Pick a Fight!
“I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!” ~ Monty Python
Ok, so that’s not exactly what I mean but who can pass up using a Python quote? Many people over the years have said that great writing elicits a response from the reader. You’ve probably read blogging advice (including some here) that talks about being controversial. Why? Because it stirs people up, get’s them fired up, and one way or the other, they’re going to react. Well, yesterday I decided to try that tactic out a bit over on JohnChow.com. As I said before, I really believe that John Chow dot Com has Jumped the Shark, however, there’s no denying the amount of traffic and readers he has. So, I made my way over and made my feelings known on a few topics, but the overarching theme to my comments was that John needs to get back to posting about making money online. Now I’m quite certain I ticked a few people off (several commentators came to his defense), however, I know for certain I also gained some exposure and a few readers from it as well. Just this morning Egonitron.com linked to me in his post which echoes my sentiments about Mr. Chow’s website as of late. Also, Erik from erikkarey.com mentioned he had also found my site via my comments yesterday.
As if a couple of new readers weren’t enough, I managed to comment my way up onto John’s Top Commentator list which gives me a nice link from a PR6 site which happens to be an authority (or at least used to be) in my niche. Granted, that link is probably temporary as it’s difficult to keep up that rate of commenting while still providing value to the conversation. But, over the course of the last two days (I started my comment spree Monday) I’ve received more than 40 referrals from JohnChow.com.
Picking a fight or being critical of a very popular figure can be a bit risky. You have to be careful to represent yourself well and try to walk the fine line between stirring up emotions and alienating potential readers. However, if you manage to pull it off, it can be quite rewarding.
What are you waiting for? Go pick a fight!
Update: As Erik correctly pointed out in the comments, you shouldn’t pick a fight just for the sake of picking a fight. You should be arguing or debating about a topic you legitimately care about and believe in. If you don’t have the passion about the topic, people will see right through it and you’ll probably just come across as a jerk. However, if you’re passionately discussing a cause or topic you feel strongly about, you’ll be seen as a champion for the cause. Another good point that I probably should have mentioned is don’t hesitate to admit when you’re wrong. If you overstep your bounds or say something you shouldn’t have, admit it and apologize. If it turns out you’re wrong about the issue, admit that as well. People respect someone willing to admit they are wrong much more than someone who thinks they’re never wrong.