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How to Respond to Comments on Your Company Blog
 By Shannon Paul, Social Media Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

For so many people, nothing feels scarier than opening up yourself and your business to reader comments on a company blog; even seasoned bloggers recognize the difference between blogging for yourself, and blogging for your business when faced with the challenge.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had several conversations around how to manage comments—not just the workflow with respect to approving, reading, responding—but also, the perspective necessary to have thick enough skin to distance yourself a bit from the sentiment or opinion being expressed.

Forget sentiment (mostly)
One of the things I tell prospective business bloggers is to forget about getting people to agree with you all the time, but rather, focus on maintaining the momentum of the conversation you started, and guide it back to staying on point. It’s not important whether everyone agrees with you, but it is important to acknowledge and appreciate reader participation, keep the conversation interesting, and to guide the conversation in the desirable direction.

The good the bad and the ugly
If your only experience with comments is on your local newspaper or YouTube, you probably don’t have a very good opinion of user generated comments. The good news is that with most blogs where the author participates, this is not typical. If building an online community is your goal, blogging can help if you have a plan in place to foster participation.

     • Good comments are those that move the momentum of the conversation.
     • Bad comments can be thin, spammy, or try to bait the author.
     • Ugly comments are profane or abusive toward the author, other readers, or anyone else.

The thing I like about defining comments like this is that it removes sentiment or agreement out of the equation—a comment that sharply aligns with the opinion of the author (and is even complimentary) could fall under good, bad, or ugly, depending on how the agreement and opinion is expressed.

Good blogs encourage healthy conversation—they don’t try to stifle it.

---Source: OMC newsletter Sept. 22, 2010 ( You can reach Shannon Paul at

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