The most interesting blogs are opinionated and spark controversy and conversation.
It’s difficult to write a controversial blog when you write for business. For the business blogger, if you’re too controversial, you run the risk of alienating your audience.
However, if you’re too middle-of-the-road, you run the risk of being boring… and then alienating your audience.
So the question becomes: would you rather lose readers because you’re too controversial or too boring?
The answer (in my opinion) is that it is better to be too opinionated. However, if you are blogging to promote your business online, you want to protect the integrity of your brand in all cases.
Sometimes, when we’re passionate about something (which is good) we can become oblivious to other people’s feelings (which is bad).
The key to walking the line — to being controversial while maintaining your professionalism and protecting your brand — is to remember the reasons why you began business blogging in the first place.
Here are 5 reminders why you (hopefully) started your business blog and how you can remain true to these reasons while being aggressively opinionated or controversial:
One of the reasons you started a business blog was to earn respect as an entrepreneur. And the best way to earn respect is to give respect.
Respect your reader by showing them compassion and communicating with them on an intellectual level, regardless of what side of the fence they sit on.
When you voice a strong opinion on your business blog, there inevitably has to be a winning side and a losing side. Show the losing side that while they don’t have your vote, they have your sympathy.
You started your business blog to earn credibility as an expert in your industry. Therefore, always make sure you back up your ideas with facts.
Resist the temptation to be overly emotional (being passionate and overly emotional are totally different things).
Your reader doesn’t have to agree with you, but they should at least see where you’re coming from.
A good reason to start a business blog is to improve engagement with your target audience.
In other words, you want to start conversations — but only if they are meaningful conversations. That’s only going to happen if you stay relevant, intelligent and compassionate while avoiding any kinds of personal attacks or derogatory language.
Check your tone when you disagree with someone: you can disagree and remain respectful.
Don’t be controversial for the sake of controversy.
Remember that you started a business blog so that you can help people.
If helping people means taking a defiant stance and going against the status quo, then congratulations, you have a really great reason to be controversial. If you’re just staging a coup for the attention, people are either going to see right through you or you’ll attract the wrong crowd (i.e. other people who just want attention).
Which leads to my final point…
Attract the right people and filter out and forget the rest
You DON’T want everyone to love you and your business blog. You want the RIGHT people to love you and your blog.
Similarly, you don’t want to do business with everyone, you want to business with people who get what you and your business are all about.
Inevitably, your viewpoint is going to offend someone. Count on it. That’s a good thing because if you’re everything to everyone, guess what? You’re boring. Let these people drop off your reader list, you can’t sell to them anyway. Don’t be afraid of losing them.
Finally, if you’re afraid to voice an opinion on your business blog because you’re afraid of mean comments and harassment, that’s another story all together. If you followed the above guidelines and you’ve been respectful, credible, open to discourse, and intentionally helpful, then you’re covered. You’ve handled yourself like a responsible business blogger.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you won’t get “haters” and “trolls” because after all, the Internet is frequented by lots of negative people. Someone who hates on you is different from someone who merely disagrees with you because they attack you on a personal level for low-level excitement. Ignore these people.
I’ve read many blogs that I wholeheartedly disagreed with however, I continue to read these writers because they have my respect and if anything, they force me to think about things that would never occur to me if I only communicated with people who thought exactly like me. People who disagree aren’t bad people, they just disagree.
Maintain your professionalism at all times, stand your ground and if someone gets abusive, filter-delete-block them. Life is too short.