It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. If you want to get people’s attention, do something controversial. People love controversy. Controversy sells. It puts all eyes on you, and it can drive tons of traffic when used effectively in blogging.
But surely there are some rules for using controversy effectively as a blogger, right?
Don’t go to the well too often – Bloggers who are constantly trying to stir the pot rarely experience long-term success. Constantly publishing controversial content makes it difficult to build a loyal reader base because you’ll always be alienating people. It also comes across as desperate and contrived….in other words, fabricated. Mix in your controversial posts sparingly.
Believe what you say – You can always tell whenever someone is being controversial just for the sake of driving traffic and getting attention. No one takes that guy seriously. There’s nothing wrong with writing controversial material, you just need to make sure you actually believe the things you’re publishing. Stand behind your opinions. Don’t backpeddle once the s**t hits the fan.
Focus on facts over emotions – Yes, a controversial post will create a strong emotional response from readers, but you shouldn’t present your opinion based solely on what you feel. Back up your argument with sound logic. Explain yourself as simply and clearly as possible.
Have thick skin – If you’re going to be a controversial blogger, you’d better be prepared for the backlash. Sure, some people might agree with what you have to say, but the vocal majority will be those who vehemently disagree with you. Some of them might even get nasty about it. You have to stay involved in the conversation and defend your position without coming across as overly sensitive or trying to control the conversation too much.
Schedule controversial posts early in the week – A controversial post that really takes off can have people talking for days, but if you publish the post on a Friday, the conversation will die out over the weekend. By scheduling your controversial posts early in the week, you have plenty of time to promote it aggressively and get people talking and linking back to it throughout the week.
What’s your feeling about using controversy to drive blog traffic?