How to deal with cynics & trolls

Mar 27, 2021 2:28 am


Because not every smartass comment is a bad one. Here's what to look for...

Hello Content Creators!

Yeah, I know. It's Friday afternoon.

I'd like to say my timing is intentional, but it worked out. Because this week's post is food for thought, so I'd encourage you to use the weekend to ponder how you interpret what you see in the comments.

Particularly when they're talking about you.

Or, more specifically, talking about your brand.

I'm sure you've all seen those snarky comments that call out brands for doing something stupid. Or launching a dud of a product. Or, in the bike industry, introducing a new standard of DUBious merit. <-- inside joke

Some comments are just mean, or trolling for a response. Ignore those. But...

You need to pay attention to the cynics.

If you haven't read The Art of Possibility, add that to your wish list right now.

Here's the relevant quote for today:

"The cynic, after all, is a passionate person who does not want to be disappointed again."

So, when a comment or feedback form or social post seems cynical, just know that at one point that person cared about your brand.

Which you, as a brand manager or editor or anyone who puts content out, should interpret as:

Maybe they feel unheard. Or unappreciated for their brand loyalty. Maybe they just need to feel heard and appreciated and validated as a customer or fan.

But what do I do?

On Bikerumor, my cycling tech blog, we always encourage brands to speak up and communicate through the comments. The best thing they (and you) can do is to answer people's questions and let them know you value their opinions.

If they sound cynical, ask why.

Tell them thanks for their comment, then pull a Tim Cook and say "The way we see it..." and explain why you're doing it the way you're doing it.

I can't tell you how many times our commenters have replied with "Sorry, I was just having a bad day."

Example, please.

Let's use price increases as an example, because chances are your brand is about to raise prices like everyone else in the world.

Someone will complain, saying it's a money grab and "you're using the pandemic as a guise to charge more."

OPTION A: You could do nothing, or say something lame like "it's supply chain issues", which they won't believe and you'll get hammered for. Equally lame would be to make something up, like calling shrimp tails sugar clusters.

OPTION B: You could give people more credit than they're used to (which, counterintuitively makes you look even better) and actually explain what the supply chain issues are, describe the increase in cost of materials globally, or that you've increased pay for hourly workers, and explain what you're doing to keep things as low as possible because you understand that it sucks when prices go up.

Trust me, you will be applauded for your reply, and the cynic will become a bigger fan than ever.

(Get this from a friend? Subscribe here.)

A Recent Content Project


This one's not mine, and it's really not even a content project, but it builds on the lesson above: Keep it honest, and explain where you come from.

I follow #vanlife on Instagram, and this post from @michelle.lawrencee popped up.

Read the caption first.

How much more do you think her 175k followers trust her after reading that?

How much more authentic is she to her fans?

How valuable is that to sponsors?

Also, if you have teenagers, have them read that. Because Hustle.

(Did you get this email from a friend? Subscribe here.)

Cool Stuff I've Found


Trust me on this one. It's worth your time. I'm on my second read through right now. The Art of Possibility shows a new way of seeing others and how they affect your life...and how you can affect theirs.

Whether it's dealing with family, employees, customers, or internet commenters, I promise you'll come away with a new perspective that positively affects your relationship with others.

Get in their heads,


Tyler Benedict

PS - Just a heads up, if you're a content creator, or know someone who does a lot of photo and video, subscribe to my YouTube channel ... I have some really cool product review and creative hacks that you'll love coming up. In the meantime, you can watch every session from my Peak Content Summit strategy conference for free!

PPS - If you like this, please forward it to a fellow content creator or marketer... Thanks!

image image image image image

*Any items, services, or products mentioned in these emails are provided solely because I think you'll like them. Some links might be affiliate links, which earns me a small commission and helps support all the free content. Thanks!