If you make a list of the most popular blogs on the internet, you are likely to find that they all have a few things in common. They are all likely to be updated regularly, have posts full of valuable information and wit, and they are likely to be written by someone that takes the time to converse with his/her readers whenever possible.
One other thing that they are all likely to have in common is that they are written by highly opinionated people. And they are written by people who crave, rather than shy away from controversy. Although the popularity of such personalities is certainly warranted, there has been a nasty side effect.
The side effect that I am referring to is that many blogging tips articles now preach the importance of controversy. And although controversy is a good thing to aim for, said articles are leading to many budding bloggers learning about the power of controversy well before they have learned about the importance of credibility.
They then start down a well trodden but ultimately pointless road. Instead of blogging about their own beliefs, they just do their best to disagree with everyone else’s. After all, controversy is controversy, right?
Well, unfortunately it isn’t. And anyone with the slightest bit of sense can tell the difference between a troll and a valid point maker. One contributes real value to the blogosphere and the other is one of the many reasons that bloggers are yet to receive the same levels of respect as journalists.
So what’s the solution? Should those new to blogging refrain from posting controversial posts to get themselves noticed? Should they sit on the fence whenever they are discussing a hotly debated topic? The answer is no, they should just learn how to be controversial and credible at the same time. Why I just so happen to have a few tips already prepared.
Back Up What You Claim
Whenever you go on a rant that culminates in a controversial opinion, always include facts that demonstrate how you reached your conclusion. When you include facts, it proves that you have a point, even if your readers don’t necessarily agree with you. It also shows that you have actually put some thought into what you are saying. You might be surprised by how many people will respect your right for an opinion, provided you show that it is an informed one.
Narrow the Scope of Your Argument
General posts about groups of individuals or types of events are not only impossible to quantify, they can also be misinterpreted very easily. If you choose to blog about how you disagree with someone, include both that persons name and the exact quotes that he/she used. When you do this, you are making a specific argument that people can either agree with or disagree with. On the other hand, when you write a post about the group of people that said individual belongs to and/or the general attitude of those people, you are not really making a valid argument. You are quite simply, just ranting.
Believe in What You Are Saying
If you decide that you want to post something controversial, don’t just search Google for something random to disagree with. You need to make sure that any controversial claim you make has two important characteristics.
- The first is that you can make a valid argument for what you are claiming. (consider the two points above).
- The second is that you actually believe in what you are saying.
Why is it important to believe what you are saying? Because if what you say is controversial enough (and your blog is popular), people will criticise you. And if you want to keep your credibility, you cannot back down.
Never Change Sides
Which brings us to the final tip for utilising controversy without losing credibility, when you say something, you have to own it. Even if what you said is completely ridiculous, if you back down after you’ve said it, you are going to look even worse.
There is nothing wrong with having haters and there is nothing wrong with people thinking that you are mad. But when your readers start believing that you can be swayed by popular opinion, they will lose all respect for you.
If you do not have the courage of your convictions, you are not just going to be considered controversial, you are also going to be considered a fool. And very few fool’s have popular blogs.
Sebastian Cowie has been blogging on various topics for more than 5 years and has always managed to keep his followers when writing about controversies. He also believes that bloggers can make money by investing in targeted email lists.