I’m sure that you have read countless posts about how guest posting on other blogs is a great source of self-promotion and traffic.
And it's true, guest posting is a great tactic – just look at Danny Iny who has skyrocketed to internet stardom with guest posting as one of his main marketing methods.
But this isn’t going to be a general “you should be guest blogging” lesson.
A recent guest posting experience on Triberr-head-honcho Dino Dogan’s blog taught me the value of a controversial post.
I don’t mean controversial in terms of offending people. I mean controversial in terms of a divisive topic that will sure to spur a lot of back-and-forth discussion.
In this particular instance, I wrote a post criticizing the Occupy Wall Street movement. I knew that this was sure to get people on both sides of the argument chiming in to create a pretty good discussion.
After all was said and done, the post attracted 95 total comments (at the time of me writing this post) – good for fourth most in the history of Dino’s blog.
So how does this relate to self-promotion and traffic building?
It’s simple really, but something I didn’t realize until I experienced it myself…
Many bloggers display a list of most popular posts in their sidebar.
There are several benefits to this. You get some link juice to your individual posts, and it provides an extra navigation item for visitors to take a look at.
More often than not, these lists are powered by widgets, and “most popular” is synonymous with “most comments.”
So, if a blog incorporates one of these “most popular posts” widgets, and you happen to share a controversial guest post, guess what happens…
You live in infamy on the blog's sidebar (at least until a few people can come up with something more controversial than you :)).
That means that any time someone looks at the sidebar of that particular blog, they will see your post.
Most blog posts tend to fade away after they initially go live. Unless they are well optimized for SEO to show up in search results, they may only live on with a trickle of traffic.
But a post that sits in the sidebar will always have a chance of attracting visitors any time someone comes to the blog.
In a similar situation, some bloggers also display those visitors who are most active in discussions on the blog. It is a way for the blogger to say “thank you” to visitors who are most active.
Again, this is usually widget-driven, and the more comments you leave, the higher up the list you go.
A well-mannered guest poster will always stick around for the discussion on their guest post and answer any comments, questions and concerns the readers may have – guest blogging tips 101.
And if you are writing a controversial post, there will be comments!
By staying active in the discussion, you quickly rise up the ranks of “top commenters.”
This, in my opinion, is even more beneficial than having your post featured in the sidebar because of the direct exposure you gain.
A visitor to that blog doesn't have to click anywhere to see your face…it is out there in plain sight.
Authority is often built on exposure. The more times someone sees your face, the more authority you gain in their mind. Even if they never see your guest post, or don't click on your face to find out more about you, your image is registered in their subconscious as a building block to authority status.
3. Relationship Building
A controversial blog post gives you the opportunity to interact with real people without having to find an excuse to start a discussion.
The post gives them an excuse to start a conversation with you. Your main job then becomes to respond and interact.
If a reader agrees with you, then you already have a good starting block to build on a relationship – you have something in common.
If handled properly, a disagreement can also lead to something greater. A difference of opinion doesn't have to be a fight, it can be a civil discussion.
And any discussion can lead to a second discussion (and so on…).
Topics That Spur Discussion
Like I said before, controversial doesn't mean offensive. Controversial, in this case, just means that people will hold strong opinions on the topic.
In the case of my guest post, the topic happened to be political (although I tried to stay away from politics and focus on marketing – it didn't quite work :)).
It also happened to be very timely in terms of recent events.
So what sparks discussion other than current events and politics?
A previous post by Danny Iny here on Traffic Generation Cafe covers six triggers that build buzz:
Here are the six triggers:
- The taboo
- The unusual
- The outrageous
- The hilarious
- The remarkable
- The secrets
Remember, it is OK to disagree with someone if the discussion is good and civil. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated.
What discussion can you start today?
Eugene Farber (@EugeneFarber) is a writer, entrepreneur and founder of Content Strategy Hub.
Image source: www.ShePosts.com