The Essential Guide to Fearless Blogging
By: Jennine Jacob

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Becoming a fearless blogger is easier said that done. For some their blog is an extension of themselves, I’m saying that because often I feel that way. Going out on a limb and saying something that might not be popular or might get you into trouble with someone is scary. Most people do not like the feeling of being unpopular or getting into trouble. However, becoming a fearless blogger is so important now more than ever as the industry is in the early stages of establishment. Bloggers are at risk of losing what made the medium so attractive, our authenticity and candor.

I can’t say that I’ve been the most fearless in my career. There are many things I’d like to write about, things I know are happening but can’t because I don’t quite have the right quotes or the right evidence. Some of my opinions are unpopular and there are times when saying what needs to be said might shake things up a bit. Then again, there are times when I’ve published posts that went out on a limb and made real change. That real change is what always makes it worth it.

Blog fearlessly. Blog smartly. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years, so here are some tips for approaching a potentially controversial post.

 

Stick with the facts. Sticking with the facts helps you from committing Libel. If you’re sent a product you don’t like, you can say, “It didn’t work for me.” or “It fell apart 30 minutes after I put it on.” If you’re addressing a conflict with a brand, you can take direct quotes and present them to your readers. Be clear about the facts, and don’t leave it to your readers to speculate. Presenting facts helps build your case that your opinion is not unfounded and opens a mature conversation.

Open with a question. If you’re uncertain of your opinion or are looking to open a discussion based on what you’ve observed or experienced, a question is a great way to get people talking. They could agree with you or they could disagree. It’s a great way to get in touch with your readers and get a feel for what they are thinking.

Leave personal attacks at the door. Again, stick to the facts. Calling people names won’t get anyone anywhere respected.

Be prepared to be unpopular (for a post). Popularity is fickle, and opinions are just opinions. The Sartorialist has issued a number of unpopular quotes over the years, but we still love him. Just because your readers don’t agree with you at that moment doesn’t mean that you are wrong, or it might mean you are wrong, or, it just means you have different opinions. I personally believe capital punishment is wrong, and even though it’s a unpopular opinion in the US  I’m not going to change. I also hated the Litas since they came out, that was also an unpopular opinion which has come to be a more popular opinion in recent months. So there you go, take unpopularity with a grain of salt and don’t change your opinions to increase your popularity. It’s not worth it.

Be prepared for praise! Sticking your neck out to bring to help others? Standing up for what you believe in? Sharing something that really bothers you? These are all things that can help build your community. These are admirable qualities and your readers will love you for it. Say what you mean, and mean what you say that’s the way you become a truly authentic blogger.

Look for solutions. A great way to address controversial topics is to present a solution in your post. Hate how your fast fashion clothes fall apart in 30 minutes? Go on a fast fashion fast for six months and write about it. The very best content comes from solving problems, and it’ll give your readers an opportunity to grow with you.

Have a friend check your writing. We’re not Abraham on the mount here, we have friends to tell us if we’re being crazy or if it’s the will of the High Almighty. A friend can talk you out of a tree, or encourage you to go for it. And a good friend will be there to support you through the process.

All in all writing fearlessly when done properly can make your blogging experience the most rewarding part of your career. The changes you make and the conversations developed will be ones that matter to you the closer they are to your heart and your core beliefs.

What was the most fearless post you have ever written? Share in the comments and tell us about your experience writing it.

 

Image by Mayer George Vladimirovich on Shuttershock

Comments

  1. Kerri says:

    Risking unpopularity is good advice. This is definitely not something I aim for, but when I write, I know there are certain issues where if I do provide all the facts, some people are going to have strong, negative reactions. I’ve become more able to predict which posts will do this.

    And you know what? It’s fine to be unpopular sometimes.

    • Erin says:

      insightful! it’s true – i defo get nervous when sharing my personal opinions on my blog… the most controversial post and option I had was that it was ok to wear white at a wedding! ha!

  2. Micky says:

    I have one more “tip” to add here. If you’re not 100% sure of something you’re about to say (particularly true in the case of unpopular subjects and so on), go have a cup of coffee or take a shower or go sleep or whatever! Let things settle a bit and try not to write with your heart in the spur of the moment. Sure, opinions are GREAT but you don’t want to regret not thinking before you write.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      That’s a great tip! I thought getting a cup of coffee or stepping away might be implied by checking with a friend, but it’s not the same thing. I highly recommend NOT writing in anger, it never comes out right, so it’s always best to cool down.

  3. Nels says:

    Another important point for me: say it well. Edit and proofread. If you are saying something that may raise some eyebrows, don’t have typos or errors because 1) it’s going to give people ammunition to use against you and 2) it looks like you rushed the post and didn’t really put the time and thinking into it yourself, so we readers wonder if you really believe it. It’s this last point that matters the most to me.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I don’t have anything to add at the moment, but wanted to applaud a really great post!

  5. what a wonderful picture!

  6. Nadine Salem says:

    I just love reading your article, as they seem to always tickle the right topics at the right time. My last post which is called Princess Pocahontas is a sort of fashion fairy tale I made up around the photos we took at a children’s fair. The princess Pocahontas gets shot by a cowboy in the end and I had a friend saying he didn’t like the story so much. I wracked my brains over wether this post was too childish or even politically incorrect. But in the end of the day it is a made up story with no deeper meaning and I rather come up with something interesting and creative than remaining boring – a problem you addressed in another article of yours. So perhaps better be DARING THAN BORING!

  7. sahra says:

    I’ve definitely had to deal with having the “unpopular opinion” and even HATE on my Tumblr about what I wear! I think it’s important to stick to your guns and yourself and know that you have followers, fans, and readers for a reason and that there ARE others out there who agree with you, even if many don’t.

    XO Sahra
    EffortlessCool

  8. MJ says:

    These are great tips! If I have a potential controversial topic I want to write about, I’ll write it, leave it alone, and come back to it in a day to read it over. It’s true that you don’t want to write something out in anger but you still want to retain some of your passion as well and this method works for me.

  9. Great post! I always prepare for critisicm when I post about my passionate hate of the fur industry. But luckily negative comments are very few.

  10. Luisa says:

    For me this post: http://luisaluzeastlaw.blogspot.com/2012/02/red-lips-vs-pale-lips.html was a fearless posst. Thank God it turned out pretty well :)

  11. Dario says:

    Back in January I openly critisized ina post the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Rome . Having been there two times and having seen no improvement and just snobbishness I wrote what was not working and why they should open up to bloggers. Result? I got an email from the PR people and got a press pass!

  12. What great timing for this post! I just revamped my blog design wise and changed the URL to “IT’S NOT ABOUT PRETTY” because i was tired of feeling like I had to “conform” to whats popular in the blogging world. I wanted the design and content to reflect me – good or bad. It was scary & I had more than 1 sleepless night before launching it but I take 100% full responsibility for all of it and feel great that I am doing “my own thing”. Thanks for the reminded that stepping out on a limb is a GOOD thing!

  13. I think just recently I experienced a dilemma between being nice vs being honest about an event I attended. I chose the latter and now that I read your post I regret it even less actually I am happy that I did so!
    I hope in time my readers’ number will also increase..

    you can see what I mean here:
    http://shesconstance.blogspot.com/2012/05/blog-post.html

    best,
    Sara Constance

  14. My most fearless post was DEFINITELY Channeling Alexander McQueen – and I’m so glad I wrote it, even though it wasn’t 100% popular with everyone, my readers were super kind and didn’t comment negatively just because it wasn’ tup their alley.

    http://prettyshinysparkly.com/channeling-alexander-mcqueen/

  15. I love this article – some great advice! I don’t mainly use my blog for my own personal opinion posts but whenever I do I usually do question it because it definitely opens the flood gates – when I admitted I votes Tory I was told that it’s vile people like me who have gotten Britian into it’s current economic state, (by anonymous, obviously) and when I addresses that I then got standard ‘you dress horribly and are fat’ as a reply to my reply, but to be perfectly honest I don’t regret posting it, because at the end of the day your blog is yours, and I don’t go round holding guns to people’s heads to make them read it.

  16. Amber says:

    Great post! Blogging fearlessly can be intimidating especially when you have tons of eyes on you. But at the end of the day, you’ve gotta speak up and own your opinions! One of my favorite ‘controversial’ posts to date is ‘Fashion Blogging is Lame’ where I touch on the subject of the monotony of fashion blogging.
    http://beautyandthestreetmag.blogspot.com/2012/05/fashion-blogging-is-lame.html
    I got amazing feedback from readers. Its all about being brutally honest in everything you do!

  17. High Vogue says:

    I love your article and totally agree with your opinions.
    Sometimes people don’t want to hear or face some facts that are not so pleasant or happy. However, these issues really exist. I really respect those fearless bloggers who dare to reveal all these unpleasant stuffs but indeed help.

  18. Laura says:

    Being honest does not mean being nasty. If you stick to the facts and don’t make it personal then you can maintain your professional integrity.
    I also always try to be real. Just who I am, as I am, which means when people follow me, they pretty much know what they are getting.
    Thanks for the article!
    Cheers,
    Laura

  19. Love this post, it’s so important though not to lose your own way of expressing yourself in your own way of speaking, or feel that you can’t express your opinion; otherwise there’s no point blogging, you may as well just churn out press releases word for word.

    Just be careful about libel; for example imagine that your blog was being printed out and stuck on a notice board on the street, and you’d said something about someone in it and they read it – if it could damage their reputation/future earnings/their business (depends on how powerful your own influence is etc) then you could be sued for libel.

  20. Amanda says:

    Great advice here. I started my blog almost three months ago (newbie) and called it Little Miss Fearless because of the influence fear has had in my life (ultimately shaping who I am). So many decisions come down to being courageous and confident in who you are. Knowing who you are and believing in yourself gives value to your opinions and daring to be unpopular is one of the most important steps to being fearless–especially as a fashion blogger where popularity appears to be the key to success.
    I have a lot to learn on my journey to fearlessness. It’s a process. But I love the strength that comes from being comfortable with not being popular or liked all the time (whether in your writing or the clothes you wear). I’m seeing it now as something to strive for. And with each accomplishment will pat myself on the back saying, “Good for you, Champ.”
    ~Amanda
    LittleMissFearless.com

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