How to tweak people for fun and profit

Do you know what’s really popular?

Unpopular opinions.

There was a trending hashtag on Twitter the other day that reminded me of one of the best strategies to improve readership on your blog. The hashtag was #confessyourunpopularopinions.

Saying something that goes against conventional wisdom or is contrary to the majority of public opinion always attracts attention. The trick is to take a position that sparks interest, gets people thinking, but doesn’t totally alienate half of your customers and prospects.

Frankly, I’m often surprised how conventional wisdom can shift 180 degrees over time…and sometimes these u-turns happen fairly quickly. The diet advice we get falls into this category. A food we should avoid at all costs one year can become beneficial to our health the next.

For our purposes, the point of taking positions that are currently out of favor is to make people think. They give you and your reader an opportunity to look at things from a fresh point of view. Further, these kinds of blogs can also generate more reader engagement and reaction than the average blog post.

Want more blog comments? Be outrageous.

To get started, make a list of the sacred cows in your industry or commercial sector:

  • Are you in real estate? Make the argument that a price correction would be good in the long run.
  • Do you sell appliances? Make the case that people should start washing their clothes by hand.
  • Are you a restaurant owner? Tell fathers, sons, and daughters to make their mom a home-cooked meal next Mother’s Day instead of taking her out.

I’ve tried to pick some points of view that I think are a bit outlandish just to give you the idea. You see, the goal here is to differentiate yourself from all the other voices out there. You could probably list 10 to 20 standard blog topics people write about all the time in your industry.

Who needs another one of those?

Finally, if you’re a good blogger, you can entertain folks with some wild ideas and then turn things around as you’re closing your article and make an even stronger case for the “conventional wisdom.”

Or you could stick to your guns…