The A-2-Z of business blog writing: O is for Opinions

blog,writing,business,opinions,Suzan St Maur,howtowritebetter.net, how to write better

Opinions are like tomatoes

Opinions are like tomatoes: delicious and welcome when they’re ripe and plump, but utterly undesirable if they are rotten or don’t fit in with a particular menu.

So how should we incorporate opinions – our own, as well as others’ – into our blog posts? Should we insulate them with get-out clauses that compensate for any potential disagreement, or should we say what we think in a carefree, gung-ho manner and the hell with the consequences?

Or should we adopt a journalistic stance and stick purely with the facts when we’re writing blog posts?

First catch your buffalo, as we Canadians say

Before you decide on whether or not to share your own personal opinion in a blog post, I think it’s important that you lay out the facts of the topic for your readers to consider first of all.

I know that sometimes it’s good to smack your readers across the face with a controversial thought or argument, but if you’re in business and want to maintain your kudos as someone knowledgeable in your field, to strike out with an opinion upfront will seem arrogant and possibly, even, conceited.

Before you go into your opinions, no matter how strongly you feel about the issue concerned, present a factual case for readers to consider.

Then start a new section (with a new cross heading) and express your own opinions on the issue. Finally, round off by asking your readers what they think, and invite them to share their views in the comments.

What about others’ opinions?

If you want to turn your blog post into a true discussion it’s worth finding out what key people and even “gurus” in your industry think about the issue and incorporating their views in your text. You can do this in one of two ways:

1.Google the topic and check out what the industry leaders are saying about it. Set up a Google Alert using the topic’s keywords and wait until you get some useful feedback – providing your topic isn’t too obscure you will get feedback pretty soon. (The Google Alert service is free … for now, anyway!)

2.Find and contact thought leaders on this topic and ask them for their views. Despite being perpetually “busy” a lot of these people are happy to answer quick questions and all you need for your blog post is one or maybe two quotes. If you get in there, email the person you choose with a question or two to which s/he can respond simply by hitting “reply” and slotting their answer in after your question. It takes very little time and you’ll be surprised by the helpful responses you might get, even from famous types.

Using opinions as a discussion pivot

Although I’ve mentioned asking readers’ views in the comments, you can take this a bit further and ask some of your key readers or customers what their views are on the topic before you write the post (letting them know that you will be using their input and asking if they want to be attributed with a link to their business URL or to remain anonymous.)

This way you can incorporate a range of different viewpoints and approaches to your topic in your original post. The advantage here is that the fact that your post already contains a number of different people’s opinions, it will attract further discussion more fluently than if you ask people simply to share their views on what you  think alone.

And don’t be afraid of conflicting opinions

Unless you view your blog purely as a sales platform for you and your business (and please Heavens that you don’t) you should be brave enough to incorporate opinions that don’t necessarily chime with your own.

blog,writing,news,blogging,business,Suzan St Maur,howtowritebetter.net,how to write betterWhy? Because you can acknowledge the fact that we can agree to differ, and more importantly you can use such differing views to create a stimulating discussion that allows you to show your expertise in countering the dissenter’s views, and showing him/her as well as all other readers that you really do know what you’re talking about.

What do you think about sharing opinions in your blog posts?

Please let us know here…
photo credit: epSos.de via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. The beauty about a blog post is the edit facility. If I write a review about something and in my opinion some of the things aren’t right, I say so. If things change later, it is so easy to add an edit to the original post. This isn’t always so easy when writing a review on somebody else’s website but on your own blog it’s brilliant.

  2. Absolutely, Angelika! Personally I wouldn’t want to make radical changes to a blog post without stating that this is an update, and I imagine that you feel the same way. It’s more honest to readers rather than just changing large chunks anonymously.

    But I do make “anonymous” corrections when I find a typo or other goof I’ve made earlier… 😉

    • Oh yes, I change things by adding them, but like you, I just correct mistakes.

      Actually, I’m just imagining the edit for a mistake:
      Edit: just is spelled ‘just’ not like my first version ‘juts’ 😉

Thoughts

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