Monday, July 03, 2006

Blog etiquette: Responding to commenters

Someone emailed me a simply query:

I am wondering what the appropriate etiquette for responding to comments is. Do you ignore them if not response is required or do you thank the commenter?

My response...

The short answer is to respond the way you would if you were on camera responding to a question in front of an audience and you're trying to convey a certain image for your organization and gain the approval and respect of that audience. Be responsive, fair, open-minded, generous, and focus on trying to build a community that will welcome your organization and its products and services.

You can also think of the blog the way you would think of a one-on-one discussion with a potential client, focusing on addressing their interests and needs to try to win them over. Merely being polite to a prospect is not usually a winning proposition.

Specifically, try to find ways to amplify positive comments and simply thank negative commenters for their frankness, candor, honesty, etc. and amplify your interest in letting people have their own voice.

You will encourage negative comments if the tone of your blog is to talk down to readers and treat them like stupid children, but you will discourage negative comments if you come across as treating readers as your peers.

Don't think of needing to politely thank them for their comments, but rather think of them trying to engage you in a conversation and now it's your turn to respond to them and add some more of your special "added value" that you are theoretically bringing to the table.

Ultimately, you have to find your own voice. Find a way to assure that your blog is a labor of love and not just another check-off "work assignment".

-- Jack Krupansky


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