One of my favourite past times is creating controversy. I enjoy it, but it is also 100% strategic. I learnt early on that controversy is the best way to get people talking, and also the best way to polarise people. When you polarise, you find your type of person – the type who think the same as you and have the same attitude. You also get the opposites, the type of person you don’t want to work with, off your list.

Controversy is the single most effective marketing strategy I’ve ever used. But, there is an art to it. You can’t just randomly put up Facebook statuses or blog posts tearing things down without knowing what you’re doing.

So, here’s Chapter 1 in the Book of Controversy: NEVER, EVER attack a person. Not only is it bad form – it’s also grounds for legal action.

By the way, slander does NOT have to name the person – the letter of the law states that un-named slander can still be sued for if  “a reasonable person would know who was being attacked”.

Attack an idea – disagree with it, tear it to shreds. Attack an industry – call it out, urge it to sort itself out. These are broad subjects – no one can claim to own a whole industry, or an idea. Those are public domain and you can attack as much as you want, as long as you have some idea what you’re talking about (we’ll cover this in future chapters).

This doesn’t mean you have to be vague. I encourage you to talk about your personal experiences with the idea or industry, but leave other people out of it. Talk about how a situation makes you feel – not how a specific person has acted.

It’s a fine line, and one some people have to cross to learn the lesson fully. Just remember you are using a marketing tactic for your business, so have as much legal caution as you would when approaching any other aspect of your work. The aim is to grow your business, not have it shut down.

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