Should You Write Controversial Blog Posts? A Data Driven Answer

Just the other day, I wrote a controversial blog post. I don’t usually write blog posts that are controversial, but I thought it would be a fun experiment to see if these kinds of posts are worth writing from a traffic and revenue perspective.

What was the controversial post I wrote? It was called Why Successful People Are Douchebags. Before you jump to any conclusions, let me say that the post was about why many people think successful entrepreneurs are douchebags, when in reality, they are not.

Entrepreneurs typically enjoy helping other people. You just need to understand how to communicate with them effectively as they have busy schedules.

So, how did this post do? And is it worth writing controversial posts?

Controversial posts can hurt your brand

Typically, when I write a blog post, I get 11 to 27 emails from readers like you, thanking me for the great content on Quick Sprout. The emails usually look something like this:

Neil, your post on content marketing is awesome! I haven’t been able to grow my blog traffic, but I am going to try the tactics in your post to see if it helps.

Thank you for the tips!

John, Y.

But with the controversial post, I only received three positive emails. Even then, they weren’t as positive as the emails I normally get:

I laughed when I read the subject line and admired your courage in using it.

William G.


Who is NOT going to click on a headline like that????

Chris L.


I just love you. I love that you’re not afraid to use that subject line. Kudos to you, I am inspired!!!!!

Happy Trails,
Rebekah V.

Most of the emails I received were very negative such as:

Are you out of your mind? cancel this email.

Johnston C.



Do you know what a douchebag really is? I’m guessing you do.

If so, why would you use that term? I know the “kids” think it’s funny, but they also have other terms I would never use in a business email.

I’m hard to rattle. Yeah, you got my attention. But not in a good way!

Kristin T.


Mr. Patel,

I do not want to see the word “douchebag” in the subject line of a message in my inbox.
Please remove my email address from your list.

Sarah H.

And even worse:


I just learned that I am not your “ideal” customer.  I was referred to you by someone I think, generally, passes on decent resources—and perhaps you are offering some decent information; however, I’m totally turned off after this email.  Douchebag?  Really?  A piece of home medical equipment used, almost always, to douche (or rinse) a vagina.  Now, Neil, I realize this has become a very common term in America lately but I personally think it’s more distasteful to use than say,  referring to someone as an “asshole.”  That’s just me.

I’ll be unsubscribing (and not referring you) because I’m really not interested in getting email on my professional machine (and one that lies open at home to my kids eyes sometimes) with the word, “Douchebag” in the subject line (or “asshole,” for that matter).

Just some feedback to consider.

Good luck and adieu,

Donna S.

From a personal or a corporate branding perspective, it can be risky to write controversial blog posts. Even if the post itself isn’t negative – only its title is, you can’t assume everyone will read the post to find that out. Many people will just make assumptions based on your title.

Controversial posts produce more unsubscribers

Every time I write a blog post, I mail it out to just over 100,000 people. It’s how I drive instant traffic to any new post and generate social shares, comments, and sales.

When I wrote the controversial title, I was hoping that my email open rate would increase, but it stayed roughly at 26%, which is what it usually is.

What was interesting was the unsubscribe rate.

Every time I send an email, a percentage of my readers unsubscribe. This is common, and it happens to all companies. But my unsubscribe rate after the controversial post was three times higher than my unsubscribe rate after a regular post.

Controversial posts drive more traffic

On the bright side, this post did extremely well compared to a regular post when it came to traffic. The post got an extra 4,061 visitors compared to a normal Monday blog post. To top it off, my social media traffic was higher by an extra 1,682 visitors, which is 134% more than my normal Monday social media traffic numbers are.

From a traffic perspective, it will probably be my most popular post for the month. I’m not sure how it will do in the long run, but if I were monetizing the site from an advertisement perspective, the extra visitor count would work in my favor.

Controversial posts can hurt your revenue

Although the post did well from a traffic standpoint, the income for the day dropped drastically. Compared to a normal Monday, the income dropped by 26%, which is a lot, considering there were more visitors to the website on that day.

To make matters worse, the income for that day was even lower than for the days when I don’t publish a blog post – by roughly 4%.

The reason controversy can affect your revenue in a negative way is because it affects how people view your brand. If they start seeing it in a negative way and associate it with bad things, you are likely to lose the trust of your visitors and make less money.


Although my controversial post had more negative effects than positive, I would say such posts are worth writing if you run a consumer-based blog that makes revenue from its advertisements.

Assuming you aren’t being too controversial, advertisers shouldn’t have an issue, and the increase in traffic will help you generate more revenue.

But if you aren’t monetizing from the ads or if you are in the B2B sector, you should consider staying away from controversy. Sure, it can drive more traffic, but the damage it does to your brand and the loss in revenue you will experience are typically not worth it.

Do you think it is worth writing controversial posts?

How to Use Google Plus for Marketing

With over 150 million active users, and 50% of all users logging into Google Plus daily, Google Plus is a social network you can’t ignore. Sure, it isn’t as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it can help impact your search engine rankings in a positive way.

A few simple ways you can leverage Google Plus are:

  1. Authorship – this is a great way to get your picture next to your listings in the search results.
  2. Relationship marketing – with Google hangouts, you can connect to and get to know your fans.
  3. Driving traffic – by building up your Google Plus profile, you can share content and news about your business. This is a simple way to drive more traffic to your business.

These are just the basics of how you can use Google Plus to your advantage. To expand on the idea, I’ve decided to create an infographic that lays out the steps you need to take to use Google’s social network for your marketing needs.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:


How to Use Google Plus for Marketing
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout



Whether you like or hate Google Plus, you have no choice but to leverage it. Why? Because Google owns it!

As the most popular site in the world, Google can really help boost your revenue. Having the top rankings can mean the difference between being in business and being out of business.

Because the search giant owns this social network, you’re better off using it due to the fact that it can impact how well your site does in the organic listings.

How else can you use Google Plus to market your business?

How to Get Fans Creating and Sharing Content for You

Wouldn’t you love to get your fans to generate content for your company, brand, products, or campaigns and share it? Not only would user-generated content save you money, but it would also produce revenue for you.

The more you get your fans engaged with your business, the more trust you will build, and the greater your reach will be. You’ll also see SEO benefits.

To show you how you can engage your visitors so that they start creating and sharing content for you, I’ve put together an infographic that explains the process.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Get Fans Creating and Sharing Content for You
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout


User-generated content is something that you should never take for granted as a marketer. Just look at how popular sites like Tumblr and Wikipedia are. They got to where they are due to user-generated content.

If you don’t have much time, a simple way to get your fans to engage is to use the fill-in-the-blank strategy mentioned in the infographic. It’s easy to use, and it shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to leverage.

How else can you get your fans to create and share content for you?

How to Use Tumblr for Marketing

You may have not used Tumblr before, but I bet you know that Yahoo bought it for over a billion dollars.

Do you know why Yahoo valued Tumblr at such a high price point? It’s because Tumblr attracts tons of eyeballs.

With over 300 million unique visitors a month going to Tumblr, you have no choice but to leverage the platform. Not only is its traffic growing at a rate of 74% a year, but over 65% of its users have a college degree and have discretionary income.

So, how do you leverage Tumblr for your business? To help answer that, I’ve created an infographic that breaks down exactly what you need to do.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Use Tumblr For Marketing
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout



Whether you have any extra time in your schedule to take on another social platform or not, you have no choice but to be on Tumblr. As the 28th most popular site on the web, with revenue per visitor being just slightly behind Facebook’s, it is a channel worth leveraging.

As long as you follow the 10 best practices I’ve listed within the infographic, you’ll do well. Make sure you implement them all – it will create a much bigger impact than if you were to follow just a few of the best practices.

How else can you use Tumblr for marketing?

How to Calculate the ROI of Your SEO Campaign

When I was running an SEO agency, I realized that companies had one big issue with SEO. They couldn’t figure out if they were losing or making money from their SEO campaigns. For this reason, most companies spend their marketing dollars on paid search because it allows them to track their return on investment (ROI) easily.

But just like with paid search, you can actually calculate the return on your SEO efforts. It’s not that tricky either. To show you how to do it, I’ve created an infographic that will walk you through the calculations you need to perform.

Don’t worry, it’s simple.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Calculate the ROI of Your SEO Campaign
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout



Whether you are spending money on pay-per-click campaigns, SEO efforts, or banner ads, you should be calculating the return on your investment. If you are making more than you are spending, you are doing a great job.

If you are losing money, you’d better either adjust how you are doing your marketing or cut off the non-profitable channels.

Are you making money from your SEO efforts? If not, why?

A Visual Guide to Rich Snippets

Rich snippets — we see them everywhere in the SERPs, with some verticals having a higher abundance of them than others. For the average searcher, these rich snippets help show them what they’re searching for is within reach on a particular site.

A few benefits of rich snippets include:

1) Drawing a user’s attention to your relevant result.

2) Providing instant information as related to their query.

3) Increasing click-through rates and lessen the amount of bounces due to not searchers not finding the content they were looking for.

For companies leveraging content strategies, there’s an especially large benefit of having mark up for authors being displayed in the SERPs with the emergence of AuthorRank. For instance, a “know” based query (informational search) that displays an author with a photo, name, and a link other articles they’ve written creates a feeling of trust and authority. It can also encourage them to click-through and read other articles they’re written, essentially making that author a new resource.

As another example, “do” based queries, such as going to a concert or event, can end up displaying results from ticket sites that have a quick and instant snippet breakdown to help them in the purchasing process.

In order to consolidate and decode some of the information you need to sift through when learning about rich snippets, we’ve created this visual guide to walk through the basics, fundamental types, implementation, and benefits of utilizing them.

Enjoy! Some food for thought: How do you see rich snippets evolving in the future?

Guide to Rich Snippets by BlueGlass Interactive on SEOmoz
Visual Guide to Rich Snippets on SEOmoz created by BlueGlass Interactive

How to create tinymce buttons at wordpress

To create mce buttons to your wordpress tiny editor, just follow below 2 steps.

Step-1: Add following code to your function.php file. This file found at /wp-content/themes/YOUR_THEME/function.php.

// Hooks your functions into the correct filters
function my_add_mce_button() {
	// check user permissions
	if ( !current_user_can( 'edit_posts' ) && !current_user_can( 'edit_pages' ) ) {
	// check if WYSIWYG is enabled
	if ( 'true' == get_user_option( 'rich_editing' ) ) {
		add_filter( 'mce_external_plugins', 'my_add_tinymce_plugin' );
		add_filter( 'mce_buttons', 'my_register_mce_button' );
add_action('admin_head', 'my_add_mce_button');

// Declare script for new button
function my_add_tinymce_plugin( $plugin_array ) {
	$plugin_array['my_mce_button'] = get_template_directory_uri() .'/mg-mce-btns.js';
	return $plugin_array;

// Register new button in the editor
function my_register_mce_button( $buttons ) {
	array_push( $buttons, 'my_mce_button' );
	return $buttons;


Step-2: Create file mg-mce-btns.js, Save this file to /wp-content/themes/YOUR_THEME. Note: Save file into same directory where function.php. Copy below code and place it into mg-mce-btns.js file.


(function() {
	tinymce.PluginManager.add('my_mce_button', function( editor, url ) {
		editor.addButton( 'my_mce_button', {
			text: 'JQuery',
			icon: false,
			type: 'menubutton',
			menu: [
					text: 'Item 1',
					menu: [
							text: 'Sub Item 1',
							onclick: function() {
								editor.insertContent('This is Sub Item-1');
							text: 'Sub Item 2',
							onclick: function() {
								editor.insertContent('This is Sub Item-2');
					text: 'Item 2',
					menu: [
							text: 'Sub Item 1',
							onclick: function() {
								editor.insertContent('This is Munu-2 - Sub Item-1');
							text: 'Sub Item 2',
							onclick: function() {
								editor.insertContent('This is Munu-2 - Sub Item-2');



How to create drop down mce buttons at wordpress tiny editor window

Download complete source code: Source files