You May Hate These Bloggers, But They Create Raving Fans

You May Hate These Bloggers, But They Create Raving Fans

Ever heard of the saying “Substance over style?”
Yeah, me too, right before the ice age killed all the dinosaurs. Seriously, that term is so geocities it belongs to the web grave together with pure HTML websites and sprite images. Here’s where I’m coming from:

A few years ago, when I was infected with the blogging virus, the pro talk was all about creating evergreen content.

You may know the spiel:
Write 2-3K long, information-infested how-to articles that could withstand the sands of time. It’s what the blogging masters said, and maybe that was true in that age. But boy, has the web changed our reading style or what? With today’s pathetic attention span and smartphone-iritis, people of the internet swipe, scan and skip like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve heard that from my peers from all over the planet, and it has scared me.

Why even bother blogging informational epic posts? The question faded when I analyzed some of the popular writers I followed online:
Chuck Wendig, Larry Correia, James Altucher and Milo Yiannopoulos, among others.

They range from the left to the moderate to the right of the political spectrum and ignite the crowds like gunpowder from the fire nation. But oh my, do they attract a following. Their posts receive shares in the multiple hundreds, as well as comment blasts ranging from 300 to 3000 per blog post, not too mention all the Twitter rage, blocking and hate mail that comes with it.

But why do these bloggers attract such a loyal and strong fanbase? I think for a couple of reasons:

—They have strong opinions and dare to express them openly on the web, which is something to admire in this offendatron world.
Do they share information in the traditional sense? Well, they tend to write HEAVILY opinionated blog posts with a few infos sprinkled in-between. The readers who agree with their view points soon turn into junkies that need the next blog fix.
Edgy honesty is always polarizing. And addictive.

—They create a black and white narrative. It’s always ‘us’ against ‘them’, whether ‘us’ are the indie authors versus the evil traditional publishing empire, the ‘Hugos’ versus the ‘Sad Puppies’ (and their invasion!), and the classic ‘left’ versus ‘right’.
A black and white narrative is all about inclusion and exclusion, which makes it a powerful tool to rally your troops.
(Fight the army AKA vote for my article/book/ AKA spam the enemy website with troll comments)

—They have a unique writing style. Chuck Wendig makes up curse words and writes weird English while showing his progressive views, staccato style. Larry Correia takes apart his haters in commentary-style blog posts and makes fun of his eternal enemies, Social Justice Warriors. Milo Yiannopoulos takes apart everything to the left with his British humor. And James Altucher? He’s got that paranoid, self-critical Woody Allen shtick to his every edu-taining blogpost.

Some of their posts make me cringe. I often think–wow, did they really publish THAT to the whole wide world? Yes, they did. And they receive hatemail for it. But hey, FLAK fire and fanfare go together like beer and sausage.

The number one reason why their readers come back again and again is because they want to know what the author has to say about topic X, delivered in their irreverent style. Information is an added flavor, nothing more. People crave people foremost.

That’s why in today’s world, style beats substance with a baseball bat and titan-steel nails attached. Clob, clob, take that substance. Go back home and algorise yourself.

But oh boy, are they attracting readers like flies to the shit.


If you only create lackluster informational posts, you’re competing with Wikipedia and algorism and guess what, they’re going to roboterminate you.

Don’t fight robots by out-roboting them.
Fight them with human flavored power.
Ooze your articles with your opinion and personal experience, and hit the publish button like you stole the keyboard.

Sure, you’re going to piss off the perpetually offended, but do you want these narcissists to read your blog anyways?

  • Amelia Robin King

    Being brave have a reward I guess. I have a few negative or critique opinions around popular Young adult books that I kept to myself, maybe because I’m still learning on writing and because angry fans are terrifiying. Yes, there are certain things I hate with all my heart of YA that I try to avoid at all cost in my stories but still don’t feel ready to point out those things.Strong opinions are important, and are part of our branding and message, but I guess I prefer to focus my energy more on creating than dealing with angry fans, even when sounds funny and tempting. Great post!

    • Mars Dorian

      Yes, I think it also depends on your character. The bloggers/writers I mentioned are controversial and probably like opposition, judging by their edgy tweets etc.

      For me, it comes down to being yourself without censoring your character and stories. Because…haters gonna hate…trollers gotta troll;)

    • Ken Carroll

      Yes, yes, we all have biases. And free speech is an issue where no-one could really disagree. But openly attacking the political views of potential clients seems to me an unforced error that happens all the time – just yesterday I saw someone I admire and would consider doing business with just openly and nakedly attack people with a different viewpoint as morons – on a business account. That’s just crazy. Anyway, you’re doing great work, Mars. Keep it up.

  • Ken Carroll

    Totally agree that lackluster is the slow kiss of death – and the main reason, incidentally, why most bloggers fail.

    Agree also that the antidote is human flavored – or human-friendly content as I like to call it. You do a good job of this, Mars, with some nifty word-play of your own – not bad at all for a non-native speaker.

    As for controversy I think that gets much trickier. Unless you’re a political blogger or a scandal merchant I think you have to be really careful with the controversy. It’s amazing the number of people who will go start, raving berserk in political arguments. It takes some seriously thick skin to manage that and depending on your business it could actually end up being very bad for business. So, my advice to ANYONE running an online business would be to definitely develop and attitude and some non-traditional ideas, but to to steer way clear of politics.

    • Mars Dorian

      Interesting views, Ken, especially about the business and controversy. But don’t you think it’s impossible for an artist/writer to stay clear of it? I mean, as a European, I have no interest about talking US politics, but every blogpost and book one creates does reflect the creator’s views, if only on a subtle level. Someone who’s a fervent proponent of freedom of expression and speech already gives away his leanings, don’t you think?

  • Sabra Kay

    This is so true. I am a huge fan of Chuck Wendig and James Altucher (haven’t read the other two). They both have an engaging writing style, and dispense opinions (sometimes unpopular to say the least) but there’s another thing, besides edginess and style that they have in common: They help people. Chuck does a lot for writers. He has created a genuine community over there on his blog. His flash fiction prompts and contests are awesome and fun and make for good writing practice. He creates some really useful content in a style that people like me (immature, irreverent and easily distracted) enjoy. James has a completely different style, but he also helps people, through his blog and his podcasts. The fact that he is so open with his mistakes and flaws makes him super accessible and vulnerable and that draws people in even more.

    • Mars Dorian

      That’s a point I neglected, Sabra. Chuck and James do foster their community and turned their blogs into a community hub of like-minded folks. Reminds me of what Seth Godin said—connect people inside a niche with each other (I’m badly paraphrasing here). I’m planning to share more of my self-publishing adventures and see whether I can attract a similar community.

      • Sabra Kay

        You should do that, I could see you creating a great community! Maybe narrowing down your niche to other sci-fi indies, or illustrators, etc.

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