Use Controversy to Drive Traffic to Your Blog … Without Using Tabloid Tactics
This is a guest post by Catie Keeler. Catie is the primary researcher and writer for mortgagerates.info and her current focus for the site involves 15 year mortgage rates.
Creating compelling content is a great way to get traffic to your site. One of the best ways to create compelling content is to write about a controversy or to take a controversial stance on an issue.
When done poorly, however, delving into controversy can lead you to using tabloid-style tactics such as making exaggerated claims just for shock value or insinuating things that aren’t true just to get noticed.
There is a way to use controversy to pull in readers without having to use these kinds of tabloid-style tactics. Here’s how:
1. Deliver on Your Promises.
How many headlines have you seen like this: “Find out how AdSense might be killing your blog!” or “5 reasons you should stop using Twitter”? Then you read the article and find out the author is actually promoting AdSense and Twitter.
Many writers use controversial headlines or claims to draw readers in, but then present a totally different argument. It’s a bait-and-switch, and once your readers figure out what you’re doing, they’ll tire of it and move on. Deliver on what you say you’re going to deliver in your headline.
2. Add Meaningful Insight.
Don’t stir up controversy just to stir it up. All you’ll manage to accomplish is participating in a giant game of “he said, she said” – perpetuating the same tired claims and arguments that have been recycled on blog after blog participating in the “debate.”
If you want to really stand out, try adding meaningful insights to the conversation. Make a new observation. Change the conversation by discussing other relevant topics or pointing out the underlying issues behind the controversy. Establish yourself as an authority and show people what they’re missing in the conversation.
3. Know When to Walk Away.
Some topics of controversy will cause more problems for you than opportunities for traffic. Participating in conversations about some topics will just make you seem desperate or sensational or petty. You may even offend some readers by bringing the discussion to your blog and giving the controversy even more air time.
Recognize when discussing a controversy will turn off your readers and walk away. Any traffic that you might get from starting such conversations will be mitigated by the blow you suffer to your reputation and your credibility with your readers.
While controversy is often a great way to draw attention to your blog and bring you more traffic, it can also damage your blog’s image if you don’t engage in it appropriately. Make sure you are adding meaningful insights to the conversation and that you are delivering on your promises. Otherwise, opt out of the conversation.
How do you handle controversy on your blog? Share your thoughts in the comments!