The value of trolls, haters and spammers - Cendrine Marrouat Photography

Years ago, a troll invited himself to one of my interviews on Twitter.

Answering questions from a host and an audience can be stressful. But add a disgruntled individual to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for failure.

Depending on your reaction, and even if you are completely in the right, you could put your reputation in jeopardy within minutes.

I am not going to share the details of what happened because it was a very long conversation -- and I do not want to give this individual any publicity.

However, here are the two arguments that he used to try to destabilize me:

- I do not know anything about content curation. Apparently, doing it on your own blog is akin to content scraping and aggregation. "Content curation is abused by plagiarizers," he said.

- I faked my credentials - The fact that you could not find anything on my old blog before 2011 does not mean that I lied about my experience as a blogger. I opened and closed several blogs in my career, until I finally discovered what my audience needed from me. Plus, I deleted and re-purposed a lot of the content I wrote before 2011.

How did I deal with his comments?

I used humor and the conversation with other participants to keep myself grounded. I also made sure that I remained polite and professional at all time.

When the guy realized that I would not lose my cool, he let me be.

After the interview, I received several DMs from people who mentioned that they were very impressed with the way I had handled him. They also said that it was not his first attempt at destabilizing women. He seems to enjoy making false accusations.

So, what is the lesson?

You cannot please the entire world. No matter what you do or say, there will always be someone, somewhere, who will take a malicious pleasure in questioning your motives and credentials, or even dragging your name through mud.

My best bet is that they are just calling for attention. It has nothing to do with you or what you do. They want some of the spotlight. So, they attack anything they see.

The way you handle trolls and haters will say a lot about you as a person.

Take a deep breath. Be nice and polite, and use a little humor to alleviate the negativity.

Should they continue pestering you, end on a respectful note. Wish them a great day and stop responding.

Trolls and haters can teach you a lot about customer service and business. If you can handle them without losing your cool and mind, you will be able to emerge unscathed from pretty much any difficult situation you encounter in social media.

And you will gain the respect of your audience in the process. 

Want valuable feedback on your website or blog? Pay attention to lazy pitches!

When I was a fullt-time social media blogger, instructor and coach, I received hundreds of emails every day. Between newsletters, new articles by my favorite blogs and publications, press releases, pitches from marketers and bloggers, and inquiries from potential clients, I would spend more than half of my work day in my Inbox. So, I had become very proficient in the art of skimming.

One day, an email that would usually get deleted within half a second fell between the cracks. It came from a self-proclaimed professional writer whose goal was to have his guest post published on my old social media blog. Not only was the topic he offered to cover completely irrelevant, but his pitch was also full of typos. And to make matters worse, he addressed me at Team

I have a nickname for people like him: "serial submitters". They are paid to reach out to hundreds of  bloggers daily using the same formatted message. And they are so pressed for time that they do not even check names or topics. I know because I once tricked one into telling me how things worked.

I may receive irrelevant pitches all the time, this one hit a nerve for some reason. However, as I did not want to lose my cool, I decided to turn off my computer and take a break.

It is scientifically proven that the best ideas are triggered by monotonous activities. I always have mine when I am showering. So, that is exactly what I did.

Within a couple of minutes, a question popped up in my mind: What if the problem actually came from my blog? Maybe the guest posting guidelines are not specific enough.

I was back on the computer shortly afterwards to review my guest posting page. Something hit me right away: I only had an example of great pitch there. Important information was missing, including a call to action. So, I started with this: "Kindly read this page before sending me your pitch".

Then, I wrote down a list of things I found particularly annoying in similar pitches:

- Misspellings (including butchering my name);

- Repeat emails in case of non-response on my end;

- Self-proclaimed guru-ism or greatness;

- Condescending or pleading tone;

- Exaggerated praises of my work;

- The "I won’t charge you a penny for my article" technique

When I edited the page, I included this entire list and additional information.

The number of lazy pitches decreased overnight. It was cut but at least 60% in a matter of days! Actually, I even started receiving emails in which people actually shared some fascinating details about themselves and why they had started blogging!

As an entrepreneur, you should pay close attention to the lazy pitches you receive. Why? Because they actually contain invaluable feedback on what is wrong with your website or blog. This is feedback that lands in your inbox without you having to request it. And best of all, it is free!

So, the next time you get annoyed by a "serial submitter", try to focus on the benefits of that email instead. They may not be obvious as first, but if you learn to read between the lines, you could end up being able to serve your audience better than ever and get the attention you deserve!

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