Why Ignoring Feedback is Critical to Blogging Success

by Marcus Sheridan

I love Leon Noone. He’s an “old-curmudgeon” from Australia that has been a reader of mine here at TSL for almost two years now. His comments are often as witty and wisdom-filled as they come , and boy does he make people laugh. But after Leon watched the video version of my new “Mad Marketing with The Sales Lion” podcast this week, he had this to say in the comments section of the post:

G’Day Marcus,

A “talking head” is a “talking head”; even if the head is yours. If you really want people to learn, remember that TV is a visual medium. Even a good looking dude like you needs visual support.

Sorry mate. Somebody had to tell you. If you’d like some suggestions please contact me direct. Spontaneity and enthusiasm only take you so far.

And it aint much fun for your audience.

Best Wishes
Leon

In other words, Leon doesn’t like my video. :-)

But here is the thing—It’s OK. In fact, it doesn’t bother me at all that Leon hated the video.

Apples and Oranges

You see, a podcast is a different medium. Instead of reading and zipping through a 5-10 minute textual post, podcast listeners are willing to take 30, 45, or even 60 minutes and dedicate that to the person giving the message. Now granted, most folks do this while traveling, exercising, doing chores, etc.—but the point is the two means of communication and their users are vastly unique.

This is also why you have groups of people that never listen to podcasts and others that never read blog posts. Fact is, we’re all very different.

Personally, I like to talk, and for some time now I’ve been strongly prompted to get this podcast going. Furthermore, I wanted to offer the recording not just via audio, but through video as well, as there is another subset of my audience that would actually prefer that medium.

Will everyone like the video? No, not at all. But again, that’s OK. My goal isn’t to make everyone happy or get approval with everything I do. Rather, my goal is to reach and help as many people as possible to build my brand and share my message.

Death by Feedback

But this article isn’t about podcasting. It’s about the mistake we often times make of listening too closely to the feedback we get from blog readers, and then putting too much stock in their opinions and thoughts, even though they may not align with ours.

For example, I once got an email from someone who had downloaded my eBook which said, and I quote:

Marcus, I didn’t find any value in your eBook. You talk way too much about your family and I really don’t care about your personal experiences. I’m unsubscribing from your list.

Nicest email ever, huh? :-)

What’s even funnier is that over the past 3 years of writing here on TSL, the #1 compliment I’ve gotten from readers typically sounds just like this:

“I love the way you mix real life experiences into your blog.”

Hmm, so which one of the two pieces of feedback is the right one?

In another example, I’ve had readers tell me:

“Marcus, I like your message but your posts are too long. Could you make them shorter?”

Again, statements like these go in one ear and out the other. After almost 300 blog posts and 300,000 words, I’m not about to change the way I write to “please” a particular group of readers.

Some posts are long.

Some are short.

The ones that like the style will hang around and the ones that don’t will move on.

We’re Weird

Human beings are a funny and diverse group. None share the same fingerprints and the same can almost be said for their tastes in writers and communicators.

Most of my readers love my story-telling style. Some of them hate it.

And for the ones that hate it, I wish them well.

Again, it’s OK. I’m completely at peace with folks not agreeing with everything I do. Just like when I speak in public—about 95% are pretty enthralled while 5% hate my guts.

So to answer Leon’s comment, for now I’m not going to change my podcast videos. Other than not having the time, it just isn’t a goal at the moment. Heck, I’m just happy to have started a podcast, gotten it on iTunes, and offered to show it via video at the same time—all of which most bloggers never get around to.

Please understand this isn’t a knock on Leon at all. I love the fact that he cares enough to offer me honest feedback, after all, he has been teaching presentation and instructional design for 35 years, and he even thought it was a great idea that I post this article.

The fact is, I appreciate all feedback from readers.

But sometimes we listen and follow. And other times we hold the course.

Trusting in YOU

The bottom line is that you need to trust your gut. Whether it’s your business, your blog, or an existing project—be careful not to be too swayed from the vision that’s in your head. Be humble and teachable, but also be strong enough to follow your instincts when you feel it’s right. By so doing, your path to success will remain steady even though the winds of life keep blowing in diverse directions.

Your Turn:

Do you find it hard not to listen to everyone’s feedback? What is your method of filtering that which you follow, and that which you let go?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions below!

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