Whether you’re an author, speaker, consultant or entrepreneur, if you’re at all visible online, you open yourself up to criticism, unsolicited feedback and sometimes, weirdos. I wish I could say the negative and weirdo stuff will never happen to you, but it does.
I don’t know if was mercury in retrograde, the way the wind was blowing or due to sending out more updates than usual, but a few days ago I received several messages from people on my subscriber list.
Before I share what their messages were about, let me set the stage for why I sent so many emails in a short period of time.
Recently, I joined The Ultimate Blog Challenge – a 30-day writing challenge – hosted by Paul Taubman and Danni Ackerman. I joined to be a part of a community of people who all want to write and distribute lots of great content online via their blogs.
Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/UltimateBlogChallenge/
What I like most about the challenge is the community involvement and the support from Paul and Danni.
Within days of starting the challenge, I noticed an increase in blog traffic, I generated revenues as a direct result of the posts and increased my readership because of blogging daily.
To get the most traction for my efforts, I’ve made sure to post the permalink to the posts on various social media channels and, as mentioned, I sent update emails to my subscribers.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the number of positive private messages I’ve received from several of my email subscribers about my increased posting. Yet, I’ve also received messages from a few readers not so pleased with my update messages.
Feedback has been everything from, “Oh my gosh! I’m loving getting the daily updates. The content is so useful.” to “You are sending too many updates. Please only send me messages once a week.” to “I can’t believe you would actually have a pop up box on your blog. You’re better than that. It’s like you’re begging for business. Tone it down sista!”
I read and respond to the good and bad. I do consider if what the person is saying is valid enough to make any changes in the way I do things. More times than not, a change is not in order.
What I found interesting is this; within an hour of getting the message about pop up boxes, I read posts on a few blogs I am a huge fan of. All are blogs that have a huge following, are written by industry experts and have great content. All also have pop up boxes.
Some are in the internet marketing space. Some, health and fitness. Others, the book marketing space.
Ironically, I was not at all bothered by the pop up boxes, nor did I feel like the blog owner was begging for business. Nor would I ever think to ask them to tone it down.
I smiled as I saw the boxes appear. I’m sure they get similar conflicting messages from their subscribers.
Avoid Changing Who You are Based on Someone Else’s Opinions
I also found the comment, “Tone it down sista!” interesting. From childhood, many of us have had people tell us to get in line, behave, don’t rock the boat, tone it down. There comes a day we realize “not toning it down” is what make us who we are.
Many of the most successful people in the world, in a variety of fields, are the ones who refused to tone it down. And likely, they were told to do so many, many times.
But I digress… the fact is, pop up boxes work. Sure, not everyone likes them, but no matter what you do, you won’t please everyone. It’s impossible to think you can. Yet, some people do try to please everyone. They make changes to their business model, online marketing or content development based on feedback from one or two people.
My goal is to ALWAYS create massive value for my community. In this, I know I cannot please everyone.
If you are going to be visible online, as a speaker or as an author, you better have broad shoulders, not take things personally and avoid basing your choices on one or two comments.
Sure, if you get lots of negative messages in a short period of time, it’s well worth considering a change. But for the most part, you need to avoid a knee jerk reaction to negative comments. By the same token, don’t assume one good comment means you are on track.
All of this is a process. It’s about testing, adjusting, analyzing and making changes that are in the best interest of your community.
Amazon Opens Us Up to a Lot of Feedback
One place feedback is open for public scrutiny is on Amazon. Book reviews are visible for all to see.
Recently, I published an eBook – Blog Book Tours. The book received a few reviews. Two were very positive and one was a 1 Star by someone who didn’t even read the book. They rated the book at a one due to a typo in the description and the Look Inside Feature.
I immediately fixed the typo in the description, but have yet to fix the one inside. I had to look at the amount of time I wanted to put into the fix of a 99-cent eBook. Not that I like having a mistake in the book, but it’s about ROI. The world is not going to fall apart due to one typo in the Look Inside Feature of the book.
What I learned years ago is to take criticism as it is given. Is it constructive or is it simply someone blowing smoke?
Here’s what to do when you get feedback…
Don’t Take It Personally
Everyone has received feedback. How someone feels about your book, info product, presentation, consulting style may have nothing to do with you being inferior or the person not liking you. It’s a chance to look at your part in something and if it makes sense, make a change just like I did with the typo in my Amazon Kindle Book description. The person gave me valid feedback and I took appropriate action.
Consider the Source
Is the feedback coming from a reliable source? Are they someone whose opinion you respect? Do they know the full story?
Look at it From the Other Person’s Perspective
I like to ask myself the question, “I wonder what their positive intention is in giving me this feedback?” Often, someone is trying to help when they give feedback. Yet, their feedback may be based on outdated information. For example, when I chose to let go of wearing business suits, I had a few older relatives who said, “It’s not professional to not wear business suits.” These were people in their 80’s who, in their day, you had to wear a suit to be considered professional. The intention was sincere, the timing outdated.
Respond Without Being Defensive or Snarky
Whenever we get feedback that is way off in left field, wrong or just plain strange, the temptation is to become defensive or respond in a very snarky way. Resist the temptation. As mentioned previously, consider the source. Are they someone who is critical of most people? In the case of a reviewer on Amazon, are most of their reviews low? If so, it may just be their personality. If not, be willing to consider the feedback as valid.
Consider the Long-Term
Comments made online are often permanent. Before doing anything, consider that what you put online lasts virtually forever. Rather than immediately responding to criticism, think in terms of how you will feel if you see your response a week, month or year down the road. Not only how you will respond, but how will others think of you based on what they find you posted at any point in time.
The bottom-line is this, feedback helps us improve, when it’s worth listening to. As you gain more visibility, you do open yourself up to increased feedback. Some good and some not so good.
Keep an open mind, consider the source, and determine if a change is in order.
However, don’t let one person’s opinion of you stop you from being who you are. Play full out, be who you are and do what you are here to do…make a difference.
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