In blog writing, there’s a teeny tiny line between engaging and inflammatory. On one hand, blogs written with the intention of starting a fight are a surefire way to get a reaction. Readers flock to strong opinions and love to leave their own in the comments section. A fiery exchange between bloggers and readers can put a blogger and his or her blog on the map. And while this is all well and good for sports fans, television junkies and armchair politicos, knock-down drag-out battles of words simply don’t work when blogging for business. But does that mean company bloggers have to be boring drones with no opinions? Heck no!
“Engage not enrage” is a good motto to blog by. Your business and brand has opinions, so don’t be afraid to express them. Just stay out of shark-infested waters: Be wary of topics that are known for boiling the blood of blog readers. These topics include politics, harsh opinions of a beloved celebrity and religious beliefs (which, P.S., have no place on a business blog unless you’re in the religion business).
Other times, we blog writers can be surprised by the response a seemingly benign post elicits. For example, I recently read an interesting blog about environmentally-friendly products that don’t hurt the ozone layer. Tame and informational, it looked like the last thing that would tick people off. Nevertheless, readers battled back and forth over the legitimacy of the underlying presupposition of the existence of a human-caused climate crisis. Those kinds of things you have no control over, and at least that writer had hundreds of comments on their blog, so it was still at least a partial success.
That said, as long as you’re respectful and it actually has something to do with your blog, debate your little heart out. The ability to interact calmly and politely with readers is a good one to hone. Plus by standing your ground on a cause that is close to your company’s heart, you show readers that your brand has conviction and an identity.
So to recap: Smack talking for the sake of talking smack = bad. Informed and respectful, lively debates = good! Now go out there give your readers a piece of your mind!