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You're regularly creating compelling content. You've got an active and engaged readership. Your pageviews are going up.
You've just written a post to be proud of– people are leaving thoughtful and insightful comments, and you're THRILLED with the response.
The email arrives from a regular reader, “‘I agree that it would be good with applesauce.” (aka–something off-topic, irrelevant, blatantly ignoring what you're saying–thank you Corinne/Frock and Roll for the example!). Your mind starts blazing…”Huh? Did I really write that? Wasn't I clear? Where did I miscommunicate my points? Where did I go wrong?“
How do you handle this? It's happened to me many, many times. You can….
- Ignore their comment. But is that the impression you want to leave for other readers? On the other hand, it can keep you from getting in to a flame war on your site– and we all know those are SO 2001.
- Say, “Thank you for your thoughts! That's given me a lot to think about.” Afterall, it HAS–whether you think they've missed the mark or not.
- Similarly, you can respond “Thanks for your insight. I didn't see it that way.” (via SuperAlzy)
- Alternately, you could say, “Interesting point! How did you come to that conclusion?” (via MlleGhoul) This approach invites your reader back to re-read your post, their comment, and to think more about the discussion at hand. It's beneficial to both parties!
Regardless of how you respond or what the reader said, Prom Mafia makes an incredible point: People only hear what they want, know, and understand, regardless of what you are actually saying.
As bloggers, this makes our jobs all the more difficult–we want, as easily, succinctly, and clearly as possible to communicate our opinions, views, advice, and desires to our readers, whether it is through video, writing, or pictures. So how do you handle it when you receive off-base/confusing/off-topic/irrelevant comments? Do you have any great tips that weren't mentioned above?