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As an Authoritative Content publisher, you publish content that is useful, meaningful, and trustworthy. Your audience reads your content because they perceive you as a reliable and credible source for information that matters to them.In other words, you’ve built a brand around a specific promise to your audience, and it’s important to understand that your brand promise extends beyond your actual content. To truly build a powerful brand, you have to make sure that your content and conversations are consistent with your brand promise at all times.Brand confusion is the number one brand killer. If your audience doesn’t feel confident that their expectations for your brand will be met again and again, they’ll turn away from your brand in search of another that does meet their expectations in every interaction.Think about your own Authoritative Content brand. You publish content that matches the brand promise that your audience has come to expect from your brand, but are your online conversations consistent with that brand promise, too?One of the most common times that content publishers veer away from their brand promise is when people publish negative online comments on the publisher’s blog or social media. Before you type out a contentious response to negative online comments, consider the five tips to respond to those comments below. Choose the method that most effectively and consistently communicates not just your message but also your brand promise.

1. Respond Honestly

Transparency is critical when it comes to responding to negative online comments. If you made a mistake, own up to it. Apologize and make things right. If you lie or try to cover something up, you’ll most likely get caught, which would damage your Authoritative Content brand even more.

2. Redirect

If a negative comment is argumentative or requires in-depth communications to effectively answer, take the conversation offline. Ask the person who published the comment to provide their email address or phone number, or give them your contact information so they can contact you directly to discuss the matter further. Don’t make it seem like you’re trying to hide the problem offline. Instead, position your response as your desire to offer personal assistance so the problem is solved as quickly as possible.

3. Learn to Identify Trolls

Many negative online comments are published by people who are referred to as “trolls” in the online community. These trolls spend time publishing negative and often inflammatory comments on blogs and social media sites simply to incite reactions. Don’t join these conversations and don’t respond to these online comments. Ignore them. Delete them if you can, and don’t feed the trolls.

4. Avoid Giving Too Much Information

Never provide too much information in a response to a negative online comment or you might open up a can of worms that can be difficult to close. Keep your responses simple, answer only the question asked, and invite people who need more information to contact you directly if necessary.

5. Leave Emotions Out

As an online publisher, you need to have a thick skin because people will publish negative comments about you and your content. It will happen. Never respond to negative online comments emotionally. It’s essential that you leave your emotions out and respond professionally. If necessary, don’t respond to a negative comment immediately. Wait an hour or two to respond so you can calm down. Show your response to another person before you publish it to ensure it’s not emotionally biased.How do you respond to negative online comments?Image: Judit Klein licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

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