Join Daniel Roth for an in-depth discussion in this video Handling feedback/comments, part of Writing to be Heard on LinkedIn.
- One of the things I love about the LinkedIn platform is that the comments are phenomenal. This happens because there's no anonymity and there's a network in place. So when I leave a comment on someone else's post, my employees see it, my boss sees it, people I've worked with in the past see it. Because of that, people tend to be pretty respectful. There's a real identity and it goes everywhere. That said, no matter what you're writing about, you're going to get comments that are positive comments and negative comments, and the question is how to respond to them.
Well, let's talk about the positive ones first. When it comes to positive comments, you might get 100 comments beneath your post that are all saying the same thing: "Great job," "This is really good," "I really liked your story." You don't have to respond to all of those. What I recommend is that you pick two or three comments that you want to respond to where you can add some other value to it. If someone says something where they share their own voice, if they're helping carry on the conversation, those are the ones you want to respond to. Someone gives their own personal point of view that builds off of what you said, I like to respond and say, "That's a great example, thank you.
"Did you find that," whatever this person's talking about, "Did you find that it worked? "Did you find that it didn't work?" Do something that carries on the conversation and, even better, gets them to write their own post about their experiences. Now, when it comes to negative comments, it's a little bit trickier. I think all of use are primed to get upset when you've spent so long writing a post, these are hard to write, and you put yourself into it, and now someone just comes on and they criticize you. Number one, don't respond right away.
Take a deep breath, take 24 hours. Don't feel like you have to respond at all. And don't feel like you have to respond to everyone. If someone leaves a critique of my post that is, I think, warranted, I'll frequently respond. If they point out a typo or a mistake I made, I always respond, and say, "Great point, I'm going to change the post." And then I'll change the post and thank them for their feedback and point out at the bottom of my post that it was changed because of commenter Joe Smith who pointed out an error I made.
If someone's just making a critique that I disagree with but is a reasoned and thought through point, I like to respond also and just thank them for pointing it out. You should be magnanimous in accepting critiques. You want to make people feel like that you're open to hearing what they have to say, because, again, the goal here is starting a conversation. Sometimes a conversation is really welcome and sometimes it's difficult. Either one means that people are engaging with your work. That's important. And what do you do with trolls? What do you do with people who are just critiquing because they want to be mean? Don't engage with them.
Don't respond, don't say anything. Don't try to block them out. Just ignore them. Now, one thing that I think you will find is that as you write and as you develop an audience, frequently your readers will come to your defense. They're the ones who are going to say, "Hey, quit saying this in the comments. "We're trying to have a conversation here. "You're offline, you're out of base." That's the best thing that can happen is you develop a big enough voice that your readers want to carry on your conversation and they don't want to get sidelined and they'll push someone else out who is doing the sidelining. I'd love to mention one more thing about comments.
They are a great source of new topics to write about. I'll frequently go through my comments and see what people are engaging with, what they're reacting to, what they're building on, and you can almost always find something in those comments that are an idea or spark for a new post. Another great thing to do is if you write something that generates a tremendous amount of feedback, take that feedback, find four or five themes that people are bringing up, and create a new post out of that. Here are the six comments that I saw, or here are the three themes that came out of my last post and I'm going to now respond to those.
It's a new way to come up with a topic for you to write about and you carry on the conversation. Comments can be difficult. Comments can be hard to deal with. Sometimes you don't want comments. It's really important to accept that we are in a social world, that people want to have their voice heard, that you're giving them the icebreaker to talk about their own experiences. The more you can embrace comments and help turn them into a conversation, the better off you're going to be.
- Writing what you know
- Remembering your audience
- Crafting great headlines that get clicks
- Handling comments
- Sharing content on LinkedIn and beyond