The Art of Contrarian Blogging
How to Make Enemies and Increase your Blog Traffic:
In my opinion contrarian blogging is one of the few legitimate methods of link baiting. There are many a blogger who have made a nice career for themselves by being contrarian, and one of the most well known bloggers out there is Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.
Contrarian blogging is a terrific way to break out from the pack and rise to the top of an already overcrowded blogosphere. Or like my friend Darren Rowse said, putting a “fresh” spin on a story can pay big dividends and bring in more traffic to your blog.
Some prudish types will tell us that to be contrarian as akin to being “snarky”. Although it is true that some contrarians can be (snarky), it is only just one method of being a contrarian. It is really just about offering a different point of view than the rest of the
sheep crowd to attract visitors to your blog. How you go about doing that is strictly up to you and a matter of personal style. Or as my other friend Wayne Hurlbert also says:
Think about this idea for a moment. When following the crowd, you are always behind, by definition. It’s impossible to become an industry leader when travelling in the competition’s dust. Fad followers are already several steps behind.Think about it this way. When everyone is competing for the same market, and very often with virtually identical products and services, entire market segments are left almost untouched. A contrarian would happily find and fill those profitable business niches.
This Should Not be Attempted by the Faint of Heart:
One method of getting noticed is by critiquing the a-listers, which is something the Bloke is well known for. (Some might try to put the Bloke into the snarky category but apparently they don’t understand my tongue-in-cheek sense of humor … i.e. swoosh, it went right over their pointy little heads).
Of course by doing so you always run the risk of being flamed and called a cynic like I was the other day by an anonymous commenter who didn’t happen to get it, dubbing me the “Blog Cop” (now who is being snarky).
Side Note: (Er… that’s spelled Blog Bloke btw, but I like “Blog Cop” and since it was written by an anonymous writer I’m claiming the trademark. A-listers are also notorious for their huge egos and lacking in a sense of humor). Oh well.
Writing Contrarian Titles:
Take for example my post “Why I don’t like your blog“. It perks your natural tendency to want to read more don’t you think. Nobody wants to just read the same old same old. They are looking for a different opinion so contrarian titles are just the thing to outsmart the competition and bring in more traffic.
Blog Tip: A lot of bloggers make the mistake of copying and pasting the same title of a post that they want to comment on. That’s a big mistake and the perfect way to make your post disappear amongst the rest of the crowd.
By the way, did you notice the contrarian tongue-in-cheek irony in the header of this post? That should bring in some curiosity readers.
But just make sure that you write something intelligent and on topic. There is nothing more aggravating than being sucked into clicking on a link that wastes my time and doesn’t deliver what it promised.
A lot of spammers do that hoping you will click on their ads. I won’t be returning to that blog again so don’t be doing that or risk getting on the Bloke’s bad side.
On Being Anti-Social:
Of course you also run the risk of being shunned as anti-social which on the face of it appears to run against the grain of social networks. But are social networks really all that social? Mike Sanders quotes Nicholas Carr who makes a good point:
The blogosphere’s a seductive place - it’s easy to get caught up in it - and there’s lots of interesting thoughts and opinions bouncing around amid the general clatter. But does it really provide a good way of becoming informed? Experiencing the blogosphere feels a lot like intellectual hydroplaning - skimming along the surface of many ideas, rarely going deep. It’s impressionistic, not contemplative. Fun? Sure. Invigorating? Absolutely. Socratic? I’m not convinced. Preferable to the old world? It’s nice to think so.For all the self-important talk about social networks, couldn’t a case be made that the blogosphere, and the internet in general, is basically an anti-social place, a fantasy of community crowded with isolated egos pretending to connect?
So contrarian blogging can be an effective way to increase your blog traffic and pagerank. But it doesn’t come without its risks either, so if that doesn’t suit your fancy there is always grovelling. I call it the “Art of Sucking-Up”, but I’ll save that for another post.