Time to Kick the Controversy Habit

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

At a meeting this morning, I told a prospective newbie blogger that intentional controversy was often a massively over-rated virtue. In the light of this, I couldn’t help but find myself nodding vigorously in agreement with this piece by Umair Haque:

To play the opinion arb game, news publishers have to stop seeking
simply the most controversial opinions. They’re abundant: every talking
head can churn one out, and faux “news” of every kind is already chock
full of ’em shrieking at one another. Instead, successful opinion
arbitrageurs must seek the most informed opinions, gooey with
expertise, thick with real value for readers.

Those opinions are worth the most — and they’re what readers will pay for.

Elephant in the room #2 when it comes to paywalls: you might have to change the nature of what your write and publish to make them work.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.