responses to fly in, hoping they are high praise and not insults, complaints, or attacks.
Criticism can wreck your day, get you in a rut, and make you want to crawl into a hole and die. And while I’d love to have you tell your critics to piss off, I know that most of you won’t listen, so I’m going to offer you a few alternatives to that response.
Regardless of which method you use, the most important thing is that you don’t let critics get into your head. Remember, you’ve got work to do, and anything that takes you away from that work is an enemy.
Quitting is for sissies, but if that’s the type of person you are, then you better own up, quit, and get it over with. I’ll save myself a lot of time writing the rest of the points here, and you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and misery.
Quitting can also be productive, if you realize that this just isn’t for you, or you need to pivot into another market or niche.
2. Ignore The Critics
Ignoring critics is easy because it doesn’t take a lot of effort, at least at first. At some point, as the critiques mount up, you may have to fire back a response of some sort in order to play damage control, but there are many bloggers that make a living never having had to respond to a single complaint.
If you have thick skin, or wish to develop it, this is a great option. As the zenmaster says: ‘Chop wood, carry water.’
3. Delete Their Comments
There’s nothing that says you can’t ‘moderate’ critical comments on your own blog or Facebook page. Of course, this solution doesn’t work so well when dealing with external critics that you cannot control, whether in social media or elsewhere. But if you’re being attacked on your own blog, it’s very easy to hit the delete or reset button and pretend it never happened.
There’s no shame in this either. It’s your house, not theirs. Kick their ass out.
4. Troll Them Like a Master
Some bloggers do this very well, but it requires thick skin and a devious sense of humor. In fact, if you have the stones to reach legendary status, you can earn a wonderful living by trolling the audience in your particular niche.
The best way to get there is by being comfortable inciting riots, getting people upset, and never backing down. Once you get good at doing this, you’ll have a lot of fun. You’ll probably also have more traffic than you know what to do with. I guarantee it.
5. Fight Back, and Win
Only the strong survive, and if you let these jackasses have their way, you’ll present an image of weakness that will encourage more of them to step up. However, by fighting back (in a level-headed manner) and providing logical counterpoints, you have the opportunity to prove that you’re not only stronger, but smarter.
The danger here is you let your emotions dictate your logic, which can lead to poor debate and the appearance of insecurity. The key here is patience and practice.
6. Build an Army to Fight for You
What’s better than responding to critics on your own? Having your fans do it!
This is a strategy that is usually achieved as a result of being successful, not as a cause for it, but it’s something to work on nonetheless.
The secret to this is to empower your audience. Make them feel like they are part of your community, movement, etc. Remember, you don’t own them, and they aren’t ‘your’ tribe, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be armed to stand up for you.
As a test, try pointing your audience to a piece of criticism and see how they respond. The results might surprise you.
7. Listen and Learn
Let’s face it… sometimes criticism, while painful, is accurate. In this case, the best way to respond is by acknowledging the critique and using it to better yourself. The more of these holes in your personal armor that you patch, the less room there’ll be for criticism in the future.
This is also a great technique for disarming jesting-seeking mobs and vigilantes. How can they fight if you won’t fight back? This is a test of strength, and while it’s never easy to admit flaws, it can also be quite exhilarating.
Just as critiques very, so should your responses, each of which has their strengths and weaknesses. The important thing is to have a plan, and to keep your head on straight. Don’t let the haters get you down, and definitely avoid making an ass of yourself during interactions with them.
If you can convert your critics into fans, then you’ll find that they are not only the most loyal, but also the most passionate and outspoken part of your army.