cage fight picture

Does a Blog Have to be Confrontational to be Successful?

Over a lot of years of blogging, as well as reading and hearing the opinions of others about the subject, I have formed the view that there is a not insignificant number of people who believe that unless a blog is confrontational, argumentative, or otherwise aimed at provoking controversy, it is not “real” blogging.

A corollary is this would be that if you want to be successful as a blogger you will have to create controversial posts.

I don’t agree.

And in not agreeing, I am well aware that controversial posts often get huge numbers of comments and thus potentially enhance the blog’s ranking for search engines, which can in turn provide tangible and/or intangible benefit to the blogger.

But it is not essential.

I’m by no means saying we should never be provocative, never raise or comment on controversial matters. And sometimes having a good old rant might reassure your readers that you are human too!

I’m talking rather about a style which is deliberately, consistently pugnacious.

In short, coat dragging

Some bloggers seem to delight in it. Just as some people in the offline world seem to be unable to get through the day without picking a fight with someone.

But if that’s not you, and if you prefer a less confrontational existence, there is not only no need to try to be a confrontational blogger. There are actually very good reasons why you should not even try.

For one thing, confrontational bloggers have to be able to handle – and I would guess actually enjoy – dealing with the acerbic, even quite offensive comments their posts will no doubt attract. It is well known that commenters, especially if you allow them to be anonymous, can be incredibly nasty.

But can you be non-confrontational, non-provocative, and still be a successful blogger?

No question.

And if we are talking about blogging for business, especially in a business-to-business context, a confrontational, snarky style may actually be counter-productive.

Many excellent, well-regarded blogs are characterised not by their being provocative but by being consistently informative and/or entertaining.

Some examples of successful bloggers who are not in-your-face provocative: Darren Rowse at ProBlogger, Amy Porterfield, Brian Clark at Copyblogger, Shai Coggins,  Chris Brogan or Ricardo Bueno.

They are all great sharers of information, thoughtful, informative and easy to read. I never get the sense that any of them is trying to pick a fight or be controversial for the sake of the “ratings”.

And as Brad Shorr puts it in a very thoughtful post, Are Provocative Posts a Good Idea, “The worst thing you can do as a blogger is try to be something you’re not.  “

To conclude by taking a higher level view of blogging and where it can fit in our plans, so that the whole “blog provocatively” concept can be seen in a broader context, I love the advice about blogging offered by Amber Naslund in her very frank and sharing post From Successful Social Media Blog to…Failure?

Don’t make everyone else’s goals into your own unless they fit where you want to be. Remember why you’re doing it. Care about something bigger than the numbers. Don’t believe the hype.

Image credit: Amateur MMA Fight, picture by fightlaunch via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The following two tabs change content below.
Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).