Are you a game-changer or are you trying to game the system?

by Craig McBreen · 32 comments · Social media

This 83-word gem from Seth Godin inspired me, for several reasons.

1. So far I’m not worrying about SEO, so it was good to get a little validation from a guy who seems to know what he’s doing.

2. For me it’s all about content. Another guy I admire preaches this like gospel.

What about you? What are you more concerned with? Being relevant and providing content that people want to consume is about being remarkable, right?

I think part of doing that right is embracing that gifted oddball you know your are.

But the more important component is developing and practicing a tenacious habit of rule breaking by simply doing things your way. Got it, Cuz?

Pretty bang-on, don’t you think? Go ahead and pimp your own little ride.

How do you define success in this realm?

What are your essential ingredients?

And what is your path to that end-goal?

Is it about search engine traffic and keyword rankings?

Your Klout score or a social proof badge of honor?”

Or is it more about turning the system on its head by injecting your own special form of genius in a most purposeful way?

I guess it could be both, but I get a headache thinking about all this stuff.

The way I see it, you need to stop emulating others, focus a bit less on those confounding numbers and take a look in the mirror.

The creative you vs. creative gaming, right?

What is it that makes you unique?

Is there something you can bring that no one else can?

What can you do better?

What crazy idea is burning away in your old noodle?

Bring it and be steadfast in your mission, because it might just be the rocket fuel you need to soar.

… then you might not have to worry about the numbers.

So, are you a game changer or are you trying to game the system?

Has attracting eyeballs become an obsession? Are you lost in the numbers game?

Like Seth, are you refusing to work the system?

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Pollock March 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Hey Craig:

Thanks so much for the link. That’s one of my favorite posts (for obvious reasons).

All My Best – Michael
Michael Pollock recently posted..Inspiration from Will SmithMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Hi Michael,

Sure thing! I love the interview (read it several times) and obviously loved his advice re: focusing on content.

Thanks for stopping by!


Bill Dorman March 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I am not a Dick. Some think you have to be to get noticed in here, but all I know is how to be my self. Good, bad or indifferent it is what I do best.

I have never gamed the system, worried about keywords, worried about numbers, etc. Are people clamoring for my greatness…..well, not exactly but I don’t think I’ve done too bad in here so far. I think I’m certainly ‘known’ in enough places….

I vote for being your unique self and don’t try to create some persona that is totally different than who you are. I’ve seen those who have done that and I won’t say I lost respect for them, but I will say I have decided to take my talents to South Beach…oh wait that was LeBron; I have decided to spend my time elsewhere.

That is my story crab cake.
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am not a DickMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Bill,

Well, that’s good to know ;) But, yes some people are quite good at pulling that one off. Did I say “pulling?”

You’re like me then. I’m just not worried about all that stuff right now, I just figure it’s more important to focus on the content, less on SEO, etc.

I would say you are known in enough places and you’re doing quite well, so I’m glad you’re admitting that, plus you invited people to say Dick on your site about 1,000 times. God love ya.

You have no time for characters? I prefer the real deal too.

Later on, you Florida Cracker ;)


Joe D. March 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

Craig, for my money, the way to be a game changer is:

To write for yourself.
Let the people that like what you do discover you.
Keep doing it for a long stretch of time.
Believe that someone loves your message, and the way you deliver it.
Rinse and repeat.

The rest is bull. Keep shippin’, bro.
Joe D. recently posted..Some Guys Have All The LuckMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 1:19 am

Hi Joe,

I like your model, especially the “Let the people that like what you do discover you” part. I know some are really crafty at gaming the system, but I think what you’ve outlined works best, plus it’s way more fun.

Rinse and repeat. Yes!

Thanks for dropping in and I’ll keep shippin’!


Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC) March 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I have been blogging for three years now and the most amazing thing has been to build a blog community around my writing. This is what makes it all worthwhile for me.


Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Hi Marie,

Wow, three years! You qualify as a true veteran in this space.

Indeed, I’m just learning how fun that can be.

Thanks for stopping by.


Al Smith March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Thanks Craig. Another good one. I really don’t CARE about the numbers. I want to make a difference. Influence and Inspire Positive Change. Have a positive impact and help make this a better place to live. Share a message of hope and believe that things can and will get better. I will continue to work on myself and know that I can do a lot of things better, if I continue to Listen, Learn and Practice. The change begins with me. Take CARE.

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Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hi Al,


If you keep at it like you have, you will make a difference. Heck, you already are! I say watch out once you get on the speaking circuit.

You’re right, the change begins with you.

You take CARE too, man. Thanks for stopping by!


Kaarina Dillabough March 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Craig, you must have been reading my mind. I’ve been pinging and ponging like a ball in a tennis match, reading all the info on SEO, commenting, keywords and the like that say you must do this and you must do that, then bouncing back over to wanting simply to write from the heart.

Since I’m not a believer in “balance”, I guess what I’ve come to is this: I write when the writing muse hits, I employ tactics to a certain degree (but not well, not consistently and certainly not the way the “experts” say we must) and I’m happy, for now at least, to ping and pong between the two extremes. Cheers! Kaarina
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Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Hi Kaarina,

I have those powers, you know ;)

“Pinging and ponging” I like that, but yeah, trying to make sense of all the metrics is enough to make your head spin. I’m not saying I’m not educating myself on this stuff, but for now content is king.

Best to write when the muse hits, but I’ve been forcing myself to sit down and do it every day and it helps immensely.

Hey, at least you are happy pinging and ponging!

Thanks for popping by!


Jill Tooley March 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I agree, Craig! Getting caught in the numbers game is a slippery slope. To me, content shouldn’t be about going viral or ranking for specific key words. As awesome as either of those things may be, we shouldn’t create content with that agenda alone. It should be about creating actual value for readers by making them laugh, cry, or best of all — LEARN. SEO can be configured or tweaked after the fact if need be. Nothing bothers me more than reading content with obvious keyword stuffing! Some people are so focused on rankings that they forget to consider the readability of the piece itself — shouldn’t readability factor in first thing? It’s (unfortunately) true that crappy content often rises to the top, but it also tends to crash and burn when people discover its true worth. I’d rather write something valuable every time! But, I digress.

You asked “Is there something you can bring that no one else can?” Well, I think we should all ask ourselves that question daily. And whatever the answer is, we need to embrace it and make it obvious with every keystroke! Then we can truly embrace our inner oddball and start doing things our own way. We’ve all got something special to share, whether we can see it right away or not. :)
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Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Hi Jill,

Thanks for coming by. Hope you like the place ;)

Getting caught in the numbers game is a good way to lose your mind ;) You’re right, those elements are important to success, but like you say, “actual value” is the key.

Good reminder that SEO can be configured or tweaked after the fact if need be. Ha ha, that keyword stuffing nonsense is so obvious and I concur that it leads to crappy, somewhat confusing content. Crash and burn, indeed! That’s the sorting out process we need to get rid of the gamers.

Great advice in asking ourselves “What can I bring that no one else can?” every single day.

Here’s to embracing our inner oddball!

Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it.


Jill Tooley March 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

My pleasure, Craig, and I love the place!

I’m not sure if keyword stuffers notice how terrible their content is (or if they simply don’t care), but sometimes it’s as obvious as a knuckle to the jaw. SEO “experts” often forget that they should write for PEOPLE and not for SPIDERS. Sure, you could technically game the system and show up higher in the search results, but what’s the point? Anyone with half a brain would figure out the content is complete junk and move on. But you knew that already! Haha.

I asked myself that question before I started working today, and I liked the answer. But who knows what my brain will say come Monday? ;)

Oddballs unite!
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Craig McBreen March 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Hey Jill,

Great to hear!

“obvious as a knuckle to the jaw” … :) Indeed.

I just think some get so deep into the game they forget why they started in the first place. The mega-SEO / metrics / blog vortex sucked them in. Either that … or as you say, they just don’t care. Some are just gamers, huh?

Ha ha, yes who knows what Monday will bring?

Here’s to gifted oddballs everywhere! Cheers, Madam :)


Jason Fonceca March 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Craig. F***, yes. Epic Seth post, and you bring it home.
Normally I’d have a ton of insight to offer… but I have only one thing to say:

Ryze’s How To ‘Be Real’ Exclusive Mentoring – launches April 1st (no foolin’), 12pm EST.
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Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Hi Jason,

83 words too ;) Nobody does it better.

Keep bringing it, Mr. Fonceca.


Jason Fonceca March 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm


I am a mf’ing game-changer. Big time. Across the board. (this needed saying? ;)


Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

That should be your tagline :)

Thanks again for coming by!


Jason Fonceca March 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Haha! Awesome, Craig. I’ve been called a rockstar urban shaman, a success- weight-lifter, and a wise-man for a digital world.

Ryan, Arthur and others have started calling me J-Ryze, so maybe it’d be like this:

“J-Ryze, rockstar urban shaman & mf’ing game-changer.”
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Craig McBreen March 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I’d say J-Ryze works :)


Jens P. Berget March 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hey Craig,

I believe it’s a little bit of everything. A marketing mix. But in the end it’s more or less all about relationships. I preach that we should think about customers/relations for life, and the only way we can do this is if we build strong relationships. Keyword research and SEO is just a way to get traffic in the door, it has nothing to do with if people will stay or not, and if they’ll be back or not… strong relationships makes a huge difference.
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Craig McBreen March 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi Jens,

You’re right, it is a mix. It’s just that some are completely gaming it vs. creating great content.

Agreed, we need to focus on creating relationships that will last.

I have nothing agains SEO, that’s for sure. And I do plan to learn much more about it (already know quite a bit), but I still think great content is key.

Thanks, Jens!


Hajra March 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Ok, I am saying this for the last time – I am here to have fun; don’t make me think so much! :) That is not always a good thing if you must know; before you know it, the ice cream tub is out and I am thinking why, where, when and what.

At a discussion with a fellow blogger; we called it the button dance – go press all the right buttons on my post and let the numbers glorify me. We have glorified numbers – comment count, subscriber count, number of followers,number of fans and so on. I really don’t know why. It’s like the big race to be the one with the biggest numbers. I mean, look at the posts around us – how I got 400 comments, how I moved from page rank 2 to 4 in one week, how I got 1000 subscribers in five days, how my post went viral and got a zillion hits.

Just do your stuff, people will like you for you! :) At least I am hoping that! :)
Hajra recently posted..Better with the lights switched off!My Profile


Craig McBreen March 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm


Nothing wrong with being here to have fun if that is your aim.

And it is obvious you are having a good time and that IS great!

Ha ha, the button dance. I like that! :) You are so right. Some get so caught up in the “social proof” thing or “badges of honor” that they lose sight of what they are doing. Nothing wrong with this stuff of course. I wouldn’t mind having Chris Brogan’s numbers ;) but keeping your eye on the ball is the thing. Don’t lose focus and quality!

“Just do your stuff, people will like you for you! ”
–Love that!

Thanks for stopping by!


Jack@TheJackB March 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I am pleased to see that Seth and I agree on a number of points. Of course he doesn’t have a clue who I am, but that might change today or tomorrow.

Doesn’t really matter to me when or how.

What matters to me is that I write my story and not yours, his or Bill’s. Nothing personal, but my story is the one I know and that I can tell with passion.

My bet is that my content is more interesting when I tell it from that perspective because it makes it easier for you to find the pieces and places that you identify with.

Keep on doing what you are doing here because it works.
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Craig McBreen March 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Hi Jack,

Well, I’m finally getting around to answering your question. Sorry you were in the Spam dungeon … not sure how that happened!

About Seth. You might email him, I heard he is someone who actually answers his emails.

“What matters to me is that I write my story and not yours, his or Bill’s. Nothing personal, but my story is the one I know and that I can tell with passion.”
–Agreed. I feel the same way. I can’t imagine writing if I didn’t feel like this. Gotta love it, right?

And, yes it is WAY more interesting that way.

Thanks, sometimes I feel like I’m stumbling and bumbling through this, but I appreciate this. Nice to hear it from a veteran! :)


Deeone Higgs March 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Hey Craig,

Well, for me, I’m not a fan of the numbers game. If I gave my approach a name, it would be what you said in the post, “badge of honor” and “own special form of genius”.

I’m working this to get credibility as a writer, and at the same time attempting to go about doing it my own unique way. Is it working out for me? Well, I will have to let you know once I get to the finish line. :D

I believe it’s working out perfectly. Yes, I probably have to work a bit harder at it, because I’m not following the rules… at all. However, I’ve never been much at following the rules or playing it how I was told to play it. I’m no rebel, by far. However, I believe that making one’s own path is the way to go about it. That way, if I mess up, I have no one to blame but myself. :)
Deeone Higgs recently posted..Forgetting Where You Come FromMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Hi Deeone,

I figured you were all about the content … and value, ’cause you bring a ton of that.

You have a great story to tell and have obviously put your unique stamp on your site, and your overall presence, and you’re most skilled at delivering the message.

Must be exciting being so immersed in the writing process, just keep track of those hours so you can let me know how many when you’re done, okay? ;)

Here’s to NOT following the rules.

Thanks again for stopping by, Sir!


Ralph March 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Hey Craig,

“Your own special form of genius.” Love that line. Gaming the system is for gamers. Providing relevant content and changing the game is for leaders. We both know which way you are going.

Did someone say something about engagement? If they did then that’s the key and it’s also the mecca, isn’t it? Otherwise you are just talking for the sake of talking.

You are bang on sir! Great friggin post man!
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Craig McBreen March 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi Ralph,

Thank you.

“Gaming the system is for gamers. Providing relevant content and changing the game is for leaders.”
–Love that!

The more I get into blogging and social the more I see signs of The Gamer and like Jill said, keyword stuffing can be pretty obvious.

It’s all about engagement. This is “social” right? Speaking of that, thanks for the emails, I really do appreciate the feedback and kind words.

Thanks again and thank you for stopping by.


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