Why ‘controversy’ is a lousy content strategy

Five reasons why deliberately roiling negative emotion will work against your brand or organization in the long run.

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This struck me as odd. Is “controversy” really a sustainable position for a content marketing strategy? The more I thought about this, the more I disliked this advice.

First, let me distinguish content that is “conversational” or “thought-provoking” from content that is controversial. A definition of controversial is “a state of prolonged, contentious public dispute or debate.” The keywords here for me are “prolonged,” “contentious,” and “public.”

Sometimes controversy happens. Occasionally, it might even be unavoidable. But is this a tactic you should mindfully pursue as a long-term content strategy? Let’s take a look at five reasons why the answer is no:

1. It is naive.

I have this image in my head. I walk into my boss and I say, “Hey, I just attended this webinar, and I’m convinced that we need to be more controversial to be build our company’s blog audience.”

What do you think the reaction would be?

Can you think of any respected, successful company that pursues a prolonged dispute as a social media marketing strategy? Of course not. Companies are built to avoid controversy. Most brands are not built on a negative emotion.

2. It is exhausting.

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