The blogosphere is a massive community, with many niche neighborhoods. You might be in the large neighborhood of personal finance, or the tiny little cul-de-sac of Bourbon king cosplay writers. Wherever you find yourself, a good blogger will write about a subject on which they are an authority. With time, they will develop a following of interested parties, many of whom are just as passionate about the blog topic as the writer. Everything that happens to good bloggers isn’t necessarily good. There are some steps on the path of success that are difficult, no matter how much work you do. One of those is negative feedback and complaints about you or your blog on the web.
Online reputation management is one of the most essential parts of the blogger’s job. It’s all about branding. The reason you blog at all is because you want to adopt a brand or persona. You likely don’t want to be known as Joe Smith, the guy who lives in Rhode Island and has so much to tell you about travel. You probably want to adopt a more low-key persona, one that allows you to speak your mind without involving your real life self overly much. If you feel this way, your blog is a brand, and you’ve got to keep that brand in good shape.
One of the best parts of the blogosphere is argument. It’s almost like one of Plato’s Dialogues, with lots of different points of view going at each other, and no one voice necessarily winning the argument. It’s like that, but with a lot more misspellings and cheap insults. It’s true! When people speak their mind on the internet it’s not always the nicest or most truthful written words. And when negative material comes at your brand a little too much and a little too often, it can start to corrode the reputation you are working to cultivate.
In a situation like this, defend yourself in words, but do so carefully. If you lash out defensively, or tell lies, you will be digging yourself deeper. If you are going to talk back to someone on the internet who has said something against you, take your time. Write your reply on a post-it, then set it aside until you are sure it’s the best thing to say. Preferably, reply only when you are no longer angry.
Sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all, or to get someone else to speak on your behalf. This leads us back to that first link on the second paragraph. There are companies out there which specialize in online reputation management. They will be able to eliminate many of the most damaging comments and content pieces that corrode your brand, without anyone noticing or understanding what happened. Think of it as gardeners occasionally pulling up the weeds so that the flowers can grow bigger and fuller.
A blog is an incredible way to make money, learn more about a favorite subject, or even reach financial independence. But you don’t make it without dealing with some internet trolls. Handle these interactions correctly, and you’ll be in good shape.