Bloggers Should Not Get Paid—Ever

by Carly Schuna

The fact that employers actually shell out money to “writers” to produce blog entries is heinous. In most cases, those entries are little more than stream-of-consciousness, poorly structured heaps of drivel studded with more grammatical errors than a chicken-pox-laden child has itches. If a writer can’t (or, worse, doesn’t care to) find success in the respectable print market, that writer doesn’t deserve to have an audience OR a paycheck. Period.

Ah, controversy. Of course I don’t actually believe any of the statements in the paragraph above, but what if I did? What if I even pretended I did? Would a blog I was writing get more hits and more comments?

You bet it would.

Consider this: why were you interested in reading past the headline of this entry? What if I had chosen a headline such as “Blogging is a Good Idea”? Would you still have wanted to read the whole thing—or did this post catch your eye just because it was inflammatory?

Controversy is something of which the blogosphere needs more. I’m not saying you should all go out and write blog posts declaring things such as “Deb and Jodee Suck!” (goodness knows FWJ has had to deal with enough of that), but blogging is a unique opportunity to present and discuss alternate viewpoints on a variety of topics. Instead of posting something that the reader might expect, switch it up every so often and work to craft an intelligent, well-thought-out entry that is also controversial. It could net you a far larger audience and a more successful post all around.

The fine line, of course, is positioned between inciting and attacking. Inciting debate and providing good reasons to back up your point of view (or presumed point of view, if you’re playing devil’s advocate) are excellent—attacking a person or asserting ignorance to insult a person are not. Learn the line, and work to fall on the inciting side every time.

Controversy is also likely to increase your traffic and linkbacks/trackbacks. If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan and you’re surfing the Web for blog posts about everyone’s favorite boy wizard, are you more likely to stop and leave a supporting comment on a post that basically says “Harry Potter rocks!” or leave a comment defending your beliefs on a post that (intelligently, of course) slams Harry Potter into the ground?

A couple of fightin’ words are often a good idea. Think about it.

Comments

  1. @ Candidate #4: I laughed out loud when I read this post. I agree that a bit of controversy does lead to more visitors and it may also give the reader an alternate point of view to consider, which is a good thing in my book. That’s probably why there aren’t more “Jodee and Deb are ladies and scholars and just all-round good people” posts around. ;)

  2. Nice job. You had me a little worried there for a second.

  3. LOL! Yes, didn’t anyone tip you off to my secret mission of undermining your blog and alienating all your readers?

  4. Good post. It’s one thing if a post really is “little more than stream-of-consciousness, poorly structured heaps of drivel studded with more grammatical errors”—if the writer is truly incompetent, well, they’re a waste of money and they’re bringing the industry as a whole down to a nice new low. I don’t think we should be encouraging terrible writers any more than the bar encourages terrible lawyers. ;)

    But, as you’re saying, if it’s just assumed that because it’s a blog the writing must be crap, rather than incompetence being observed, it’s a ridiculous assumption and we should all gang up on the assumer and make some assumptions of our own. Like, where he or she might feel the most pain!

  5. That is such a great idea! I mean, who still believes you can get more bees with honey than vinegar, anyway? I have actually used this concept before in other writing to engage the reader ( you know, for those subjects that are just boring upon seeing its name).
    Anywho, I think I will try it! I want to see if it increases my traffic.

    By the way, I love this site! Jodee and Deb you are great! From a long-time reader, but first time commenter.

  6. There’s nothing like a good “hook” to get your reader interested.

  7. Though I wouldn’t say they’re “poorly structured,” editorial pages for years put in the occassional inflammatory (as long as it doesn’t violate decency rules) commentary on the editorial or op ed pages in order to get responses.

    I remember the editorial board (I was sports editor, so not involved in these decisions) discussing this when letters to the editor had fallen off. I’m out of newspapers now, but would suspect this has fallen off as a practice because there’s no room for many letters to the editor as print pubs continue to shrink in size.

  8. Hey, title is half the battle. I’m not a huge fan of headers that are nothing but a summary of the entrails of my blog– but that’s already been pointed out in my blog.

    Controversy is fun.

  9. Joel, agreed. I would say the stomach has the potential for feeling the most pain. Or perhaps the toes.

    LaShon, I am honored that my post inspired you to comment. Re: boring topics, I so know what you mean. A little controversy can really spice things up. Although I have yet to read a piece that really gets my goat on a topic like choosing a new model of refrigerator.

    Rhonda, right on! Somehow your use of the word “hook” is setting off all kinds of pirate associations in my mind right now, BTW. I can’t get the facade of Jack Sparrow out of my head.

    Phil, yeah, I used to work in print newspapers, too, so I know of that phenomenon. It’s too bad so many of them are shrinking… I really love newspapers, and I always pore over the editorial pages.

    #12, that’s right! Making the blood boil is a great way to save on heating costs during the colder months.

  10. #4: hey and I live in a giant Victorian house with nearly nonexistent insulation. I generate heat wherever I can. ;)

  11. Whoa, #12! I think you should invite all of your fellow writers over for a shindig sometime.

  12. It always makes me giggle when people use Harry Potter as an analogy.

    This is a great post and I actually agree with what you’re saying even though I tend to hate controversy. I think it’s because I read so much of it, it actually starts to get to me after a while. I blog about autism and hence read a lot about autism. Some of it gets pretty nasty. When it’s a topic close to home, that can get a bit wearing.

  13. Andrea, yeah, I can see how that might be a different scenario. What bothers me most in situations such as the one I think you’re mentioning is when people who have no experience with the condition start spouting off uninformed opinions about it.

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