Banbury Howard

Flirting with content controversy – five things to review before having an opinion in business

In our content rich era, is it really dangerous to have an actual opinion or is it essential to getting ahead?

Working with clients to craft their content – whether that’s blogs, ads, collateral and social media posts, we’re often asked not to create an actual opinion on the issue in question.

While this can make it difficult (actually nigh on impossible in some instances!) to find a unique and worthwhile angle, it’s certainly understandable.

So when should we have an opinion and when should we simply regurgitate existing news and views? Here are five things to think about before choosing whether to tell the world your own thoughts, or keep a low profile.

1. Does it harm your brand?

One of the main reasons many people wish to stay silent on issues is the thought that their opinion may, in some way, harm their brand. But having an opinion can sometimes also reinforce your brand, showing that you have strength in your convictions. Every brand should have one overarching truth, and understanding that truth will help you to understand the opinions that will work for you.

2. Will it gain attention?

Gaining attention – especially from the media – can definitely be a good thing, but it can also cause a lot of trouble. Unless you’re a political organisation or affiliated with one, it’s probably a good idea not to include politics in business. The same can be said of religion, and other similarly emotive subjects.

3. Will it cause people pain or discomfort?

You can’t please everyone, no matter what you do or say. And this is true whether you have an opinion or not. While the content of your opinion may cause some people to disagree, as long as they’re not your ideal customers, this shouldn’t have a detrimental effect on business. But offending people, causing them pain or discomfort will do.

4. Is it backed up by truth?

Whether your opinion is likely to provoke attention or not, it should be backed up by cold hard facts. This doesn’t mean you need to know the subject inside and out, but your beliefs should be informed, rather than formed on hearsay.

5. What gives you the authority?

Even if all of the other points work out well for you, if your opinion has no relevance to what your business does, there’s no reason to share it from your business platform.

The best way to start airing your opinion is to write it down and then sit on it for a while before you publish it. This could be a day or two, or just an hour or so – after all, you need to make sure your opinion is timely rather than a delayed reaction. But in that time, consider:

  • Does it really need to be said?
  • Is there a benefit to airing your opinion?
  • Have you got the facts to back it up if asked?
  • Do you have the conviction to stand by your opinion if questioned?

Cut through the monotonous mountain and get your opinion noticed

Once you’re sure about what you’re saying, go ahead and publish your content. If you want to be a leader in your marketplace, you’ll need to get out there and be different. And remember, if you want to be noticed, you need to be novel. Get your thoughts out there!