How to Make People Happy About Controversial Writing Topics

By: | December 2, 2018 | Tags: , , , , , | 17 comments

 

Should you write cannabis information?

Comfort levels.

As bloggers, we need to find ways of objectively describing information. Then, we empower our readers with that information.

For example, mommy bloggers may struggle to write about the sexuality of their children in an era where the current United States administration is reversing stances held by previous administrations.

Relationship bloggers: How do you advise people who hold different political beliefs to get along with their significant others and their families during the holiday season?

Political bloggers: How do you share political news without offending members of the various political parties in an age where people feel such strong conviction about their political beliefs?

Beauty bloggers: Do you recommend hemp skin care products? This is a product people in the cannabis entrepreneurship industry may recommend.

Even when you’re discussing topics that have been legalized, people are still uncomfortable.

Controversy breeds traffic as well as giving bloggers a chance to help their readers cope with difficult issues.

This difficulty is further magnified by the changes in the United States in the last several years.

This post answers the question, “Should you blog about sensitive topics, and, if yes, how to handle those topics when producing content for your blog?”

Written in a pro-con interview format, this post presents the views of bloggers I interviewed online.

I asked the bloggers how they deal with uncomfortable topics on their blogs.

After reading this article, you’ll have strategies to blog about cannabis, politics, and body image.

Question: Should You Blog About Controversial Writing Topics?

Answer: Yes

Topic 1: Cannabis Legalization

Respondent 1:

Cannabis, also known as pot, marijuana, and weed is legal in many states in the United States.

I had the opportunity of interviewing Iris Gonzalez who writes about cannabis in San Antonio Texas. She titled her most recent article “Cannabis Startups Growing Like Weed in San Antonio.

According to Iris, when she wrote about cannabis startups she received “tons of new traffic and signups.”

People then asked if they could publish about cannabis on her blog.

She said no. Here’s why:

  1. She didn’t want to be branded as a “cannabis writer.”
  2. She only wants to be branded as an online journalist who covers what goes on in San Antonio, TX.

Iris reported there was so much hype over her articles her competitors started writing about cannabis. They were previously reluctant to write about controversial writing topics.

Iris ultimately accepted a guest post about cannabis in San Antonio. The article created so much buzz, the guest author became a speaker about cannabis use.

Iris’s rationale for blogging about controversial writing topics:

She is giving objective reporting to a topic no one previously knew about and she’s tapped into a previously taboo market.

“It’s easy to be painted with the green brush of cannabis and not taken seriously. It’s a legitimate huge global sector with big dollar signs attached.”

Her advice: Be careful

If people ask you to publish their links in the guest posts, make sure they are not spammy.

“Do the vetting process so people know you only write about legitimate topics.”

I agree with Iris’s answers in the interview. I tapped previously untapped markets and my traffic bloomed. For example, I wrote about StumbleUpon (now defunct), Mix, and Wakelet, all previously unheard of content curation websites.

Iris continued her advice:

“Credibility is important. Vet the guest authors. For example, check to see if they have a good URL.”

Iris offered the example of Hempcrete which is a brand new industry. Iris will write about this new industry. She will vet the author she interviews and make sure he doesn’t come from a spammy-looking website.

“When you promote the content, don’t use “bad” cannabis hashtags on Instagram and other sites.”

Iris admitted there is writing about cannabis, but it’s not quality writing. It reeks of the “pothead” mentality.

Her strategy has gotten her “a ton of traction.”

Iris continued sharing her experiences writing about cannabis information:

Cannabis entrepreneurs started asking to be her Facebook friends. She said no.

“You can be a cannabis writer for cannabis startups for people who need bloggers to write a press release for them. If you want to do it, it’s big money. Create a pen name and/or get a different website.

Whether you agree with it or not, it’s a huge multi-million dollar industry in the United States. For example, the hemp-based industry is legitimate.”

She reported all her following increased including Instagram where she didn’t even promote the article.

Iris concluded her interview answers by commenting, “”People need to learn how to blog responsibility about cannabis.”

Takeaways: Blogging about controversial writing topics could be a game changer. To quote Iris, “Just be careful.”

Respondent 2:

Respondent 2 suggested you use humor to blog about cannabis entrepreneurship. For instance, he suggested this headline for your content:

“I’d suggest ‘Weed it and Reap’ is a really good start, as it’s about freedom of speech and discussing what should be done with cannabis for ‘widest public benefit’.”

Iris also used humor when writing about cannabis entrepreneurship. Did you notice the wordplay in her headline “Cannabis Startups Growing Like Weed in San Antonio“?

Topic 2: Politics

I interviewed Michelle O’Callahan about how she blogs about the topic of politics on her site.

Michelle identifies herself as a “strong conservative.”

She divulged, “I am often called ‘blunt’ and ‘rude’ in my writing… haha I am MUCH nicer and more polite in real life. Writing lets me get my feelings out.”

Michelle responded that she ends her political posts with “You do you, I’ll do me.” She recommends you end controversial writing topics that way as well if you’re sharing one view versus another.

Topic 3: Body Image

Olivia Morris, from the Blogging Grandmother’s Facebook Group, explained, “I wrote a blog post about underwear….. for women, plus-sized women…… I handled it with humor…..”

Question: Should You Blog About Controversial Writing Topics:

Answer: No.

Victoria Leach Estep also from the Blogging Grandmother’s Facebook Group disagreed with both respondents.

She reported, “I tend to stay away from topics that might be sensitive. I know that isn’t much of an answer but I have noticed most of the blogs I follow don’t get into sensitive topics either...”

In other words, her advice was not to blog about any controversial writing topics at all.

Takeaways: Controversial Writing Topics

This post is timely. 

  1. The political climate in Washington DC is making sweeping changes. Bloggers may not know how to write about these issues without offending their readers.
  2. The holidays are upon us. People may not know how to talk about these issues without offending people they encounter at holiday celebrations.
  3. Cannabis may be legally okay to use in many places, but is it okay to write about it?

This post provides strategies: Use caution and humor.

Readers, please share so bloggers who need advice dealing with controversial writing topics on their blogs discover these ideas.

Do you blog about controversial topics?

If so, how do you handle the sensitive nature of the topics?

Which controversial writing topics do you feature on your blogs? I look forward to your views in the comments section.

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  1. Melinda Mitchell at 6:09 am

    What an interesting question you pose, my dear BBFFJ!!

    I definitely do post about controversial subject, because I write my life.
    Mental health, having a mental illness, being fat, body image, my relationship with Jesus Christ.
    I don’t do politics tho, on my blog, really. Not like my face book.
    Politics don’t figure into my life as a slob!
    Melinda Mitchell recently posted…Never Neat NightstandMy Profile

    • Janice Wald at 8:36 am

      Hi BBFFM,
      You are right! You do write about controversial writing topics. Like Iris, who I quoted in the post, you do it with humor. The other person advised that as well. Clearly, that’s the way to handle it. Your commenters are very supportive. Thanks for writing.
      BBFFJ

  2. Ryan Biddulph at 9:31 am

    Hi Janice,

    My #1 piece of advice; if you write about charged topics get 100% – or close to it – clear of fear on covering the topic. Because if you are filled with fear, guaranteed you get lots of criticism, mirroring the fear back to you. Do it with humor and lightness; we are spirits in meat suits, nothing is serious to spirit LOL.

      • Janice Wald at 12:56 pm

        Hi Curious,
        Based on what you, Ryan, and the people I quoted in the interview maintain, humorous controversy posts is definitely the preferred method for writing about inflammatory topics.
        Janice

    • Janice Wald at 12:54 pm

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for commenting. The Curious Frugal agreed with you, and I do as well.
      Tammy Bleck, an original mentor of mine, tackled “meaty” topics but used humor. She ended up featured on the Huffington Post and was so successful she spoke at colleges.
      I’ve never considered myself a comedic writer. I’ve stayed away from controversy except with posts like this where I quote other people or publish guest authors’ writing.
      Janice

  3. Jitendra Vaswani at 7:28 am

    Hi Rayn,

    Wonderful work here, most of the time controversial marketing is used by the politicians to leverage people attention by saying contradictory points. But as a blogger, many people use controversial writing topics to engage visitors and not that’s not bad.

    Thanks for sharing the post.

    • Janice Wald at 1:11 pm

      Hi Jitendra,
      I agree with you conditionally. It’s not bad as long as it’s not offensive. There’s an expression: You don’t want to bit the hand that feeds you. Your readers support you. Don’t pay them back by offending them.
      Thanks for writing.
      Janice

  4. Bubbie Gunter at 8:19 am

    Great article Janice!
    I remember the struggle I had with deciding if I wanted to cover “cyber bullying”.
    It was a topic I am passionate about. And, was reluctant to add it to my blog on Network Marketing Tips.& Strategies.
    Then, I decided, “Why not!” And, I am happy that I did. The post became very popular and helped several people so far.

    So, when dealing with controversial issues on a blog, I would make this point:
    If it is a topic your audience would enjoy…go for it.
    You covered every other reason why and it was fantastic to stop by and have a look around…

    • Janice Wald at 1:00 pm

      Hi Bubbie,
      Great to see you here! Thanks for coming by.
      Please or offend: Will we please our readers or offend them?
      Sometimes, it’s a fine line.
      Thanks for coming by and providing the way to make the determination: If you’re passionate about the topic, go for it!
      Janice

  5. Michele O'Callaghan at 5:29 am

    I do not write about controversial topics to convince anyone that I am right, because no one is right. I write so that those who may not be as brave, and I use that term very lightly, can feel like someone understands them.. Writing for me, is way to express my feelings and opinions on topics, in my own corner of the internet, and those who don’t agree are free to carry on with their day after reading.

  6. Mitch Mitchell at 6:25 pm

    I’ve been writing about controversial topics for more than a decade. Mine are mainly about racism, sexism and other isms, but I’ve also mentioned other things that, if anyone was really reading, most would want to think about arguing. The truth is that someone has to bring these things into the open, and if it has to be me then so be it. Luckily, since I talk about diversity and do diversity training, it’s still a part of my business to talk about it. I do work on trying not to be inflammatory with my language, but a truth is still a truth.

    I will say this though; if people worry about others not liking what they have to say, then they shouldn’t do it. Even those who want to be controversial need to be ready for backlash and standing up for themselves.

    • Janice Wald at 6:46 pm

      Hi Mitch,
      Great to see you here! Thanks for coming by! I hope your holidays were happy!
      I have a blog coaching client who mentioned she was speaking at a cannabis conference.
      It made me wonder how people who don’t approve of cannabis use deal with communicating about a topic they have a strong negative opinion about.
      That made me wonder how bloggers do it.
      My first thought was to make the post just about cannabis use (which is why so much of the content is about cannabis). Then, I thought there might be other controversial issues such as politics and LGBQT rights.
      That was the evolution of the post.
      Thanks for adding to the discussion by sharing which controversial topics you communicate about and your advice for people who try to deal with them.
      In contrast to you, I am not used to dealing with controversial topics. I hope I helped people have a greater comfort level when trying.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…19 Best Graphic Design Websites and Tools: 12 Days of Christmas Day 2My Profile

  7. pxicode at 11:26 pm

    Wonderful work here, most of the time controversial marketing is used by the politicians to leverage people attention by saying contradictory points.

    Thanks for sharing the post.

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