On this Monday take a second to think about who’s making the news these days. Chances are, most of them have been known to stir the pot. They aren’t known for shying away from controversy.
Companies, as a rule, like to avoid controversy. Trust me, as a content copywriter, I’m amazed at what they consider controversial. There are lots of reasons for this – corporate policy, fear, lack of imagination, lawyers etc. But there are ways of attracting attention by saying something that pushes the line or begs a question without jeopardizing your brand. The key is backing up whatever you say with your expertise, because if you write a controversial blog post, you know you’re going to get some comments.
One way to spice up things is to have a headline that looks like it goes counter to current consensus. For example, your headline could read “Organics Don’t Live Up to Hype.” You know that’s going to cause a reaction from those who believe in organic food. In your article you would not denigrate organics, but point out all of the false hype that’s out there and then carefully state your official position of the value of organics.
HubSpot used this tact recently with their webinar and post “Why Social Media is BS.” Basically their position was that social media marketing works best when it’s integrated, but does not work as well when it’s separate from other marketing efforts. The title drew thousands of people to their webinar and the comments prior to the webinar showed that many were ready to counter the premise.
One thing to avoid with controversy is directly attacking your competition. If your competitor makes a product in a certain way, don’t write a piece with a headline that infers that way of making products is wrong. You’re going to open yourself up to them doing the same to you. However, if a competitor knocks your way of making things, that gives you an opening to make your case. Now that’s a controversy that you can win (provided, of course, that you’re right).
Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland
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