The Ultimate Marketing Strategy: Being Controversial

The Ultimate Marketing Strategy is something we all chase. Marketing is all about getting something in front of people, ultimately, the goal for most creators on social media, is more engagement/reach, more engagement means more reach which drives more engagement and so on.


Well lets look at the definition, it reads; relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument typically when prolonged, public, and heated: likely to produce controversy. By it’s own definition, Controversy is an ultimate marketing strategy, because controversial subjects “cause much prolonged discussion”, so what does that look like on social media? It looks like a whole lot of engagement.
Have you ever seen the Comic Book Resources Facebook Page share a horrible take that literally no one else has. They will post something like “Wolverine would be better if he didn’t exist” or some variation of some bullshit. It triggers the nerds and gets us all to comment and engage on the post, we cant just scroll by without telling the poster how dumb he/she is. Does CBR care that we are all calling them idiots, will it change anything? HELL NO, they don’t give a dam, that’s what they want, they are laughing while they count their earnings up and type up the next horrible take they drop hourly.
Think of shock jockeys like Howard Stern. The man made a living off of being controversial. Look at Joe Rogan who is nowhere near as controversial as Howard, but is being painted out to be, but that’s neither here nor there… look at the amount of reach he is getting, without having to pay a dime or do any work. You can’t buy this type of publicity or replicate it, no matter how much money you throw at it, one because its organic, and two, its at such a ridiculous level across the entire board of play. Its ironic for the people trying to silence him, because they are only making him bigger.


When we see something we like, we respond in a positive, calm manner, and when we all agree on something, what much more is there to say? Of course there is still possibility for numerous discussions, but with something you like, its much easier to hit the like button and move on in peace. But, when we see something we don’t like or don’t agree with or something that challenges the norm, it chemically triggers something in our brain and we are much more inclined to speak up or act on something. Its harder for us to scroll on in peace without giving our 2 cents. Its why shitposters, memers, trolls, and comedians do so well in getting reactions.
You can see this sort of thing for yourself, on pretty much all social media, firstly, in just the sheer amount of negativity alone, everyone loves to hate, but when you start looking for it, you see what I mean, its self evident, and quite obvious right? Like of course controversy would be a great tool to achieve higher engagement rates. That’s why I call it the ultimate marketing strategy, work smarter not harder sort of thing, yeh?
YOUTUBE On YouTube we have controversial youtubers themselves, like Plainpotatoes, David Dobrik and the Paul Brothers to name a few. We also have commentators who discuss all sorts of the latest controversy. Some do so without sharing their personal views on the matter and just give you a brief review of events, like the hosts of Esports. Then you have Youtubers, like DramaAlert, who dive a little deeper and share some of their opinions along the way, which people then deem controversial lol.
On Facebook its like I said, purposely posting stuff they know will get a rise, such as the CBR example above. Another one is the Elon Musk slander by Futurism FB page lol, you would think a page dedicated to the future would say one positive thing about him but nope, and the audience notices and comments about it every single time.
On TikTok we see this in the form of audio, people selecting controversial audio to put over their regular old video. 2 Examples are:

@thoughtcastofficial 💯🙏🏻#fypシ #foam#color#satisfying #carguy #almost2022 #carsoftiktok #mustanggt

♬ original sound – Wolfgang

#artist #collage #artwork #painting #artschool #legend #scaryart #cringetok #creator #blowthisup #debate #mixedmedia #fyp

♬ original sound – Brian Huntress


I personally know this to be true because my Dopely Discusses Series, where I talk about trending and controversial topics, is one of my best performing series and gets the most comments. Also I put that Tik Tok audio to the test and it got double my recent views and got me comments, where as dam near the rest of my vids on there have no comments.


Now clearly this strategy may not work for you, your content, or your niche, and that’s alright, not every strategy works for everyone, but if it does and If you can take the heat, and can play into everything, it can work well. There are countless people who deploy this strategy, I would say Jake Paul has done well at it. Another great example would be Keemstar from DramaAlert that I mentioned above, people loved to hate that guy lol, but he kept doing his show and people kept watching, same with Jake Paul. What I mean by taking the heat is, you will get a lot of hate comments from people who misunderstand your point of view on these matters. You have to not care what people think and not let them affect your trajectory. Not everyone can do that, which is fine, you can go a more tame way or like esports and just cover things from an unbiased view point and just ask your audience what they think, which drives discussion.
If this strategy is not for you, its still good to be aware of it, and realize how often its being deployed, and next time you wont fall for the engagement trap on a post purposely trying to trigger you.


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