Let’s make this simple: if you have a bad online reputation – either personally or as a blogger – people are not going to want to read your blog. It’s that simple. You seek out and continue to read the people you’ve come to respect. Your readers are the same.
Here is how to make sure that your blogging reputation remains respectable so that your readership doesn’t suffer.
1. Encourage conversation
Note: This means accepting negative as well as positive feedback, but we’ll get to that in a second.
The best way to encourage conversation is to respond to the comments that are left on your blog and the feedback that is sent to you. Respond thoughtfully and honestly to all of it. As your readership grows, this will become harder to do individually, but while the numbers are still on your side, taking the time to do this will help you build up a really great and solid reputation on which you can rest when the numbers tip toward more general responses.
2. Give things away for free
This does not have to be a literal giveaway. What we’re talking about is offering helpful information free of charge to the people who read your blog. Don’t save your best stuff for a subscription service or informational product. Put it up there on your blog so that your readers know that you value them as readers and not just wallets waiting to be pruned.
3. Be active on social media
Social media is no longer optional. Every blogger needs to have at least a Twitter account and Facebook page. Do more with these accounts than using them to promote the things you post on your blog. Link to other sources subscribers might find useful. If you think up something pithy and succinct, send it out as a tweet or status update. People are starting to replace email with social media, and being active on these services will make you available to the people who want to reach out to you.
4. Take criticism seriously
You can’t keep everybody happy all of the time, but when you address the negative criticism fairly and objectively, you’ll win even the most critical observer’s favour. So, if someone says something negative, ask yourself if the criticism has merit; if it does and it is something that genuinely needs to be fixed, do what you need to do to fix it.
If someone spreads a rumour that is blatantly false, address that as well. It’s easy enough to write a blog post that proves the fallacy of the rumour without calling out the rumour spreader specifically (as tempting as that might be). Taking the time to do this quickly and professionally can go a long way toward protecting your reputation.
5. Actively monitor your online reputation
Remember, on the internet, an hour is the equivalent to half a week of offline time. By monitoring your reputation carefully, you’ll be able to address problems quickly and take care of them before they have the chance to grow out of control. There are lots of ways to monitor your online reputation, but the easiest is to hire one of the reputation management services out there that are ready and waiting to do the job for you. ArtDriver can help you out. Get in touch with us.
Which road do you want to take?
Finally, as you apply all of these tips to your online behaviour, don’t forget to be genuine. Somehow, in spite of the web’s ability to help people be anonymous, people can tell immediately when a blogger isn’t being genuine. A lack of genuineness will kill your reputation and readership faster than any rumour or bad review.
So! Be real, be honest, be active, be quick, and you should be fine!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon, who writes about a variety of small business topics including the importance of managing one's online reputation.