How to Respond to Criticism About Your Writing: 2 Conscientious Steps

Wondering how to respond to criticism about your writing? Let’s look at the situation you face in a different way …

For this example, you’re the person criticizing another writer.

That’s right. Have you ever stopped paying attention to content when a publisher stepped up their marketing game?

I know I have.

I’ll turn off a YouTube video faster than I can drink a matcha latte once I learn it’s sponsored by a product I will never buy. And if there are consistent videos for products I don’t want to hear about, I might even stop watching the channel.

Liking the free content on a platform is no guarantee that you’re going to like what the publisher sells.

That’s okay. No one is to blame here. The creator didn’t make a content marketing mistake and the audience member has every right to lose interest.

But there is an important lesson for anyone afraid of marketing or selling more aggressively.

Respond to criticism with this motto: “Fewer people. Tighter relationships.”

“We don’t write much about creating content to generate massive anonymous traffic. We write about creating content to support a business with an engaged audience. Fewer people, tighter relationships.” – Sonia Simone

I think unsubscribes are the best.

Someone who unsubscribes from your content is simply not interested in what you offer. People avoid information that is irrelevant to them — they don’t leave because you’re marketing to them.

It’s great to hear about something that fits your wants or needs. That’s marketing. Whether it’s through content or word of mouth.

If a sponsored YouTube video is about a product that might help me, I’ll definitely keep watching.

But a product that fits my needs might make someone else stop watching or unsubscribe.

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That’s why I wrote above that no one’s to blame. However, content creators can always work on building more focused audiences of interested prospects.

Of course every subscriber isn’t going to buy from you, but if a large portion of your “prospects” enjoy content you create that has nothing to do with what you sell … when it comes time to sell, you’ll be disappointed with your results.

Please interested prospects

If you build a list of interested prospects, you can ditch your fear of selling for good.

When you study SEO for content writers, you aim to hook people who are good matches for your products or services.

Even if someone isn’t ready to buy yet, you have the opportunity to educate them about what they need to know to do business with you.

Serve those people, rather than creating content for “everyone,” and forget about those who don’t stick around.

People who don’t like your content don’t stop you from succeeding; they were never a part of your success in the first place.

2 steps when conscientious writers need to respond to criticism

“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
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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.

How do you eliminate any confusion about how to respond to criticism?

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.

Remember, it’s your platform. You’re in charge of the next move, so don’t let the need to respond to criticism shake your confidence and disrupt your writing voice. Stick with your creative vision.

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.

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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.

If you’d like to learn more about content marketing that works? Grab our free ebook for new writers below …


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