31DBBB Day 19: Write an Opinion Post on Your Blog

This is Day 19 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

Today’s lesson and assignment is to write a post that expresses your opinion about something.

As Darren wrote:

Expressing opinions on your blog is like adding seasoning to food. Without it your blog could end up being quite bland.

Offline you know some people who are very opinionated and some people who seem unable to express an opinion for fear of offending someone.  The same is true online among bloggers.  So, in today’s post I’ve included two sets of tips, one for the unopinionated and one for the very opinionated.

Tips for Unopinionated bloggers (Why your opinion matters)

  • Your opinion is part of your voice. It’s part of what makes your blog unique and memorable.
  • People want analysis. There’s no shortage of information these days.  People don’t want more facts, they want help making sense of the facts.
  • Opinion demonstrates the depth of your understanding. When you express a well-reasoned opinion, it demonstrates you understand your field and gives you added credibility.
  • Opinions spark interesting discussion. If you express an opinion on a controversial or emotional subject, you can stir people to express their opinions which can lead to some very interesting conversations.
  • Don’t try to please everyone. Some people are afraid to express their opinions because they don’t want to risk offending and losing readers who don’t share their opinion.  I think it was Bill Cosby who said, “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone.”
  • Controversy gets attention. Take it for what it’s worth, but people (and posts) that are most opinionated and most controversial get attention.  Being controversial, though, comes with the downside risk of potentially undermining your credibility.

Tips for Very Opinionated Bloggers

  • Be wary of arrogance. It’s very easy for opinionated people to come off sounding arrogant, as if they think their opinion is the only right opinion and anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot.  Consider adding caveats like “I think” and “In my opinion.”
  • Close your post by asking others for their opinion.
  • Leave some oxygen for others. Don’t include every possible argument for (or against) your opinion.  You don’t want people to read your post and not comment because you’ve said everything there is to be said on the issue.  Leave some points for your readers to make in the comments.

Discussion

  1. Do you find it easy or difficult to express to form and express opinions?
  2. Do you have any other tips for writing opinion posts?
  3. Do you have an examples of opinion posts you’ve written that stirred good conversation on your blog?  Post a link.

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • No blog to review today.

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

39 Responses to “31DBBB Day 19: Write an Opinion Post on Your Blog”

  1. Controversy is never easy for me. Whether it is in writing or in person. I get knots in my stomach.

    This is a great post and assignment. I already had today's post scheduled so I will be posting my opinion piece tomorrow. A book review of Seth Godin's book Linchpin.

    Here is my post for today: http://larrywestfall.com/seek-wisdom-as-you-would

    • Love your post Larry.

      I sometimes get knots in my stomach too when writing or not but that's also sometimes when I realize that it's time to pray.

  2. I do read a lot of opinion type posts related to church/denomination issues. Although that stuff interests me and I visit those blogs and often comment on them, that is not the content or niche of my blog. I like to be controversial on others' blogs, but not so much mine.
    But I can see how I can write some opinion pieces just by giving reasons why I believe what I do about discipleship (my topic). So today I wrote Four Reasons Why I Believe the Bible: http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/four

  3. My difficulty with this assignment is that I was taught "Your paper [or blog] IS your opinion." So I thought I've been posting my opinion all along. It's not as if I'm going to put something out there I don't think is right or don't agree with. Of course, most people don't realize that when I put something together that I'm expressing my opinion they think of it as an inspirational teaching or something like that. For today's post I tried to be a bit more clear that this was an opinion of mine but I'm not really sure how I did. http://justapen.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/fighting

    • I think you're generally correct – the things you write are your opinion – except that sometimes you might have a poem as a post, or a story, maybe a story about something that happened to you and the thoughts it triggered. Observations and creative works aren't always opinion.

    • I think you're right in a sense, but I think some posts are more opinionated than others. I think today's lesson is talking more specifically about a post that includes analysis, a critique, or taking a side on an issue.

  4. I find it easy to express opinions about something as long as I know it's okay to blog about it. I can't blog about some of the things I have opinions about, just wouldn't be good.

    When writing an opinion post I feel it is helpful to be open minded and not extremely irritated, frusturated, or angry when you are writing. In my opinion you don't want it to keep out sounding like you are mad at your readers, but rather that you are stating your opinion in a respectful manner that can be discussed in love.

    I wasn't real sure what I had an opinion about so this is a little different but still an opinion post – Blogging with God -http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/blog

    • Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you say you can't blog about something of things you have opinions on "just wouldn't be good"? Not good as in you don't know enough to really support your opinion, or not good as in the topic or opinion is a little too far out there?

      • Meaning that there are times when something happens in life and you have an opinion about which way something should go, like choosing sides in a situation or arguing about an opinion you had on something your parents told you earlier that day. Being that it's a public blog, if you use names or write it in a way that it can be figured out what you're writing about there are some opinionated things (as well as other things) that just aren't the best to blog about. Kind of like how you shouldn't tweet your exact location, or that you'll be offline from one time to another. It's for safety, caution, discernment, … In other words the things I had an opinion about while writing, were not good things to share my opinion on on a public blog. Does that help?

  5. I like writing opinion pieces and don't back away from a good discussion. But when I went to write my article last night I really struggled with this particular topic. I knew that people view this issue as so sacred that I was concerned that anything I said would be summarily dismissed and I'd just be labeled a heretic.

    So after a couple of rewrites, I decided to share my opinion in a story instead. As you read it, it doesn't sound like an opinion piece, but by the time the readers get to the application question, I think it may hit them.
    http://captainestes.blogspot.com/2010/05/value-an

  6. I have found that by "taking the gloves off" a little bit in expressing my opinions, my comment rates have shot up! I'm not trying to stir up controversy, but I'm being a little less tentative about broaching topics where I don't fit the mold.

    (My latest post — a few days ago, I confess — was just a reminder that I continued to extend my link post: More reactions to "contemporvant" video.)

  7. Well, let me hear about you opinion:http://synapticlight.com/poll-what-do-you-think-o
    Keeping the opinion in the area that my blog tries to reside in – keeping it relevant and contextual,
    I take opinions with a pinch of salt on the internet: people sometime say stuff to promote themselves or protect themselves which does not really mean that it is honest.
    So I think one of the key points in drawing our opinion is to prepare for is, plan it and write a few lead up posts that get people talking. Then hopefully they will be more open when you ask the pertinent questions.

  8. Confrontation makes me nervous too, so this one is tough for me, especially if I'm thinking of writing something I feel others will disagree with. I do book reviews on my blog, though, so I guess I'm already doing the "easy" type of opinion posts. (In fact, I just posted a book review last week and have another one coming up on Monday.) I need to do more work on getting my opinions about other topics out there. I'm still working to be more transparent and authentic in my writing.

    ~Jennifer

  9. Several observations come to mind as I read this assignment.

    1) There's a difference between an educated opinion and an off-the-cuff opinion formed from first impressions and few facts. It's best to have the former, especially if you're going to strongly state your opinion.

    2) This post mentions food a lot, even a specific idea for food blogs. I have a food blog, but don't update it regularly, and now I have specific advice for when I get back to it! (http://culinarygeek.wordpress.com/ )

    3) The distance that the internet places between people seems to bring out the worst in people when it comes to debating opinions. People will say things – especially negative things – in blog comments or forums that they wouldn't say in person, and statements of opinion can quickly become an attack on the person with the opinion. As he said in the assignment, stating your opinion with grace is important here, and when an opinion post turns into a debate, rebutting with grace is also important.

    4) I need to work on leaving oxygen for others. It's difficult for me to not cover every possible angle. I feel like I'm leaving something unfinished when I do that.

  10. I do this already … though I tend to forget toleave space for others to comment so will endeavour to do better next time teacher :)

    Also folks – I'm offski on holiday (UK half term) and I will be logging in veeeerrrry rarely next week. Mon / Tues yes but after that not a chance. So will have to catch up then. Have fun on days 21 thru 25 but "I'll be back".

    Oh and here's an opinion I wrote earlier:http://www.churchtechy.com/2009/08/spying-on-chil

  11. Probably everything I write is an opinion post in some sense. Whether it's commentary on a bible passage, a review of a book, a journal entry, or something else. This is my opinion of either what I believe God is saying to me or of some book about what that author believes God is saying to him/her.

    I appreciate the point Paul makes not to "suck up all the oxygen" by expressing every possible argument and exhausting the possibilities for discussion. It's my tendency to do that, and then I get people saying things like, "This is a great post–thanks," or saying nothing at all, when I really wanted to hear their thoughts on the subject. I love hearing the compliments–don't get me wrong–it keeps me going. But it's nice to have a discussion, too. Thanks, Paul!

    Blessings to all, Gotta go!

    Cindy

  12. I am also going to post the opinion peice tomorrow.
    Here's today's :http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/more-i-se

  13. I am slowly changing my mind about opinion pieces. I have always kind of held to the only opinion that matters is Christ's. But I have an idea about an opinion piece that is liable to grab a lot of people's opinion. I will write it today, but I have decided to post it tomorrow.

    Today's piece is just some fun I was having after readin' Chad's blog pieces on "Things that make you go hmmmm…."
    http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/heres

  14. I actually believe in measured controversy because it provokes a debate. I am not at all intimidated by that, because I am not trying to be right. If comments go against me I learn, but I get so, so bored when I see a lot of affirmative commentary. Without some fireworks I quickly lose interest. Paul was controversial, so was Jesus and Peter and others. In fact God casts our lives into controversy and contradiction because that is His blackboard. Jewish scholars actual learn through point and counterpoint debate, where one student has to assume a kind of devil's advocate, because the debate forces deeper reasoning and examination of assumptions. I once met a Geography teacher who was president of the flat earth society – without much teaching but plenty of robust debate, his learners grew and taught themselves.

  15. Although controversy is important to me, let me add that I offer a mix of content – a fair blend of neutral, safe, simple inspiration, which I call rhetorical content, offset by some well seasoned debate. I also have a weekly intense debate which I am seeking to use to get into deeper discourse with others – because I want to listen, I enjoy wider opinions and I always enjoy engagement.

  16. My initial reaction to this assignment is to say that it does not fit in my niche. My blog is geared to be Christian Inspirational and I do not see where dropping in opinions would fit with that theme. I even felt awkward about posting a piece on Women of Faith's new worship CD as part of their contest to win the CD.
    Additionally, I agree with an earlier comment that our opinions should be educated ones and not ones made in the heat of the moment. As of right now, I don't think I have any opinions that I have researched. Opinions that would make for good conversation.

    In the meantime, if someone would like to take a look at my recent post: http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/05/answer

    Do you think that post could be an opinion?

    In Him,
    Janis

  17. Whew…Finally was able to keep up with one of these lessons…
    http://ragamuffinray.blogspot.com/2010/05/and-one

    Just my opinion but my opinion is of course always right! : )

  18. I definitely, in my flesh am a people-pleaser. But God is faithfully breaking that in me. I believe the Spirit of the Lord gives boldness to speak Truth in love. I recently did a post in response to reading an article on Ray Boltz coming "out of the closet" and it received a lot of comments, especially on Facebook.http://unrehearsedadventure.blogspot.com/2010/05/

    So I would agree that opinion posts do stir the pot, so to speak.

    My post today is just a fun one exposing my craziness.http://unrehearsedadventure.blogspot.com/2010/05/

  19. I find it harder to do opinion blogs. I think my recent post titled "Thamk you for boing a friend" could be considered an opinion blog. Here is today's post. http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/more-i-se

  20. After a long day of meetings, I finally made it back to participate in the conversation. Good discussion going on today. Lots of great comments.

    I just wanted to add that opinion posts have been some of the most popular I've written and provoked some of the most interesting discussions both here and on LiveIntentionally.org. A few examples:

    Are Churches Bait-and-Switching People?
    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2009/11/18/are-c

    Online Church = Online Sex
    http://blog.ourchurch.com/2009/07/08/online-churc

    And then the most read & commented on post on this blog prior this series…

    Why Willow Creek and Saddleback are Losing Influence While North Point and LifeChurch.tv are Gaining Influence
    http://blog.ourchurch.com/2009/07/30/why-willow-c

    • Paul, I agree with you. I really have appreciated this blog. Throughout church history debate was suppressed, resulting in ignorance, yet even in Paul's time the people went home, "to examine if these things be so". I recently withdrew from a notable site, because although the host hung out tantalizing subjects and even invited feedback on his site, in reality he preferred neutral commentary to real engagement – it does not surprise me that he also reports a high turnover in his readership. Engagement through debate is where we find common ground and move beyond relational veneer into reality, without which we will only politely dance at the edges of the relationship and never connect. Thanks for this.

      • Thanks Peter. I agree that throughout much of church history debate has been suppressed. Even in the 20th century, which we typically think of as including great advances in communication saw a decline in open discussion because all of the communication was one-way broadcast with no capacity for dialog.

        Blogs, forums, and social media sites finally provide opportunity for ideas to be shared and challenged in pursuit of truth.

  21. Spent some time thinking about what I would write. It was easy to write and difficult at the same time. You never know what to expect when you write your opinion. Here is today's opinion post. http://oikosministries.com/archives/1493

  22. I find it easy to form and express opinions but never really thought that was an important type of post for a inspirational stories and poems blog. However, I see what you mean.
    I have an example of an opinion post, unfortunately, it didn't stir good conversation. http://inspirationalgifts.blogspot.com/2008/08/pu
    However, I didn't ask people to respond with their opinion. I will need to do that from now on!

  23. Some blogs will generate more debate than others. I must admit that I have not consideredthis necessary in the past. I will post my opinion post live tomorrow. You will see it at http://www.christchosenambassadorsministry.com/