A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I believe (most) brand-side folks are less networked than their agency peers. Pretty sure that post ruffled a few feathers among my brand-side friends (but, like I said in the post, there are exceptions–and I know a lot of those people!).
And, that’s OK. Because it reminds me of a mantra I learned early on in the blogging world.
“You’re not a blogger until you’ve offended someone.”
Wait, Arik, why would you want to offend people? And in this particular case, why would you want to offend brand-side folks? Aren’t those your clients?
Yes, they are. And no, I don’t mind offending a few of them.
Here’s the way I think about this, because I think it applies to many of you who might be reading this blog (and might not be bloggers).
I kinda think about it like a talk radio host. I listen to a lot of KFAN (for those not in the Twin Cities, that’s our primary sports talk radio channel). One of the shows on that channel is “Nine to Noon”–a program hosted by the voice of the Vikings, Paul Allen. On that show, he talks about this issue all the time–that if you’re going to be a talk show host, you have to have a strong opinion to be successful.
Strong opinions are what sells when it comes to talk radio.
Blogging is no different.
In my experience, playing the middle of the road when blogging will get you very little attention and readers. Now, I’ve talked before about my MO for this blog and it has never included “getting a bunch of readers” or “being an internet celebrity.” From the beginning, I’ve blogged for two reasons: 1) To express my opinions in a forum where I can share what I want, when I want, and 2) To support my business as a consultant.
Having strong opinions on “controversial” or timely topics hits on both of those reasons.
Over the last 8-plus years of blogging, having strong opinions has positioned me well as a consultant who’s not afraid to tell a client news they might not want to hear (but need to).
Having strong opinions has positioned me as someone who’s not afraid to take a stand.
And none of those things are bad.
Yes, I realize not everyone is going to agree with me all the time. It’s the same situation as that moment (typically when you’re in your teens or early college years) when you first realize, not everyone is going to like you–and that’s OK.
Not everyone is going to agree with my opinions on PR, social media and marketing-related topics. And I think that’s OK.
Difference of opinion is good. It challenges us to think differently.
And if others have a big problem with that–to the point where they don’t want to work with me–so be it. Most likely, we wouldn’t be a fit anyway.
How does this all tie back to you?
Having a strong opinion obviously isn’t something specific to bloggers. We all have strong opinions. Some of us blog about them. Others share them on Facebook. Others share them at dinners, or t-ball games or at church.
My advice: Don’t back off your opinions. Have strong opinions and stick to them. Not everyone is going to agree with you–but that’s OK. Because in the end, I think more people respect those with strong opinions who stick by them when times are tough than people who play the middle of the road and never take a risk at all.