When Someone Blindsides You With a Negative Blog Post


On a phone call last week, my friend, Zena Weist and I were discussing incidents such as the Motrin Moms and the Nestle-Greenpeace crises that happened last year or similar circumstances when a person or a group attacks another online.

That conversation reminded me of a negative blog post a few months ago that a fairly known blogger wrote using my name in the headline with two other key words as a obvious SEO ploy to get traffic. I say that because he ignored similar situations with other folks and didn’t attempt to ask me about the event. Nor did he respond to any conversation about it.

These sorts of confrontation can evoke a passionate response.

In the fast web culture, our senses get heightened by the idea that a wide audience of people we don’t know can be reading that bad press about us. It’s only natural to want to to set the record straight.

It’s at times like those that I try to remember this saying,

The more I want to run, the better it is that I walk slowly and with thought.
Passion rarely fuels grounded thinking.

Of course, a great social media team is hired to be mature and is prepared with a plan to handle a crisis such as those I just mentioned. But a knee jerk reaction can foil even the best plans. Realize that it’s happening. Often we sense a bad conversation before it’s really gone wrong. It might be our mood or the mood of the person we’re talking to. Unconsciously we rise to the bait and respond by making things worse.

So … Breathe. Before your hands touch the keyboard to respond realize that you’ve got a few minutes to go with your best reaction, not your fastest one. Take time to think of your best options. We can’t take back a bad response, but we can reconsider our options before we act like a jerk.

  • Own your part of what derailed. Apologize for your behavior not circumstances around you.
  • Diffuse any personal response you’re feeling before you respond.
  • See yourself on the other side of the conversation.
  • Find a way to say “thank you” for the information.
  • Don’t feel compelled to counter every point. Trust the people who know you to know what you stand for. Realize that some folks won’t listen anyway.
  • Get curious about finding common ground — make a goal to meet somewhere you agree. Ask them what they might do in your situation.
  • Live the example you respect. Choose thought-filled words that come from the heart.
  • Keep the conversation limited to the person who brought it and take it offline or private as soon as possible. If
  • In the case of folks who are simply inventing something to hijack your name, answer once, clearly and with grace. Then simply ignore the conversation or enlist your friends to set the situation straight.
  • Know the difference between a stampede of elephants and a flea who’s just irritating.

Of course, the best response is to be solid about what you stand for, willing to listen to questions about it, and open to other’s concerns. Then when things get confrontational, you can simply point out that the behavior, not the discussion, is inappropriate.

Have you ever been blindsided by a negative blog post? How did you handle it?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
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  1. says

    We need to be positive and learn to accept that anyone of us have different opinions otherwise the world would have been much peaceful.

  2. says

    Funny I wrote an article about this but have yet to publish it…(scheduled for August 9th) I think most of us that are working online have faced at one time or another.

    A while back, I had a run-in with a potential client. He didn’t like my prices and, although we had no contract, or any other relationship he somehow felt he’d been gypped. He chose a well-known complaint site and posted a complaint against me for “how poorly I treated clients”. For a month, anytime someone searched for my name, one of the first things they saw was the complaint. Now, granted, some of my actual clients came to bat for me, but the damage was done.

    In this case, reputation management was easy – sort of. I contacted the complaint site, showed them the correspondence and they took the complaint down. However, it took another month for the complaint to disappear from the SERPs; it was listed, but when you clicked on the link it redirected to the home page of the complaint site.

    For those two months, there’s no telling how many potential clients I may have lost from that one untrue complaint. But I can assure you it was something I took very seriously and knew I had to handle right away.

  3. says

    The benefit of being online is that you do have that time to think thru how you want to respond.

    I dealt with something similar whwre I sent in a guest post to a big blogger and was told it was good and will go out soon,, then to have him tell me the topic wasn’t going to engage his readers.

    2 days later he had the same post, same points, same ytips, just reworded.

    My first reaction was to tear him a new you know what..lol But then in the end I decided that if I did I would be the one looking like an ass. So I let it be.

    If I went with my first reaction, who knows what negative effect it would of had on me and my blog.

  4. says

    Not too long after I started writing for a fairly large blog, someone posted a fairly nasty post on their own site about how I was ruining the blog in question. I was blindsided, to say the least.

    This was someone I had never interacted with, who never commented on the blog, and who I could have happily gone on not even knowing existed.

    I’m pretty sure that his readership was small and I didn’t want to drive traffic to him, so I said nothing. But it was tough for me. I was doing exactly what I’d been hired to do, my client loved my work and still I had nagging doubts from this one post. I never write attack posts, though, if only because I know how much one blog post was able to hurt me.

  5. says

    Not long ago a competitor discredited me in a blog for which we were both interviewed. My interview had been posted first, so the blogger asked this other person to comment on something I had written. Open season! It was subtle but other people read it the same way I did.

    I ignored it. Because it was subtle, it was impossible to defend myself in a comment without looking, well, defensive. In email the competitor denied her intent, and I felt if I went public, I would look pretty stupid.

    Instead I made sure other people saw it. It turned out to fit with other things people have noticed about this person, which add up to a not so nice picture. So ultimately the negative post may just have backfired!

  6. says

    Social media is often about ego. People write and post in an attempt to get noticed. Sometimes the most damaging thing you can do to someone who has treated you badly is to ignore them.

    I am reminded of a story about McDonalds years ago a rumor circulated that they were using worm meat in their burgers. It wasn’t true, but the more they tried to protest, the worse it got as people began to make the association between McDonalds and Worm meat. Finally, McDonalds stopped trying to respond and the rumor died.

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