Many people starting a company blog are concerned about comments. Three things usually come up, and are easy to address. What a relief!
1. Spam: You will be inundated by spam comments
In an effort to get traffic back to their own sites, unscrupulous people and the automated robots who work for them post comments to blogs 24/7. First and foremost, have your web developer install a tool that will block spam comments. Next, consider whether you want to moderate all comments that are posted so nothing winds up on your site that will reflect badly on your business.
If you choose to moderate your comments, decide who in your company can commit to a quick response time. You want people who leave legitimate comments to feel they are being heard and valued. You can also use an outsourced blog management service for this and other tasks.
Comment notifications can be sent by email, and WordPress even has apps for iOS (Apple) and Android that allow you to quickly moderate comments from wherever you are.
Not all unwanted comments are necessarily spam. If you feel a comment is too generic or just an empty compliment (both signs of someone just looking for a link), you can remove it from your site. You never have to approve or display comments just so there are comments on your blog. Think quality rather than quantity. This leads nicely into the next comment concern.
2. Volume: There will be too many comments to keep up with, or none at all
It takes time and effort to build a community of blog readers. Depending on how carefully you’ve planned your blog, how much you’re promoting it through social media and email, and the size of your network, there may not be very many visitors at the start.
Also, your visitors may simply not want to post public comments, no matter how much they’ve enjoyed your material. This is nothing to worry about. After all, do you want a lot of comments or a lot of calls from prospective customers?
Some people will send feedback in other ways, such as by email, social media comments, or sharing your post with their own social networks.
It’s not likely you’ll need to worry about a high volume of comments, at least for awhile. If you do find you’re spending too much time responding to or moderating comments, consider outsourcing the task.
Whatever you do, make sure that irrelevant or spam comments are removed promptly, and that genuine comments get a thoughtful response. “Thanks for your comment,” is a good start, and then try to build on something specific they said.
3. Critics: People will criticize you and your company
We know intellectually that it’s impossible to be adored by everyone on the planet, yet we can still be absolutely tormented by negative feedback. Even a thoughtful and sincere remark can be threatening if it disagrees with our own statements.
Critical comments can feel like a personal attack for whoever wrote a particular post, but they can also be worrisome to the marketing manager and/or business owner. Will this “bad press” have a negative impact on your company’s credibility?
Sometimes an inflammatory comment needs to be ignored or deleted, but often it can be an opportunity to reiterate your point of view while still showing the commenter – and the rest of the world – that you care about other people’s opinions.
Tip: Whether they say it on your own blog, on a review site, or their own site, if people are unhappy with your company they will make their feelings known. Use an online monitoring tool such as Talkwalker to stay on top of your company’s online reputation.
As WordPress and blogging expert Lorelle VanFossen says, “It’s your blog. You choose what is on it.” She also says that you have a responsibility for what appears on your blog, and that if you care about your readers, you’ll clear away the comment clutter.
Spam comments should be removed immediately (or never posted), but so should any comments you feel detract from the conversation you are trying to have with your community. Ultimately, the most important thing is to keep posting well-written and relevant blog posts that will get people talking!