Some bloggers shy away from controversy, while others fully embrace it. I tend to be one to embrace controversy, because I believe in blunt honesty and speaking my mind. Some people find that being vocal about their opinions on their blog can be difficult for them. Here are a few reasons some bloggers may choose to take the “safe route”:
- They’re afraid that their readers won’t come back if they don’t like a more controversial blog post.
- They’re afraid of nasty comments and flames being left on their blog.
- They don’t want to be the center of attention if their controversial blog post ignites a viral debate.
- They’re afraid of alienating fellow bloggers that they’ve built a network with.
- They’re afraid of the potential of losing advertisers (especially if they monetize their blog with private ad sales).
I won’t say that those concerns aren’t legitimate. But if you want to be successful in blogging (just as if you want to be successful in any other kind of business), you have to be willing to take risks if you want to reap the greatest rewards. Controversial posts aren’t a bad thing, as long as you handle them as objectively as possible and as professionally as possible (and that doesn’t mean you have to be “nice”). Here are some of the benefits of writing controversial blog posts:
- They can bring in a lot of traffic, including repeat traffic from new readers who share your opinions or like your style.
- Controversial blog posts often work well as pieces of link bait. They have a natural viral quality about them… if people hate what you say, they’ll link to you when they bitch about you on their own blog; if they love what you say, they’ll link to you to show support against all the naysayers. I know “link bait” has become a dirty little word in some circles, but as long as your posts honestly reflect what you believe, it doesn’t matter what you call them – we’re not talking about sensationalist headlines, gossip, or BS posts solely for links here.
- They give you an idea of which other bloggers in your niche or industry share your concerns, opinions, and values, and can serve as a springboard into a networking opportunity with like-minded folks. They also give you an idea of people with different values and opinions, letting you know who to talk to for a constructive argument to hear opposing points.
- Even if people get utterly pissed off with what you have to say in a controversial blog post, as long as you’re careful from a legal standpoint, the animosity will usually blow over.
- Controversial blog posts help you to build a reputation as an expert in the niche, if you can write both controversially and intelligently. They can even lead to job offers from clients who enjoy your style.
If you want to be truly comfortable as a blogger, it’s important that you be truly comfortable with yourself, and your opinions, first. Controversy doesn’t have to be edgy – it’s about sharing your thoughts on your side of an issue that interests your readers. Here’s how I look at it – if you have nothing to “say,” why on earth are you even blogging?