Blog readers are important but they are not sacred.
The other day I was reading through the comments after a pretty good blog post and noticed that one of the readers disagreed with the writer. Within minutes, the blogger penned a profuse apology, articulated a passionate clarification, and threw in a few Hail Mary’s to boot. A few minutes later, the reader returned and absolved the blogger of any sin and all was well in the world.
Or was it?
You see, at times, you need to have a strong opinion and stick to it, even if your readers disagree.
Stand Up For Yourself or Sit Down and Shut Up
Your opinion defines your approach, your expertise, and your perspective. It makes you unique. That’s why you should never write something you aren’t willing to fight for.
Read “French Kissing With The Dark Lord of Blogging PR” for an example of me sticking my neck out for Ryan Holiday – an awesome thinker and the single biggest contributor to me losing over 100 subscribers within 2 hours.
But sometimes bloggers take this a bit too far – in the wrong direction.
They grope for the mushy middle and stick to writing that is bland, non-confrontational, and safe. They report on the news. They champion the third person. They make sure that no one mistakes them for being anything more than tasty, warm, milk-toast.
That’s not what your readers want.
They want a yardstick to measure their opinions against. They want to know if you are worth following. They want to know if you have guts or will you cut bait and run. Think about it, does anyone want to share a wishy-washy post that manages to use 700 words to say…nothing? Or do you want a crystal clear clarion call that forces you to decide where you stand?
The Day I Learned How to Pi*s in the Wind
When I started Pushing Social, I offended a pretty popular reader. After ripping me a new one, he threatened to “out” me to his vast web audience unless I publicly recanted. I did what you would expect – I turned tail and ran for the hills.
I pulled up the blog post that offended my reader and began editing. After all, I thought, I didn’t need the negative publicity.
I still remember my finger hovering over the return key. Thank God I didn’t publish my revision.
I erased it, started a new email, puffed out my chest, and told the reader to go _bleep__ himself. I was right. He was wrong. He didn’t appreciate my newly minted pair of brass ones and proceeded to rip me up and down on his web show.
Thank God. My traffic went up and many of those readers are still hanging around Pushing Social today.
You can’t ease yourself into a position of authority, credibility, and expertise. You will have to kick down a few intellectual doors. You might unintentionally rub folks the wrong way. But you should never back down – unless you are wrong. Then do what Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook did and say “I Screwed Up” and move on.
Your backbone will inspire your audience and embolden your fans. You’ll influence more, sell more, and achieve more. This is what makes blogging such a powerful marketing tool. Don’t be afraid to use it.
“I dedicate this post to my Mom who taught me which fights to start and my Dad taught me which ones to finish”