Why personality + value is your killer combo for online success

by Craig McBreen · 50 comments · Branding

Looking to advance on the social web?

You need to create a framework which defines why you are here and outlines a plan of action.

And combining your unique voice with your expertise (read: Value) is an oh so important part of said plan.

You’ve seen me use the term “Killer Swag” before, and I define it as your unique combination of know-how and life experience.

Me? I know what effective visual branding solutions can do for a business and I love to motivate people.

What about you?

What’s your area of expertise and how will you communicate that to your audience?

And what gives you a unique voice? Are you extroverted? Or quiet and more comfortable in your own imagination? Are you a Taskmaster General? A dreamer? Someone with infectious enthusiasm? Or breaking out and simply owning it in your industry?

And answer me this: How do you mix personality + expertise? And why is it so important to do so?

I’ll try and explain in my own feeble way.

My goal with this blog was to make everything I write an extension of my personality. I’m over 45. So what? With that comes experience in work and life. I also write about my personal insecurities as a former hermit-like, angst ridden, fat kid, and how these emotions plagued me through adulthood.

Now back to you.
The Authentic You is part of your overall message and this (tied with your expertise) is what will truly make you stand out. Bacon and Mayo anyone?

This goes beyond the individual too. In fact, online branding solutions like this work for bloggers and businesses alike, because a new era of content marketing solutions involves telling a story. Just don’t embellish too much.

So what is your story?
Are you infusing your online presence with a wee bit of personality? Maybe injecting some self-deprecating humor, honesty or some general snark? And if not. Why not?

And what about Value?
Me? My experience involves branding solutions. I also pulled myself out of a lifelong rut, so now I want to help you. Best of all? Motivation and branding go together and “branding with a push” has a nice ring to it.

So what’s your killer combo?

We all know you can create a name for yourself by solving problems and providing worthwhile and meaningful content. But injecting your personality into the mix is the extra spice that will keep ‘em coming back.

Please don’t turn yourself into some personage that isn’t you though. It won’t work. I’m naturally introverted and tried to be Mr. Gregarious for many, many years. Because of this I crashed and burned in so many ways.

Accept who you are. Then just be yourself because you do rock in your own special way. And the quirks you see as defects make you interesting.

Go on. Don’t be shy.

Do you think you’ve led an unusual life? Well, have you read Jenny Lawson lately? I’d say there’s someone who’s made a dent in our online utopia. And in her own words: “I very much own the fact that I’m a misfit.”

But guess what? YOU don’t need to be a misfit.

What if teaching’s your bailiwick? Peeps usually hit up Dr. Google to learn something new, unless they’re looking for kittens or Kardashians. If you have an itch to help, but think you don’t have much to offer. Well, you might be surprised how quickly the social web turns you into an instructor.

If you’re buttoned up and don’t talk much, yet emotions come pouring out when you hit the keyboard. Don’t be so coy. In fact, let ‘er rip, ’cause introverts shine brightly in this space.

If you are quiet’s polar opposite. Well, a big attitude will go a long way in social, just make sure you have the know-how to back it up. That’s all.

What if you’re demure, stubborn as an ox, taking the train to crazytown, and have a biting sense of humor? In that case, it’s really time to get crackin’ so we can all see your own special form of genius.

The social web is an extraordinary place for individuals AND businesses to shine. If you want to shine brighter don’t be so boilerplate, ‘cause there’s something unique we all want to see.

Simply rock it and find a way to deliver your swag online, but please don’t forget to add value, for without that you’re speaking to an empty room.

Oh … don’t forget to add your own special swag in the comments below.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Click June 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Totally agree, Craig! If you’re just spending your time playing it safe and not letting your hair down a bit, how in the world are you going to stand out? And, perhaps more importantly, how are people going to get to know you?

After all, people like to do business with those they know, like and trust. So, if you let people see your personality, it will really pay off. Well said!
Laura Click recently posted..Public Relations vs. Marketing – What’s the Difference?My Profile


Craig McBreen June 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Hi Laura,

“After all, people like to do business with those they know, like and trust. ”
–Exactly! :)

Plus I’m done playing it safe. Did that for far too long.

Very glad you came by to visit. Thanks and have a great day!


Ralph June 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Hey buddy. I love me some bacon and mayo. Maybe I will try this as my next sandwich experience. How’s it going on the web? I have been mostly silent this week due to the “day job” but I have to say it’s been a learning week for me. Whew.

This weekend should prove to be eventful. The wife is away on a spa weekend with the girls so it’s golf for the boys and likely some old man shenenigans. Suffice it to say, not so much time for social during the busy summer months.

What’s my deal? Dunno yet. Still working it through. If you read our about and help pages it gives you a sense. Writing and developing that voice, special sauce as you often note, is still in the works but one thing is fo sho. I am who I is! And THAT ain’t gonna change like it er not.

Well my streetcar ride is coming to an end. Thanks for the soapbox. Well, I kinda hijacked it. Have a good one, Craig.
Ralph recently posted..What does a sandwich have to do with a properly executed idea?My Profile


Craig McBreen June 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Hi Ralph,

Bacon and mayo is the shiznits. I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing as much of you. Oh yes, the “day job” gets in the way sometimes, huh? That’s why I’m bringing mine ever so closer to his house.

Nothing wrong with old man shenanigans, just don’t go crazy and wreak havoc on Toronto.

Hey, I’m still working it through too and will be for quite a while in this ever-changing environment. Keep going strong, powerful TEE-dot-OH!

You have a good one too and thanks!


Ralph June 22, 2012 at 2:06 am

So, riddle me this Batman. Why is that when Gini post on her site she gets 200+ comments and them when they guest post they barely crack 20? Is her stuff that much more compelling or are we just ego junkies wanting our little hit of gratification knowing full well we will get it?

Man, now THAT’s juice.

What I have noticed that your last post there did very well on the comments front. Wassup with that? Gonna give Gini a run for her money arencha? Just pokin’ fun buddy…..;-)
Ralph recently posted..What does a sandwich have to do with a properly executed idea?My Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 2:58 am

Gini’s a rockstar … An author, speaker and prolific blogger. So 200+ comments doesn’t surprise me.

Not sure why some of the guest posts haven’t been resonating, but of course it’s not just about comments, right? Well, I really think we all comment because we know Gini will give us all a gold star, ’cause she’s cool like that, so maybe you’re onto something ;)

Hey, I’m just glad she allows me to write my nonsense over at her place. If nothing else I’ve gained some fine Twitter peeps in the process, but it is fun and great exposure to a different (read: much bigger) audience.


Ryan Hanley June 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm


Love the passion behind the words here… I call what you did above “Bleeding on the Keys.”

Short bursts of emotion delivering a message as powerful as a computer screen can deliver.

Great work!

Ryan H.
Ryan Hanley recently posted..Crab Fishing, Steve Jobs and Long-term Success OnlineMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hi Ryan,

Thanks and I love, “Bleeding on the Keys.”

Fun stuff, huh? Looks like you do much of the same.

Thanks again and I appreciate the visit.

Have a good one!


Srinivas June 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm

“The social web is an extraordinary place for individuals AND businesses to shine”- So true. The thing I’ve said is that we’ve got a way to express our most unique qualities unlike any other time in history. That’s amazing. I couldn’t be doing what i’m doing no without the social web.
Srinivas recently posted..Life Lessons from 1000 Days of SurfingMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hey Srini,

You are so right. What an amazing medium this is and with all the possibilities I am indeed, to excited to sleep, just like that kid in the Disney commercials.

BlogcastFM helps keep the fire stoked.

Thanks for stopping in.


Jill Tooley June 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm

For companies and personal brands, the trick to this killer combo is being genuine and friendly. Customers can usually spot a fake right away, especially if the personality doesn’t remain consistent. There’s nothing wrong with being a little sarcastic, snarky, or humorous once in a while…as long as it’s real and not overly offensive! Unless you’re a comedian like Michael Ian Black or Patton Oswalt, it’s probably not wise to let every thought fly out of your head.

I’m all about sharing my passions and finding those silver linings when I interact with people. I’m not always sunshine and rainbows, of course, but I try to make the best of situations! :)
Jill Tooley recently posted..5 Ways to Spot a Pinterest Scam: Brides and Budget Shoppers, BewareMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 12:33 am

Hi Jill,

“For companies and personal brands, the trick to this killer combo is being genuine and friendly.”
–Agreed and those fakes do become quite easy to spot.

You’re right about the snark. This usually goes over well in small doses when written out on something like ahem, a blog post, but some push it to the limit. Patton Oswalt can get away with saying certain things ’cause people go to see him riff, but it’s all about context, right?

I love Louis CK, but have you read his Tweets? Not gonna do that I’ll leave it up to Mr. CK.

Thanks for stopping by!


Deeone Higgs June 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Craig, I’m giving you a new reigning title, my friend – you have such a knack for description and detail, bro! This was awesome! Now, to come up with a fitting title that identifies your swag with words. :)

You are right on point here with this one, for sure. It’s incredibly important to know who we are and what we can offer in the social industry. In failing to do so, one could easily find themselves over-extending themselves, trying to create a personality to fit every niche, on every platform they come across.

By being true to ourselves, we offer the gift of originality – that’s especially hard to come by these days; as we all know. In my opinion, it’s all about owning “You.” Owning the fact that we are each unique individuals who offer something that no one else can provide in the world – to be honest with you though, I like your description of it (special swag), a bit better. :D

Thanks for the shout out, too! That was an awesome surprise and a great one to end the Birthday week celebration. :D I really appreciate it, my friend.

Now to go check out how the trip went. Cheers mate! :)
Deeone Higgs recently posted..Expand Your Territory Series – Part 3My Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 12:41 am

Hi Deeone,

Hey, whenever you have a title to offer up, let me know ;)

Oh, good point on the overextending. Not sure exactly how much you need to niche-down, but it’s good to go with what you know ;)

Originality, swag, whatever you want to call it, to me it’s about getting comfortable enough with the medium to let that out. Don’t follow the boilerplate solution. Get a little uncomfortable and let ‘er rip.

You’re welcome. When I thought of someone who is incredibly honest in their writing you, Sir are the first person I thought of. And your writing obviously resonates with many people.

Thanks for the great comments!


Mark June 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

There are lot’s of folks out there sharing lots of similar information on many different topics on the social web…

The one defining ingredient that cannot be duplicated is your personality. It’s the one thing that only you can bring to the party and it can set you apart from the crowd.

Delivering content is one thing. Delivering content wrapped in your personality is more than just content, it’s a gift.

People like to receive information from people they’re drawn to, like, and admire. This attraction develops into meaningful relationships that can enhance every area of your life and/or business.

Love this Craig, thanks for sharing sir!
Mark recently posted..Starting a Blog Will Change Your Life ForeverMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 12:47 am

Hi Mark,

Indeed, what are there, like 150 million blogs in the world?

And I’ve focused on personality because you can dive into all the metrics in the world, but you need to work the combo: value + personality to really shine. That’s the way I look at it at least.

Does this mean you have to be bat crazy or odd? Well, of course not, but in some cases it might generate a lot of fans ;)

“Delivering content wrapped in your personality is more than just content, it’s a gift.”
–Love that!

You are so right about relationships and the power of social beyond business. You never know where it will lead, but so far it’s been a fun trip for me.

Thanks, Mark. I really appreciate you coming by and hope to see you again.


Davina K. Brewer June 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm

For some reason I flashed on Despair’s Individuality: remember you’re unique, just like everyone else. ;-)

I try to let my personality come through, write with a touch of humor to entertain as well as inform. That’s my secret sauce combo I hope, along with sharing good info in a way that’s easy for a marketing manager or small business owner to understand – and apply to their company. It’s about being useful, practical – that’s one of my ‘value content’ goals, which are evolving and changing as I want the blog to work for my business. FWIW.
Davina K. Brewer recently posted..Captive Audience, meet Wasted OpportunityMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 12:57 am

Hi Davina,

Well, Ma’am, your personality comes pouring out with every comment you write.

When I really dove into blogs and studied the comments, yours always stood out. Well thought out, with your signature rapid-fire, staccato style and oh, I had to visit acronym finder a couple of times to find out what the heck you were writing about ;)

And you do of course offer up that secret sauce combo on your blog as well!

Looks like you and I are doing similar things with our “value content” goals. Keep on a movin’ Davina.

Thanks so much for stopping in!


Bill Dorman June 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I’m pretty bland and reserved, so sometimes it is hard to let the real me ‘shine.’ Therefore, I just make up a lot of stuff up; some more believable than others.

I know insurance and I ‘know it’ at a much deeper level than most would care to know. My ideal customer is the large multi-state, multi-national risk with lots of stuff; ie, people, buildings, vehicles, sales, etc.

As you might surmise, insurance and what goes with it can be very boring. What charges me up is that no two accounts are the same and every account I am dealing with a lot of different personalities. People I can do, and that is what makes it fun to come to work every day.

I love blogging for the people part and it allows me to explore the writing side of me, which I am finding I like quite a bit. For now, that’s good enough; if somebody finds value by stopping by my place, then that is a win. A good day indeed……

Take a swag of the sweet elixir sir.
Bill Dorman recently posted..How to get an invite to any partyMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 2:43 am


Bland and reserved. Riiiight. So you make up that story about taking off your pants at the dry cleaners? ;)

At one time Safeco was one of my largest clients, so I got to know insurance pretty well. Way more than I really wanted to know, really, but they paid the bills for a while and that’s all good.

Dealing with different personalities … Your business is no different than my business there. I enjoy what I do because I work with many businesses and organizations and many different personality types.

I guess part of what you do in your day job transfers well to social where you can interact with all types, eh? And the fact that you’ve discovered your writing side makes it that much better … Write on, Sir.


Adrienne June 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Just be you, I never really got that in the beginning you know Craig! I mean, who would want to listen to me right!

I’m nobody, I’m older then most, I’m not a guru in this world of popular kings and queens of the web and I’m certainly not the smartest person you’ll ever meet. But, I’m genuine, I care about people, I love to learn and I’m just a nice person. For some odd reason, putting my words in writing with my own personality just works. Who would have thought that!

You have such a way with words but you’re also honest, genuine and a down right nice guy. We’re attracted to that, we enjoy interacting with people who have those traits and we love to read what you share.

Share some value with us in your own words using your own personality and it’s a win/win situation. Yep, I don’t believe you can go wrong with that combination.

Thanks for including me Craig, I’m honored and humbled. Oh yeah! :-)

Adrienne recently posted..The Best Opt-In GiftMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 2:52 am


Well you have a heck of a lot of peeps listening to you! :)

I think you’re selling yourself short and you’re making quite a gigantic dent in this here blogosphere. Plus you have become an instructor as I mentioned.

You have those skills and the fact that you’re genuine and caring shines through in a big, big way. So, that’s your one-two punch. Oh, and about being older than most bloggers. Me too, but there’s something to be said for real-world experience, right? Age = wisdom ;)

Well thanks, Ma’am. I like to think I’m an okay guy and write as honestly as I can, while trying to add an ounce of value, and its great to see someone like you rocking it and drawing such a crowd in the process. That’s some awesome sauce.

Thanks for the kind words and back at ya.


Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca June 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Second Craig on this, Adrienne :)
Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca recently posted..Arousal, Meditation, And Staring At YourselfMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Yes, Adrienne is cool like that :)


Jens P. Berget June 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

It’s hard to keep pizza outside the combo when you think of me. But seriously, what you’re saying is awesome, and I am doing my best to create trust for my clients and I want them to feel that they’re having fun and that they’re actually learning a lot from working with me. I am not just selling them a product and that’s it, I want to be with them all the way and looking over their shoulders and teaching them what I know.

And, having fun with my clients is the part where personality is important. I could just be sitting at home doing all the work on my computer and that’s it, but I want to meet them in person (as often as possible).

Great stuff Craig, and I can feel that you’re making your famous home made pizza this weekend :)


Craig McBreen June 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

When I think Norway I think Jens, and when I think Jens I think pizza.

It’s just great to see how you’ve been making all these changes and how all the components have come together so well. Very cool.

I visit your site to learn about new tools and technology and marketing smarts, but also the occasional fun/pizza post (you need that, right?)

It’s going to be a chilly weekend in Seattle, so I might be into crafting a batch of pizza dough tomorrow :)

Thanks, Sir.


Craig McBreen June 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Just sent you a picture of the dough making :)


Jens P. Berget June 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm

You did? Can’t wait to see it :)

Where did you send it?
Jens P. Berget recently posted..How to market high speed internet service providersMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Twitter. A better pic might be when it’s actually done. Dough is rising very well today :)


Jens P. Berget June 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Looks great. And thank you for making me hungry and it’s past midnight :-)
Jens P. Berget recently posted..Long Tail Pro – A Video ReviewMy Profile

Craig McBreen June 24, 2012 at 12:56 am

Ha ha. You’re welcome ;)


Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca June 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Hahah… Craig, I love how you’re always zero’ing on what’s really important in branding oneself for success :D

To answer your question:

Positive badass & digital wise-man here, reppin’ hard.

J-Ryze: A combo of Hef, Da Vinci, & Tony Robbins… but in the end… all me :)
Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca recently posted..Arousal, Meditation, And Staring At YourselfMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Hi Jason,

I try my best, Sir.

I like the way you proudly proclaim that you are a digital badass, and man, that is some combo … like a hero sandwich with everything :)

Always appreciate your comments.


William Veasley June 24, 2012 at 4:42 am

Craig: You really said a lot here man. Thanks for the awesome advice! I wish I had of known this from the beginning, but I just have to live and learn.

I tried to blog about things that were not even my passion and I burned myself out easily. My heart was not there and whenever my heart is not into what I am doing then I will eventually burnout.

As of now I am just trying to follow my heart and where ever it takes me then that is where I shall go. I am not trying to impress anyone else beside myself. I think that is going to be key in my online survival.

I do not think that a lot of people are going to like my style because it maybe different or weird, I do not care because I have to do what gives me happiness.

From here on out, I am going to tell my story and have fun while doing that. People are either going to love me or hate me, but either way I am ready for whatever comes my way!

At the end of the day I am going to help this planet as best as I can.

Question: do you think it is bad to be weird or different? Maybe I live my life different than most, but I just try to do what I think is best for me . . .
William Veasley recently posted..The Pursuit of HappinessMy Profile


Craig McBreen June 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Hi William,

You’re most welcome and so glad you enjoyed.

I don’t believe your work has to be your passion, as people often have more than one or sometimes can’t define what “it” is. But you’re so right that you really have to get some enjoyment from an online venture or you’ll fry yourself right quick. Way too much work involved to make that sustainable.

Well, if you’re not hung up on trying to impress, that’s a good start. Maybe a lot of people won’t like what you have to say, but maybe all the right people will. I think this is more about finding a smaller group that jibes with your style. A lot of this depends on why you’re here in the first place, but do what fulfills you and see what comes, just make sure you do some planning :)

“People are either going to love me or hate me”
–And you can say that about some of the more successful people online.

I think we are all weird in our own way, but if you think your perceived as weird or different there’s nothing wrong with that. An unconventional life can be the most interesting thing for some, so write to your heart’s content and see what happens. We all have our idiosyncrasies, and you’ll probably find more than a few who can relate to your style and stories.

Anyway more about how I feel on this here:

Thanks for the great comments and welcome!


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