Publishing Controversial Content Can Backfire

May 7, 2013

Although content is often the driving force pushing traffic and leading search engine optimization efforts for a website, some types articles, blogs and PR used merely to drive traffic rather than offer quality information, education and entertainment may actually tarnish one’s brand. While traffic may experience a boost as a result of a controversial post or information, similarly, such ideas and information may reflect poorly on a site or brand’s image and build negative emotions associated with a company, product or service.

Controversial ContentControversial posts and web content can definitely increase the number of readers and visitors who visit a site. On the other hand, such visits may not last. Quality content, in contrast, may help build audience, page views and unique visits over a long period of time. Controversy is often short lived.

Another issue that may coincide with publishing controversial traffic is the existence of traffic that does not match one’s target audience or demographic. Despite improve traffic numbers, the number of visitors can sometimes be meaningless if none of those audience members take action, inquire, discuss or share. Instead, a site may experience a steady number of the same visitors returning to a site to continue partaking in controversial discussions and comments rather than drawing new, unique visitors.

Webmasters, business owners, writers and company managers looking to improve the long term goals, traffic and conversion of a site may find that stirring up controversy for the simple sake of attracting readers can actually hurt a site over the long term. While more visitors may watch from the sidelines as readers and writers converse angrily about a taboo topic, such posts and information may take away some of the authority associated with the web site and the writer as well as the company.

In addition to posting controversial information just for the sake of controversy, such content may be misconstrued as simply trying to draw traffic. In contrast, writers, bloggers and webmasters may find it more useful to seek out a topic in which they are passionate about, which can be exemplified in one’s writing and can be infectious among readers, commenters and those sharing information across the web. Readers can sometimes spot the difference between content generated to draw attention and information written with passion and reverence.

Visitors and readers consuming controversial content can often leave a site or blog with negative feelings, which may become tied to that cause, brand or website. In many situations, readers who are so passionate about a controversial subject experience strong emotions and might even leave the site with hurt feelings.

Publishing controversial content often does little to build the credibility of a website, company or writer. Instead, controversy is often presented in a matter of fact way, with very little to back it up. Instead, presenting topics that are sourced will invite different types of comments and encouraged others who share and engage with an article to similarly look for facts, data and sources to back up their opinions. It can often be much more difficult to experience negative emotions and hurt feelings when information is presented in an intelligent manner and data backed interaction is nurtured.