Controversy is not discussion – don’t be controversial

220px-Prince_ControversyRun a blog? Then you’ve probably received the very bad advice to “be controversial”. If you read a lot of blogs about blogging this little tidbit has been said and re-said by thousands of people who claim it will help improve readership, engagement and what have you.


Well, if you deal with messaging and campaign design a lot you start to focus on words and their meanings. And you do not want to be controversial online. Controversy is not discussion. You want to generate discussion. You want to explore contrary or counter-intuitive ideas. You want to offer unique perspective or question the status-quo.


Value, not “SHOCK” value

The difference between controversy and discussion is one of tone. Controversy is a headline that could be hurtful or infuriating. Telling someone to “be controversial” does not imply that they should provide value. Whereas telling people to generate discussion by exploring new ideas or questioning the wisdom of present standards directs them to find the value in contrary ideas.


Remember- you’re not here to be famous. You’re not here to have the most popular headline. You’re here to make good business. You’re here to have the most valuable headline.


So when you’re blogging- ignore controversy. People who say the moon landing was faked are controversial. The KKK is controversial. Neither of these groups offer any discourse of value.


But if you want your readers to engage, to spread your message by having organic discussions about it both in the comments of your platform and on their own networks? Generate discussion. Explore contrary ideas that demonstrates a discussion is there to have.


In short- if you’re not giving your readers anything more than shock value then you’re not helping grow your business. You’re just being a loudmouth.