Today, I want to talk about the first of those, writing controversial content.
Now, you may not consider yourself a controversial person, or may not feel the topic of your blog is necessarily controversial. After all, you’re using your blog for business purposes, not ranting about politics or pop-culture. If that’s the case, this post may not be for you. But, if you’ve got a couple of minutes let me elucidate a couple of things for you to consider.
First, one of the chief cornerstones of blogging traditionally is strength of voice. Blogging became a popular medium for self-expression precisely because it bypassed the “command-and-control” editorial sanitization process and gave thought-leaders a means to express themselves directly to the public, warts and all.
There are a number of business blogs that do exactly that. GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons often addresses controversial issues in his Hot Points blog, many that have nothing to do with hosting websites, which is GoDaddy’s business.
Another post that did have bearing on web hosting was an expose of GoDaddy competitor Network Solutions.
Bob takes a no-holds barred approach and it frequently gets him in hot water. It also gets him a bevy of readers. Just look at the number of comments on those two posts. One got 65 and the other an amazing 207!
I’m not suggesting that you be controversial for controversy’s sake. But, if you have strong opinions about matters related to your business or industry, then laying it out on your blog is one way to gain a following. The blogosphere thrives on controversy, much the same way news media thrives on reporting outrageous stories.
Another blogger who is unafraid of tackling tough issues is my friend and client Chris Mercer, CEO of Mercer Capital. On his Mercer on Value blog Chris often takes strong stances. Yet, he doesn’t do it just to hear his mouth move so to speak, but to provide thoughtful, unabashed insight and opinion to the world of business valuation and investment.
While yet to achieve the same type of noteriety as Bob Parsons, Chris’ audience is growing and his opinions are being read by other leaders in the industry as well as interested investors and business owners.
If you’re still with me, let me cite one more example. Several months ago direct marketing guru Robert Bly wrote an article decrying the efficacy of blogs for direct marketing purposes. I, along with fellow business blog consultant Debbie Weil, challenged Bob to start a blog, and start a blog he did. His very first post, which was itself controversial, received well over 60 comments! His blog (yes, he’s continuing to blog) is widely read and widely commented on.
Controversy is not for everyone. Some of us, me included, are too squeamish to throw punches. But, if you have a thick enough skin to receive criticism (and you WILL be criticized) and feel strongly enough about issues related to your business or industry, then lay it out there on your blog and let the chips fall where they may. Who knows, you may find yourself receiving a goodly following. At the very least, it’s one strategy you can deploy to increase your traffic.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about another, persistently following a topic.