J. R. Swab

How To Leverage Criticism To Improve Your Blog

Categories: [Content Creation]
Tags: [ideas], [writing], [blogging]

Criticism can be both helpful and hurtful, but each type can help us improve our blog. As bloggers we should always look for ways to make our work better and more helpful to the readers. Our blogging goals need to be aimed at helping others every time we sit down to write.

Dealing With Criticism

Being the master of our emotions is the key to receiving and using all criticism to our advantage. In the blog post linked above we used a dragon to represent our negative emotions. All criticism will sting to some degree. This is when the dragon is enraged and spits fire; this is our emotion stirring up our ego.

When our emotions begin to stir and we feel our mood shifting for the worst, it is now the time to act. We must fight this dragon before it consumes us. The best method for many people is to just walk away. Get off the computer and do something else. It is better to not respond now than to respond in a spiteful manner.

After our emotions settle, we may return to the comment that criticized our work. We have to go into this with the mindset that it will help our blog become better, and in turn grow our audience. If this is a reply to a comment, it is even more important since people will be able to see it for years to come.

This sounds counter intuitive in today's 'follow your heart' mindset. However, this is the only way we will respond in a calm, cool, and collected way. The goal is to slay the dragon, not bring out more of them.

Leveraging Criticism

The more we blog, the more we open ourselves up to criticism and attacks from other opinions. While this may not happen often, it is smart to expect these events to happen. The more controversial our content, the more our chances increase.

If the content we make is one hundred percent poetry, we will find much less criticism. That is, unless we ask for feedback on our work. If you are a creative writer, I recommend joining @thewritersblock to sharpen your skills. The people there are honest yet gentle in their feedback.

Think Of The Other Perspective

It is always a good idea for us to do our best to see their side of the opinion coin. We don't know their circumstances or the experiences they had to lead them to where they are. Be compassionate and don't retaliate on a whim. We may find that their opinion is right or helps us solidify our own.

Find The Silver Lining

When we look for the gem in each instance of criticism, we become better at dealing with said criticism. This was not mentioned in the last post talking about the topic, but is a great skill to learn. When we see a comment that attacks our content, if we are able to look past the negativity and find the core, we can then improve our future posts.

The person may not even know that what they said led us to our conclusion. Nor could that be their intention from the start, but when we look past the hate to find what caused them to leave such a comment, we are then able to avoid the same mistake in our next post.

This is much easier when the person criticizing our work does so in a way to help us. They tend to be clear in what we messed up and point it out in an obvious way. These kinds of critical comments still sting, but being that they are clear with their intentions it is easier for us to pick up and improve our next piece of content.

Ask Questions

It is better to ask questions for clarification than to assume the criticizer's intention. The majority of our interaction online is text-based. Even now that we are able to hold video calls over the internet, we still tend toward walls of text. It is the easier form of communication.

This causes us to read comments in an echo chamber of our current emotional state. There are an uncountable number of times when we read a text message that sounds aggressive in our mind, but was never even a thought in the sender's. The same goes for critical comments on our blog.

Never assume their intention is to create anger, and ask questions to get to the true nature of the comment. This is our blog and each one of our replies shows us as people in a certain light. Not to mention that asking questions may lead to a more complete understanding of the issue we need to fix in future posts.

Use What Is Learned

Doing all of the above tips are quite useless if we do not put them into action. As we learn from others, we need to practice the advice and be mindful of our past mistakes. The whole idea is to be the best blogger we can be. If we end up ignoring the help from others, then we may as well blog on a site that no one will ever see.

One way to make sure we use the advice given is to write down the key points we learn from each bit of criticism. A journal works well for this, but even a dedicated piece of paper will fill the job. After we figure out what needs done to avoid the same criticism again, add it to the list. Then as we write our next post, have that list in view as a reminder of what we learned.

Thanks For Reading!

If you have a topic that you would like me to cover and share what I learned over the last ten years of blogging please let me know!

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