Notice that the headline of this article says “when,” not “if.” That’s my version of revealing a seemingly unpleasant truth quickly, like ripping off a Band-Aid.
“Everyone” won’t like your writing, but that’s actually a good thing. If everyone who reads your work has the exact same perspective, you probably aren’t reaching new people regularly.
Because when your readership is growing, you’re going to inevitably encounter someone who’s not impressed.
Getting “everyone” to like your content isn’t just ego-driven, short-sighted, and unrealistic … it’s bad marketing. It shows you haven’t yet figured out your Who.
Different types of people need to hear different messages. Think of:
- Horseback riders and scuba divers
- Vegans and carnivores
- Farmers and astronomers
It’s natural for horseback riders to have no interest in scuba-diving topics, and vice versa.
If you wouldn’t expect those distinct groups to have the same preferences and tastes, why would you want or expect “everyone” to like your writing style and/or the subjects you write about?
When some people do, and some people don’t, you’re on the right track, but you still might freeze up a bit when you encounter negative feedback.
To combat that criticism-confusion, here are two simple steps.
Step #1: Ask yourself, “Is this person the right fit for my audience?”
If you think they are, their criticism may be constructive (even if it stings a little).
This could be an opportunity to:
- Respond to their comment or question with additional resources
- Hold a live Q&A or record a detailed video about the topic
- Expand on your original thoughts in your next post and subsequent content
If you’re committed to publishing your writing on a regular schedule and building relationships, this is the stuff content marketing’s made of: You turn feedback into new content.
Someone who is indeed part of your audience may also miss your point and write a comment about it. That’s on them. It’s nothing to get too tripped up about either. Onward …
If you’re fairly certain that the person criticizing your content is not the right fit for your audience, go to Step #2.
Step #2: Ask yourself, “Why isn’t this person the right fit for my audience?”
Put bluntly, people who aren’t in the market for what you offer — and who don’t get you — aren’t worth your time.
They’re in the wrong place.
You could explain yourself to them all day long and likely not change their beliefs. So, spot those people and ignore them accordingly.
But before you filter out that type of feedback, there’s also an opportunity here to get more clear about the people who are the right match for your content.
If you think a certain piece of criticism is from someone who’s in the wrong place, why? Why isn’t your offer for them?
Could it be for them, without abandoning your values? How can your answers to those questions help you discover more about the people who will benefit from what you have to say?
Hold the water
Go deeper with your ideal prospect rather than water down your content in attempt to please someone who’s not part of your intended audience.
And what about when you get positive feedback and smart comments?
Don’t get too elated by praise either. Instead, use it as fuel to focus on how you can keep serving those people over time.