As an Indie Business owner or any kind of public figure, you must maintain at least one informational website that invites customers and other members of the public to engage around issues that are important to all of you. You want to avoid trying to control those discussions by doing things like refusing to allow comments from people who disagree with you. I see a lot of people make this mistake, thinking they can silence opposing opinions. All this does it highlight your own lack of transparency and authenticity. Instead of controlling the discussion, you want to lead and direct it. Watch this video to learn my D-A-P Principle for doing this.
The D-A-P Principle is easy to incorporate, and it will help your blog enjoy increased readership and make it more fun and informative for others to invest their time with you there. Here's the D-A-P Principle:
Disclose. Disclose your editorial policies, including when you will disallow or delete spam or comments that are mean-spirited, defamatory, nasty or otherwise aimed at humiliating or embarrassing another person. Also, make sure to disclose when anything you post at your blog is done in exchange for material benefit to you. Take a look at my Editorial Policies for examples of how you can do this.
Address. Address and and respond to as many comments as possible at your blog. This acknowledges your readers for taking time from their busy schedules to be with you and your readers. It also keeps your blog alive and vibrant. As the leader, you need to be present at your blog. If you are not there, don't be surprised when no one else is their either.
Promote. Promote the people who take the time to comment at your blog. Share their comments on Twitter, FaceBook and in future blog posts. This lets other people know that there's an interesting discussion going on at your blog, and they are invited to participate too. More importantly, it promotes the people who use their energy to share their ideas and opinions at your blog.
As a leader, you are responsible for multiple discussions stemming from your business. A blog is a great way to tie all of these discussions together, but you should never try to control the discussion. A blog is defined in large part by the existence of open discussion. When the editor of a blog squashes that, the blog becomes something else. Propaganda maybe. But not a blog.
The better practice is to disallow comments that violate clearly stated Editorial Policies, approve the rest, and then address and promote them so others can join an informative conversation and share their ideas and opinions. It's not just important, it's also fun!
Question: Do you agree? Disagree? What did I miss? How do you direct useful discussion at your blog?