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.