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.