Most blogs fall into one of two categories: They’re a discussion blog, where they provide information and let the reader form their own opinion, or they’re opinion blogs, where the blogger takes a firm stand on the issues. You’ll find plenty of blogs out there that try to blend the two, but most will lean to either one side or the other. Does it make any difference to your business? And is one better than the other? Let’s take a look.
A discussion blog provides information without expressing an opinion. News websties are a good example. The typically present both sides of the issue and then invite discussion. Discussion-type blogs typically attract readers who are looking for information. They want to know the pros and cons and they’re happy to form their own opinion.
On the other hand, opinion blogs usually take a stance. For example, a political blogger may be staunchly Republican or firmly on the side of the Democrats. His blog posts may present both sides of the issue but you’ll also find his opinion in there somewhere. These types of blogs also invite discussion, but of a different sort.
In a discussion blog commentors will often ask for more information or thank you for sharing. In an opinion blog, you may never hear the words “Thank You”. In fact, you might not like the comments you receive. However, if you’re the type who enjoys a lively discussion, then you’d probably love to write an opinion-type blog.
There’s a saying that controversy sells and in some ways it’s true. People are attracted to controversy. It’s like a wreck on the side of the road. You can’t help yourself, you’re drawn to the drama so you have to slow down. So yes, controversial or opinionated posts do tend to attract more traffic and get more share and likes. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they make more money.
People are drawn to controversial content more for the entertainment value. They’re not looking for information, they’re just looking for a good fight. Once you’ve developed a good following it’s possible to getter a better gauge on your readers and decide how to monetize this type of blog but it’s difficult in the beginning.
Is it possible to meld the two? Absolutely. In fact, I find it easier to run a discussion blog and toss in a little controversy or opinion every now and then just to liven things up. My readers appreciate the occasional burst of fire and brimstone and, since they’ve had the opportunity to get to know me when I’m not all fired up, I don’t get angry responses from my commentors. They’re more forgiving because we’ve already developed a give and take relationship.
You, on the other hand, might feel stifled and bored blogging endlessly about statistics or information and you might prefer to go the opinionated route. There’s plenty of room in the blogosphere for everyone, no matter how you blog. And either way you go, the key to monetization is to get to know your audience first so you can find out what they need.