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Is It a Good Idea to Write Controversial Blog Posts?

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The question of whether or not it’s a good idea to write controversial blog posts is – ironically enough – somewhat controversial in itself!

Undoubtedly, there are pros and cons to think about before setting pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard). We’d advise you to consider both sides carefully before making any decisions about what’s best for you and your blog.

Pros

Being controversial gets attention

Perhaps the biggest allure of controversial blog posts is that they’re great for generating clicks and shares, and as a result drive your traffic through the roof. If you want to attract new followers and get noticed fast, a controversial blog post can be a good way to achieve this.

Controversial blog posts stand out

A lot of bloggers prefer to ‘play it safe’ and shy away from controversy (we’ll go into the reasons why this is the case in the ‘cons’ section). If you want to stand out from the crowd and inject a bit of personality into your blog, taking a chance by posting about something controversial – especially something that not many other bloggers are talking about – might be the right way to go.

Sometimes you need to be controversial to stand up for what you believe in

We’ve left the most important point for last: sometimes, if you have a message you want to get out there, you’re going to have to be controversial, whether you want to be or not. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be writing controversial blog posts just for the sake of it, but because it’s something you feel passionate about. After all, you’re the one who’s going to have to fight you’re corner once the post is live and the backlash begins. Which brings us neatly to…

Cons

People will disagree with you

If you write something even vaguely controversial, you should steel yourself in advance for some level of negative reaction. If you’re worried you’re not thick-skinned enough to deal with this, you might want to disable comments on that particular post. If you do decide to engage with your dissenters, try to keep things civil, don’t take what people say personally, and – whatever you do – don’t feed the trolls!

Be prepared to lose followers

Publishing a controversial blog post might attract new followers, but is also likely to lose you some existing ones as well. If a follower doesn’t agree with you, there’s a chance they’ll unsubscribe (and they may well be none-too-kind when explaining the reason why as well).

Controversial blog posts can have real-world consequences

The short- and long-term effects of a controversial blog post can extend beyond the blogosphere. Before you publish anything, think long and hard about whether you’d be happy for this post to appear anytime someone Googles your name, perhaps even years from now. If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t publish it (or at least do so anonymously or using a pseudonym, although even these aren’t 100% foolproof). In a worst case scenario, a controversial stance might cause a brand to decide not to work with you, an employer not to hire you, or a university not to admit you.
Remember: once a post is online, it’s out of your hands – even if you decide to take it down later, there’s no guarantee it won’t be reproduced elsewhere. For this reason, it’s very important that you consider the consequences carefully before publishing a controversial blog post. If you decide it’s not for you, that’s fine.

If you do decide to go ahead, focus on writing the best post possible. Educate yourself about the issue at hand, construct a sound argument explaining your stance, and have someone you trust give you feedback beforehand.

Lastly, be careful not to get addicted to writing controversial posts. The attention and hits they generate can be addictive – but no one wants another Katie Hopkins!

What do you think about controversial blog posts? Please share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.

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