How To Recover From A Scathing Blog Post
Jun 5 2008
Just over a year ago, we officially launched Babble Soft’s first web and mobile application (then called Baby Manager, now called Baby Insights). A prominent blogger, Jennifer Laycock, whose personal blog is called The Lactivist, a popular blog on breastfeeding, saw the release and created a post that made me feel shocked, anxious, depressed, angry, and misunderstood at the same time. Jennifer also happens to be the founder, editor, and a writer for Search Engine Guide, a widely read blog on all things search.
Fortunately, soon after discovering Jennifer’s post, I contacted Connie Reece who blogs at Every Dot Connects. Connie helped me set up the first incarnation of this blog and gave me advice on how to get started blogging. She is a veteran blogger and a social media guru. I took several deep breaths, typed up something that I felt would be a good comment to Jennifer’s post and sent it to Connie for a sanity check. She gave me a few recommendations and I posted it.
Turns out that comment led to a few other comments and then an amicable online relationship with Jennifer when we both realized that we were supporters and donators to our local Mother’s Milk Banks. Jennifer and I now follow each other on twitter and read each other’s blogs. [As an aside, we offer all eligible milk bank donors a free subscription to Babble Soft applications to help them keep track of their pumped milk!]
Last week, Connie decided to create a case study on the incident and did a post called Case Study: Engagement Turns Critics into Allies. Where she outlines what happens:
Babble Soft, provider of Web and mobile software for parents of newborns
A press release for a new product launch was picked up by an influential blogger who wrote a very negative review.
Every Dot Connects worked with Babble Soft on a strategy to engage the blogger in constructive conversation.
The blogger apologized for the tone of the review and continued to interact with Babble Soft founder via her blog, email and, later, on Twitter and other social networks.
Well soon after, Mack Collier who blogs at The Viral Garden and Marketing Profs did a post about it too called Worried About Bloggers Dissing Your Company? Read This and he starts with:
“Babblesoft founder Aruni Gunasegaram found herself in a position that any company would dread. She had launched a new product that she had hoped would be well-received by her target audience, mothers who breastfeed their children. Unfortunately, the product was immediately reviewed, and shredded, by Jennifer Laycock, a very popular mommy-blogger who blogs at The Lactivist. What happened next is a great lesson for companies wanting to handle crisis-management in the blogosphere.”
Then, Jennifer decided to write her own post about it. I was just beside myself with 3 blog mentions from 3 prominent bloggers within the span of a few days! Jennifer called her post Bloggers Need To Accept Responsibility Too and she says:
“Last year Aruni was launching her new parenting software. I happened to pick up the press release right as it went across the wires and had some pretty harsh words for the idea on my Lactivist blog.
‘Apparently, the company feels that there’s an untapped market in parents with extreme breastfeeding OCD issues, so they’ve made available some snazzy (I use the word loosely) new software that will allow these Ezzo-wannabes the absolute, total scheduling control that they long for.’
It got worse though. In fact, rereading that post I made more than a year ago I found myself chuckling and wincing at the same time. Chuckling because some lines in my post were really funny, but wincing as I realized just how biting and scathing my critique was. I’m generally a pretty easy going and nice person. I don’t tend to like to rely on snark, and yet there I was, throwing out snark like I was Perez Hilton.”
“Ultimately, many of my readers ended up checking out the software and seeing the value in it for certain situations and while I still think the software’s a little on the anal side for the average mom, I fully recognize how helpful it could be for moms who DO need to track things.
Even more important to the story is the relationship that developed because of the way Aruni responded. Aruni became a regular reader of my blog and I became a reader of hers. We follow each other on Twitter and we’ve exchanged quite a few emails over the past year. Not long after the incident, I ended up sending her an email to share how refreshed I was at the way she handled things.
‘I want to compliment you on the way you handled your response to my blog post. I was pretty hard on you guys and you came in with class and style and really did a great job of turning the situation around to make yourself look good. I work in online reputation management and it’s rare to see a company respond so well. Just thought you should know that you gained my respect with that.’“
So needless to say, I am honored at their mentions and I have learned a lot in the past year. I hope I have at least become a better press release writer. 😉
Personally, I think the biggest lesson that I have learned over the year is that although Jennifer’s choice of words were hard to read, her sentiments are reflective of what most new moms and parents think. It’s not easy to introduce a new way of doing and looking at things to the truly oldest and arguably the most important profession in the world: parenthood!
I think our applications can help a new mom having trouble with breastfeeding reach the other side of the breastfeeding bridge. It can help her and her family understand patterns, positions, pumping schedules, etc. But at first blush, most people don’t think of what we do that way. The reasons why that’s the case would be a good topic for another case study! It always takes longer and costs more money to build a business than anyone ever thinks when they first start out. Hence, my recent Fork In The Road post.
“Or in the words of Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.””
I saw it as I was finishing up this post and it made me smile laugh out loud!Author: Aruni | Filed under: blogging, breastfeeding, case study, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, milk banking, parenting, twitter | Tags: blog reactions, connie reece, jennifer laycock, mack collier, Mother's Milk Bank, The Lactivist | 13 Comments »