As your blog starts gaining visitors and growing in popularity, you’re likely to start getting a lot more emails, social media interaction and feedback in general. In some ways, it is great to get more feedback from your readers, some of the discussion might not be so welcome. As your popularity and traffic grow, so will your negative and just plain dumb feedback.
Some of this might come in the form of people saying your blog stinks, you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you’re just a terrible person and you should give it up. Other issues arise when people email you asking dumb questions that they could easily find the answer to themselves or for detailed (and free) assistance with managing their own blog.
Even though you might want to respond to every single email you get, doing so can really kill your productivity. It’s hard to let some emails go, especially when they are based on negative feedback! We really want to set the other person straight… but putting your productivity above your ego is the only way to succeed as a well known blogger.
What to Ask Yourself When Faced With Time-Sucking Feedback
Is this person offering valid criticism or are they just trying to stir up trouble?
Whenever you receive negative feedback, try to determine whether the person leaving it has a genuine complaint or if they are just trying to start a ruckus. There is a difference between reader feedback and trolling—only one is worth the time it takes to respond.
Is this a complaint or issue that’s been brought up by other readers as well?
Does the same issue keep coming up again and again by various readers? If so, the complaint or feedback is probably valid and is definitely worth responding to. Why not write a post addressing the issue to point readers toward?
Is an answer to this question or criticism already clearly posted on my blog?
Don’t waste your time typing out a lengthy email response to someone’s question if you’ve already wrote a whole blog post about it! Just politely point them toward the post and move on.
Would I really be helping anyone by addressing this, or is my response all about my own ego?
This question is particularly relevant when it comes to negative feedback. For example, if someone is just criticizing you in general by saying things like “Jim’s blog sucks!” there’s really nothing you can do that would be helpful to anyone. Don’t even bother responding—it’s likely this person is just trying to be “edgy” and controversial by stirring up drama. Take the high road: keep producing quality content for you readers. Show your fans (and your critic) that you don’t need a gimmick to succeed.
Is this reader simply asking for too much of my time?
Often what will happen when a blog gets really popular, is the blogger will start receiving emails from beginning bloggers asking for all kinds of help with their own project. Responding to all of these requests would be a major time-sucker and you shouldn’t be expected to give away your time. A good way to address this issue is to either write a series about blogging tips you’ve picked up or just write a post linking to resources that have helped you. You can point beginners to this content rather than individually responding to each request.