How to take charge, ignore the seduction and get busy

by Craig McBreen · 37 comments · Branding, Social media


Remember that Cathryn Sloan piece that got everyone’s panties in a bunch?

You know, the blogging savant who mastered controversy, outrage and now knows how to generate more traffic than Justin Bieber himself?

Was that last year or last month?

And what about the daily obsession with every little nuance in the machinations of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest? Or all the news that’s not fit to print in the latest web rag?

Who’s pinning who? What about that Olympian’s hair? And how many times did Zuckerberg fart today?

Zucker-who?

Controversy comes in droves and the social web is ablaze with the latest in worthless and downright forgettable.

Hear that sucking sound?

The fact that people like this stuff isn’t new, but take a look at some of the monster blogs, and how the sensationalist (or at least viral) ethos has wafted into their realm in a big, big way. You might even say this has changed the content strategy of big places like Mashable and The Huffington Post, no?

But so what? Really.

Sloan? She dropped a a Molotov cocktail into a volatile social web ripe for the picking and who knows, she’s probably more crafty than Kim Kardashian’s PR agent.

Who knows and who cares?

The fact is, you’ll be competing more and more with controversy, outrage and the future Kardashians of the blogging space, because you know they’re coming.

But what’s all this stuff and fluff mean for you and your humble little online plans?

Are you worried about tabloid journalism, hype and general puffery taking over the internet? Will this soon be your only way to garner attention?

Worried that people simply won’t have the time to read your content because they’re more interested in Lindsay Lohan’s latest drunken bender? Have too many “gurus” to follow? Or too much “bright and shiny” in their Facebook stream?

Constant flashing, luring unwitting peeps into a collective unproductive stupor.

All I can say is welcome to our wild and woolly online space and, as David Byrne sang … “same as it ever was.”

YOU? You’re competing for eyeballs, remember?

But here’s why I don’t worry and I’m honestly downright giddy with excitement.

In fact, if I could, I might just jump all over Oprah’s damn sofa.

Our tribal economy might just be the best thing ever. Yep.

Think about traditional media, especially TV and radio. Big wigs, megabucks and the largest of target demographics ruled the day, but pretty soon that will all become, “back in the day.”

Now think about our online realm. This digital wonderland we inhabit.

We are immersed in a new “tribal” land. The online realm is awash with zillions of relatively small units of people who connect with other like-minded souls.

So whatever your goals are in our digital heaven, NOW is an opportune time to establish a beachhead. Start building your own little media empire to promote your epic little venture.

Connecting with tribes is indeed the new wave. So, right about now is YOUR time to start building that brand equity and focus on connecting with the right people.

I’ve said it before, I’ve written about it, but here I go again: I believe a new day is upon us and our familiar little platform (read: blogging) is just a wee step in a long, grand process that rewards creativity like never before.

So, what about you? Your business? Your online venture?

NOW really is your time to make “it” happen.

So forget the wild west that is the social web and focus on your thing and work to connect with the right people. Baby steps, remember?

If you’re interested in building something special or are simply looking for a community of business owners who are unanimous in their desire to create their own little dent in this space, join us.

There’s plenty more coming and it’s all about You, your business and how you will rock it online in your own special way.

I’ve only just begun and so have you. Let’s get started.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie September 18, 2012 at 7:02 am

Screw the dent Craig, lets make a bloody great furrow!

Ps…the vision of you doing a Tom on Oprahs Couch….PRICELESS!!

Love your work! :)
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Mark September 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I like that attitude Jackie! Just break out a can of whoop-a_s, and leave your mark!
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Jackie September 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Absolutely Mark! Thats what we’re here for. :)
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

Me too … and Jackie has a way with words, eh?

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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

Da-um! ;) Bloody hell right!

The thought made my wife chuckle too. I’ve I was ever on the big “O” I don’t think I’ll pull a Tom … ;)

Love your comment!

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Jens P. Berget September 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

Hey Craig,

I’ve come to realize that the biggest problem, at least with my clients, is goal-setting. They need to have a goal with their blogging. Why do they blog, what do they want to accomplish? That’s what I’ve been working on lately, and it’s hard to be successful if you’re not sure why you’re doing what you’re doing :)
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:01 am

Hi Jens,

That’s a tough battle isn’t it? It’s like the client who many years ago just wanted a website or the client who just wants to be on social media. You need a plan, folks. Love to hear more about what you’re doing with that, because I’ve been working on several proposals and would love to hear some of your case studies.

Thanks, Jens!

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Suddenly Jamie September 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Love this manifesto, Craig.
When people first come to this land of online insanity, they are often overwhelmed and almost hypnotized. After a while the shine wears of and cynicism sets in. Shortly after that, many people feel discouraged (“it’s all been done before” or “unless I want to be a spammy shyster I’ll never be able to compete”) …

… and then they realize that they have something only they can bring to the game. They realize that they don’t have to be the biggest or the most controversial or the most popular … they just have to be themselves.

We still have to work hard, but I’m with you – it’s an amazing opportunity we have to carve our our own little piece of the online world and make with it what we will.

Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it. :)
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:07 am

Hi Jamie,

Thanks! There is so much insanity, but life is insane, right? ;) Online, it’s just so easy to get lost in sensationalism, controversy and snake oil. It’s all there, each trying to seduce you.

You’re right. When they finally realize being themselves might just be the best way to go, they can set it all in motion.

I’m glad you’re as excited as I am. Great to hear and we’ll continue to chip away at it day by day!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Jayme Soulati September 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

OMGosh. I have to share this. You know my post on Feedblitz tips? Well, its founder, Phil Hollows, wrote a case study including my post with the likes of Danny Brown, Jay Baer and someone else. When he described my blog/me, he said, “a little known blogger.”

Then, he apologized and said he should’ve said, “little known to him.”

I can directly say that my “little known” reputation has pushed five people to migrate to Feedblitz and 7 others to write posts about it. That’s what I know, and there’s more in my comments than many other places within my tight and ‘raderie community.

So, what I can offer here is this…SPOT ON!

IGNORE what the A-lister around the corner is doing and saying because I guarantee that person is so flippin’ busy trying to hire people to write for them or having no time saying hi to their community that the community is slipping away.

Far better to have a group of peeps who enjoy your writings and feel comfy coming to your house to engage in flip flops rather than fearing how a comment is going to be regarded.

Who cares what the top 25 on Ad Age Power 150 have to say? Does it matter to your daily task? Nope.
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Srinivas September 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Hey Jayme,

I have a post coming for Mark Schaefer’s blog titled “Why a small audience is a small army in the making” It’s very relevant to what you just said. Small is an incredible edge.
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Jayme Soulati September 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

What did they used to say…SMBs drove the economy? Based on what I’m feeling these days and the lead pouring in, I vouch for that.

Why can’t wee, mid-tier bloggers do the same? We’re keeping the blogo alive, and I have to say, that exercise in Feedblitz and the other one I wrote on 20 Things To Do Before I Die (which became a viral meme around the world; probably similar to Mark’s “is blogging dead.”) are perfect examples.

Sorry, I’m on a high today having just won some new business in a field that is highly specialized!! W00t!
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:16 am

“Why a small audience is a small army in the making”
–Love that and looking forward to reading it :)

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Mark September 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Who are you?

LOL!
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Jayme Soulati September 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’m that sassy girl…forget?
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Mark September 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Forget you? Never.

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Ralph September 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Love that you are rockin’ it, Jayme. How cool is that?
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Jayme,

You may have saved a few (including me) with your Feedblitz tips post. Greatly appreciate that!

Ha ha, well, your “little known” blog will push this “little known” blogger to do the same. It’s on my list, now I’m just wondering how long I have? :o

I think part of the distraction is put out there by certain so-called “A-Listers.” There are many that I follow, but some I’ve dropped because I didn’t feel I was getting the value any longer. Plus, these handily little tribal “units” are the future in this space and will simply rule, unless of course your a mega-blog, but I have no fear of ever entering that space ;)

Thanks for the great comments. And thank you agin for the Feedblitz post!

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Srinivas September 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I wondered how long it would be before people completely forgot about Catherine Sloan. My guess is next year nobody will remember who she is. What I think we remember is people who are consistent. That’s how you build a legacy. One hit wonders don’t make a dent in the universe.
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

Hey Srini,

I think you’re right. All the outrage lasted a couple of weeks.

Consistency, yep! You know me, I’m the “baby steps” guy. Slow and steady wins the race.

“One hit wonders don’t make a dent in the universe.”
–Indeed!

Thanks for stopping in!

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Josh September 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Small, active and engaged tribes are far more powerful than people realize. It really does take a village, but when the village works together good things happen.

And people forget that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Sustain your effort for the long haul and in time you stand a good chance of being viewed as one of the “bigger name” bloggers out here.

Of course you still have to figure out how to leverage that exposure, but it is a good problem to have.
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:25 am

Hi Josh,

And they are gaining momentum as we speak. These happy little tribal units are part of the buzzing hive and they are what makes this sucker hum, like small businesses drive the U.S. economy.

A marathon, indeed! It’s a ton of work, but I feel a creative approach and some dogged determination will take you places. We’ll have to discuss that one day, Sir and I look forward to it!

Thanks for stopping in.

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Mary Stephenson September 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

You will always have the followers of the latest gossip, that will never change…because they have NO LIFE! They live it through others. I used to work around people that could only talk about who was doing what or whatever the latest scandal was.
I don’t think that is the people we want to connect with. They would never be interested in what they could do to improve their lives, or what is new and innovative, other than maybe the next electronic gadget. You can’t reach those kind of people and would we even be interested to do so?
I believe most of the people we want to reach are searching for ways to improve their lives, whether it is in business or personal. When you provide, they will some how find you.
It can be tough and overwhelming at times, but those that persist and push forward will be more successful in the end.

Mary
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:36 am

Hi Mary,

Ha ha, you’re so right! Somebody is consuming all that crap and I think you’re correct about living vicariously through those celebs.

I used to work around people like that too. In fact I worked a firm years ago and the social environment was toxic. Man, nothing but pettiness and gossip. It was a horrible place to work for that very reason, plus nobody ever said “good morning.”

I run from those people now ;) And like you, would much rather connect with others who want to improve and are forward thinking in many ways. Plus you get creative energy from these people. Great points!

I imagine quite a few people start that search for some way to improve and like anything else, it takes time. Heck it takes time if you’re simply looking for help. But yes, “those that persist and push forward will be more successful in the end.”

Great comments. Thanks so much for coming by and contributing!

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Mary Stephenson September 19, 2012 at 1:55 am

Hey Craig

Wowee! Sounds like you worked where I worked! LOL
They actually made my life miserable to the point I was trying to figure out if I could some how claim disability. Oh, but they did me a favor before I completely went nuts…and they laid me off. What a blessing. That was the day I got my life back. They had called me back a few times, but I went back with a different attitude and it helped. But oh, the negative energy was sickening. They all deserved each other for all the poison they spread. They could drag even the most positive person down.

Mary
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Yes, not a fun place. Wow, that is bad, but I guess being laid off was the best thing that could have happened. But yes, I completely relate to that. Next time run :)

Thanks!

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Bill Dorman September 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm

My focus has always been people first; take care of that and you can make the other things happen, whatever you want ‘that’ to be. I don’t know if it’s ‘old school’ thinking or just basic core values that are timeless, but that’s the horse I’m going to ride.

Through this methodology, you can certainly assemble the ‘right’ team and with this team you can move mountains. I see some who do a good job of this in a genuine way and I see others who just view it as a stepping stone to take them to the next level.

Personally, I think one method has a more solid foundation than the other; but both can be successful.

Life is about choices, right?
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:43 am

Hi Bill,

People first works ;) We are in social after all and it’s hard to make things work without connecting, whatever ‘that’ might be. So true.

A great piece of advice is that you can’t do it all yourself. I try sometimes, though. But getting the right group in place might just equal a well-oiled machine that does move mountains. I think genuine personality does come through online. Re: social. It is hard to stay in touch with everyone you meet along the way. Well it’s close to impossible, but if someone has truly helped it is hard to forget. I’m amazed at the high-quality peeps I’ve met along the way.

Both can be successful for sure, but I’m on board with the genuine route. I think that’s the way to go.

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Ralph September 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Hey Craig,

A lot of what I was thinking reading your post has been said in the comments already and I love reading the positivity that comes from the peeps around here. Even though I am not a business owner I really do have that desire to build something special and that’s the plan.

Slow and steady, one day at a time. No flash in the pan over here. It’s great to have this connection to a lot of awesome folks and you really nailed it with connecting with the right people.

It takes time but then again so does life.

Great read.
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 1:48 am

Hey Ralph,

I love the positivity too! I like to hang out with a positive, forward-thinking crew.

It will be great to see how you grow and what you do build in this here space! Looking forward to see it unfold.

I’m all for slow and steady … :)

As far as connecting, there are some great folks and it’s not just in the comments, but social media and email, and the positive energy rocks, or did someone say “rock hot?” ;)

Here’s to creativity and dogged determination.

Thanks for stopping in!

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Jeevan Jacob John September 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Like you, I don’t care Craig.

Things are changing, pretty fast (more people are realizing the importance of connecting with others, and like you said, the importances of tribes themselves).

So, blogging is changing.

In a good way (it’s going to get more competitive and more exciting now, right Craig?)
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Craig McBreen September 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hi Jeevan,

Also, connecting with others offline is so important. So far, this is how I get the majority of my business ;)

But yes, blogging is changing. I just think you’ll need to be more creative and determined than ever and realize that tribes are here to stay.

Thanks for stopping in!

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Tim Bonner September 22, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hi Craig

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been re-prioritising and shoring up the hatches.

I went over the feeds in my RSS reader the other day and decided I had to be more practical about the blogs I read. There are just too many on there and many of little value to me.

I’m really not interested in general bullshit hype and tabloid journalism. One of the things I want from blogging is to build a community of like-minded individuals who help and support each other.

So, out went the “gurus” and general “this is how to blog” blogs. For the most part, if you visit the gurus’ blogs and engage you’ll more than likely not get a response or build any kind of relationship. And this is how to blog blogs have their place but it seems to me it’s just the same shit different day kind of stuff being produced by them.

I think I was already trying to build a tribe of like-minded individuals before I even got invited into a tribe. That’s what I see the future to be!

Great post Craig as always.

Have a great weekend.

Tim
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Craig McBreen September 24, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi Tim,

Good to hear!

I culled that reader list a while back and it really did help.

As you’ve written, finding a solid community is one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging, but man it does take some time, huh? Also, I think we’ve all got caught up in the chasing “gurus” phase. Seems to be a natural part of the evolution of the blogger.

Some of these folks do engage, but others are not very responsive, so it can be kind of a hit or miss game, depending on the day, I guess.

Thanks for the nice words, Tim. Keep on moving and happy tribe-building!

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