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3 Questions to Ask About Offensive Content on Your Blog

Disclaimer: Please note that the following post is purely my own opinions about the subject at hand, and I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run the show on their blog. I am simply offering another perspective and some things to consider before putting objectionable content on your blog.

There has been what seems to be a surge of bloggers who are getting into the “shock and awe” side of blogging by going against the grain with some relatively colorful language, explicit images, and controversial stirrups.

The question isn’t whether these tactics work at drumming up comments, social shares, response posts, and recognition for the authors as the heroes of free speech because for the most part, they do. The real question is, after the feathers have been ruffled and settle back again, will it be worth it?

Questions to Ask Yourself

Everything you choose to do with your content really depends on your purpose for blogging – what you hope to obtain, not just from one post but as a whole from your blog. Here are some simple questions to determine if you are on a good path.

Who Is Your Intended Audience?

Let’s first think about your intended audience. Are they just regular people who enjoy a little bit of everything? Are they businesses who are looking for great advice to share with their employees or clients? Are they your clients or potential clients? Are they people who you influence that would want to emulate you?

What Are Your Blogging Goals?

Next, let’s think about your goals in blogging. Are you just trying to see how much traffic and comments you can drum up? Are you looking to make waves or change the way blogging is done? Or are you trying to drum up business for a company, whether it is your own or someone else’s?

Would You Want Your Post to be a First Impression

Think about the most potentially offensive, controversial, line-crossing post you have on your site.

Now think about that being the first post that someone will read visit on your blog, and essentially their first impression of you.

Going back to your answer about your target audience and your goals, would this be an acceptable first impression for that audience that would lead to the achievement of those goals?

Disclaimer: Please note that the following post is purely my own opinions about the subject at hand, and I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run the show on their blog. I am simply offering another perspective and some things to consider before putting objectionable content on your blog.

There has been what seems to be a surge of bloggers who are getting into the “shock and awe” side of blogging by going against the grain with some relatively colorful language, explicit images, and controversial stirrups.

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The question isn’t whether these tactics work at drumming up comments, social shares, response posts, and recognition for the authors as the heroes of free speech because for the most part, they do. The real question is, after the feathers have been ruffled and settle back again, will it be worth it?

Questions to Ask Yourself

Everything you choose to do with your content really depends on your purpose for blogging – what you hope to obtain, not just from one post but as a whole from your blog. Here are some simple questions to determine if you are on a good path.

Who Is Your Intended Audience?

Let’s first think about your intended audience. Are they just regular people who enjoy a little bit of everything? Are they businesses who are looking for great advice to share with their employees or clients? Are they your clients or potential clients? Are they people who you influence that would want to emulate you?

What Are Your Blogging Goals?

Next, let’s think about your goals in blogging. Are you just trying to see how much traffic and comments you can drum up? Are you looking to make waves or change the way blogging is done? Or are you trying to drum up business for a company, whether it is your own or someone else’s?

Would You Want Your Post to be a First Impression

Think about the most potentially offensive, controversial, line-crossing post you have on your site.

Now think about that being the first post that someone will read visit on your blog, and essentially their first impression of you.

Going back to your answer about your target audience and your goals, would this be an acceptable first impression for that audience that would lead to the achievement of those goals?

Will People Tell You If You’ve Crossed the Line?

In many cases, no, they won’t. They’re going to unfollow you, whether it’s your Twitter, RSS feed, Facebook, or whatever other channel where they normally interact with you. Or if it’s their first visit, they will probably just not return.

What’s worse is you’ll probably also miss out on a lot of recommendations from people.

Why? Because whether anyone likes it or not, reputation is sometimes based upon who you recommend. And if someone doesn’t want to be seen as offensive or controversial, then they are not going to share things from those who are considered offensive or controversial.

So if none of the above things – reputation, business prospectives, referrals, positive personal or professional brand exposure, etc. – matter to you, then you have no worries when it comes to expressing yourself any way you choose. Just realize that, depending on what you want to accomplish with your blog, you may be doing more harm to yourself than good while trying to be cool.

Am I Suggesting Censorship?

No. I’m not, by any means, saying that you should censor yourself. Of course, I don’t think of watching your language and your content as censorship so much as being courteous and professional to others.

One of the common arguments for writing anything you please on a blog is that it is your personal space, your home, so to speak, and you can do or say anything within your home.

But blogs, unless they are private and only accessible by specific people you have approved of, are really not just in your home or personal space. The Internet is public. To me, it’s like living in a glass house in a well-populated area. Anyone could walk by, hence I probably wouldn’t want to walk around naked or do anything that I wouldn’t want someone else to see.

Your blog is the same thing – anyone could find their way to your site. What would you want them to see?

When it comes to what I share, I have seen posts that I would LOVE to share with my fans because of the great message within them, but I simply don’t because they cross that special line of offensive. Because my fan base includes 13 year olds (yes they’re on Twitter), family, coworkers, Christians, and others who I would not want to direct to something that is inappropriate.

It’s not that I can’t because I know I have the right to share what I want, but I also consider that by sharing something, I have stamped my virtual seal of approval onto it. Just like I wouldn’t want to endorse a bad product, I wouldn’t want to share something that would offend my readership.

Your Thoughts on Borderline Offensive Blog Content

Now I turn the discussion over to you. What are your thoughts on blogs that post objectionable content? Do you like them or veer away from them? Where do you think the line is between being personal with your audience and being professional? The comment lines are open!

By Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and ghostwriter who specializes in business and marketing topics.