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Two Blogging Camps: Which is Better?

By: Guest | June 11, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Craig McBreen.

Several weeks ago Gini Dietrich wrote about “smart” posts vs. those other posts.

I think she kinda said: Stupid spreads like a virus.

It’s not exactly like comparing Mad Men¬†to Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Charlie Rose to Snooki, but those top 10 lists sure go viral, don’t they?

After reading this, I started thinking about a different kind of comparison.

Between two smart, but disparate approaches in the art of attracting eyeballs.

And both formulas can lead to clients, book deals, and becoming “Internet famous.”

So, for the sake of argument, let’s focus on these two camps …

Camp A teaches businesses how to leverage technology to court and maintain loyal customers. They blog about social media, online marketing, and best practices. When it comes to social and content marketing, they are the A-Team.

Camp B understands that people spread emotion and crafting compelling copy often means seizing a scary concept. They have a more fanatical fan base and you might consider them the rock stars of our digital realm.

Group A includes bloggers such as Jay Baer and Jason Falls.

On our Team B roster, we have authors such as Julien Smith and Erika Napoletano.

One group is fairly buttoned down.

The second, a bit more esoteric.

Camp A is focused on metrics-driven social media strategies for online success. You might call this a more scientific approach, but it’s still about creating great content by learning how to become extremely useful to your target audience.

The wordsmiths of Camp B have mastered the art of creating sticky content. They are fearless with their opinions, because they realize polarizing posts attract fans and often spread like a virus.

I think they would like the word “sticky” and might even do something dirty with it. All good, as I have a fondness for profanity in small, effective doses.

I’ve listened to their interviews, read their books, and devoured their writing, and I would say they share a common belief: Concern for audience response is almost guaranteed to extinguish your creativity.

Camp B creates content people might hate for all the right reasons, because it attracts that little group you covet.

This form of rejection works, and if you cuss enough to make Joan Rivers blush, even better, because the people who love you will find you.

So here we have two distinct methodologies that work brilliantly.

Members of each group sell plenty of books, know how to attract fans, and have mastered the fine art of blogging.

But I would like to focus on Camp B.

Why?

Well, I’ve spent years working on branding and design projects in the B2B world, where persuading clients to inject some personality into the mix can be a battle.

In the realm Olivier Blanchard refers to as “socialized digital communications,” things are a tad different. And here, I rather like the approach of the so-called “unpopular” kids.

I love the idea of taking scary ideas and giving them a giant bear hug. It’s a mindset that started some of the worlds most popular brands, but could also be the golden key in bringing that little blog of yours to the next level.

And since Erika wrote a book on this very topic, I thought it was more than appropriate to open it up to discussion.

What about your humble little blog?

If you’re blogging for business, are you proudly displaying your own special form of genius? Your unique combination of know-how and life experience?

Your personality? Your core? Your essence?

This is the place where you just might start to build that rabid fan base and also realize being accepted by everyone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What say you?

As small businesses get deeper into social, does it stand to reason they will have to turn up the personality a wee bit?

And isn’t taking “scary” and running with it a pretty solid business strategy? Especially in this new paradigm where tribes reign supreme?

I’m a big fan of all parties mentioned above. They obviously ALL know what they are doing.

It’s just that in my little world where small businesses and budding bloggers need advice, getting traction means “niching down.”

And this process entails risking popularity by:

  1. Embracing a bit of discomfort and taking those risks.
  2. Letting some emotion seep into the mix.
  3. And not worrying about audience response.

I like to call this “killer swag,” but that’s just me. How about you?

Craig McBreen is the owner of McBreen Design and writes at craigmcbreen.com. A Seattle-based branding consultant who also likes to write about social media, breaking out of routine, and the power of creativity as a daily practice. You can follow him on Twitter @craigmcbreen.

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82 Comments on "Two Blogging Camps: Which is Better?"

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AndyOterson
AndyOterson
3 years 10 months ago

What kind of a blogger are you? RT @ginidietrich Two blogging camps: Which one is better by @craigmcbreen http://t.co/OG2O8sme

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@AndyOterson Hi Andy. Thank you!

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[…] Here I wrote about the importance of crafting compelling content, which often involves investing in a scary concept. […]

jasonkonopinski
3 years 10 months ago

Well, McBreen, I think you know where I am. :) #cryptic

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@jasonkonopinski¬† Don’t be so darned #cryptic Mr. Konopinski ūüėČ

HowieSPM
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Craig McBreen @jasonkonopinski was at blogworld and still hasn’t recovered from the big sudoku party he went to sponsored by Tetley Tea.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

 @HowieSPM  @jasonkonopinski  Shame he missed the Scrabble blowout sponsored by Celestial Seasonings.

RedheadWriting
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t feel that one camp (hey — I’ve always been on the B team *waves hi to Julien*) is any better than the other. It comes down to knowing what your target audience wants and appreciates and shaping your communications and brand personality to attract that audience. Oh yeah, and being yourself in the process. A vs B / one-better-than-the-other — the only thing that stands as BEST on any day of the week is being yourself. After all, everyone else is already taken.

HowieSPM
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@RedheadWriting I actually think there needs to be a Type C. They Type B’s who bullshit out their asses. And some of the Ad Age top 50 are of this type. And they give the Type B’s a bad name!

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@HowieSPM¬†¬†@RedheadWriting¬† Funny, I’m writing another post more closely related to what you just stated. There certainly are more than a few posers out there.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

Hi Erika,
 
I don’t either, really, but I did want to highlight a practice you wrote about, which is certainly a great way to find that loyal audience you covet. And like you wrote here, “the only thing that stands as BEST on any day of the week is being yourself.” … Amen to that.
 
Displaying your own special form of genius is kinda what makes this whole blogging thing so much fun and it can also lead to more business. Double fun!
 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sean McGinnis
3 years 10 months ago

Awesome post. I’ve always wanted to be part of this B team, but lack the skills and/or the demeanor.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Sean McGinnis¬†I Sean. I don’t think camp B belongs to a certain personality type. Some of the most interesting (and funniest) people I know are not the¬†demonstrative type at all, in fact they are pretty introverted.

HowieSPM
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Craig McBreen I think @Sean McGinnis ‘s problem is he looks like a really smart guy in his photos.

PhilipNowak
3 years 10 months ago

Craig,
 
Nice post. I started out as a Camp A type of blogger, writing informative posts lacking in emotion and personality.
 
Now that I’m cranking out posts on a daily business week schedule, I¬†find myself feeling increasingly more comfortable with my writing style and relate¬†more to the Camp B type of blogger.
 
My headlines have gotten stickier, my content is impactful and my prose has more of a personal touch with the occasional joke thrown in (at least I think it’s funny).
 
Best,
Philip

PhilipNowak
3 years 10 months ago

Craig,
 
Nice post. I started out as a Camp A type of blogger, writing informative posts lacking in emotion and personality.
 
Now that I’m cranking out posts on a daily business week schedule, I¬†find myself feeling increasingly more comfortable with my writing style and relate¬†more to the Camp B type of blogger.
 
My headlines have gotten stickier, my content is impactful and my prose has more of a personal touch with the occasional joke thrown in (at least I think it’s funny).
 
Best,
Philip

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@PhilipNowak¬†Hi Philip, Thank you. And that’s the key. It’s not like this belongs to a certain type of personality. It’s just more about being yourself. We can never be 100% authentic of course, but letting your personality seep into your writing style is a big ol’ benefit, for you and your readers.
 
Glad your seeing some success with this. And thank you for the comments.

ginidietrich
3 years 10 months ago

Blog post of the week! Though, I have to say, your paraphrase is not exactly what I said!
 
The thing I love about what you’ve written here is it really just depends. What works for Jay doesn’t work for Erika and vice versa. You have to find out what works best for you, and for your audience, and what makes you most comfortable (like @PhilipNowak¬†says).¬†

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@PhilipNowak¬†¬†Hey Gini, Thanks. “What works for Jay doesn’t work for Erika and vice versa.” Indeed, and like I wrote I’m definitely a fan of both, just wanted to focus on the camp B kids today.
 
You need to find out what works best for you, but don’t be afraid to write polarizing content or reveal yourself. We do want to see … just don’t reveal too much ūüėČ

HowieSPM
3 years 10 months ago
¬†@Craig McBreen @ginidietrich @PhilipNowak Ironically one of my most read posts recently was calling out one of those Type B bloggers in a negative way. It actually wound up on Facebook of all places with discussion because of @dannybrown loving the subject person so much. The post I wrote about which had erroneous data and the guy didn’t care got tweeted over 1000 times. I don’t even get 1000 views on a post never mind 1000 tweets! ¬† Tomorrow my post is a how to identify between biased bloggers and the Type A you describe Craig because i feel people… Read more »
Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago
¬†@HowieSPM¬†¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@PhilipNowak¬†¬†@dannybrown¬† ¬† Hi Howie, ¬† The individuals in the B group I’m describing aren’t exactly a dishonest lot, but since I have opened the door and introduced these two camps, many others could be lumped in to fit your description. ¬† I’ll have to read your post, but publishing erroneous data is beyond irresponsible. ¬† My focus with this post was more about a writing style and a talent for creating sticky content. All the bloggers I mentioned are very talented people, especially when it comes to attracting attention and I think it’s very interesting comparing their styles and methodologies.… Read more »
rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Craig McBreen¬†¬†@HowieSPM¬†¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@PhilipNowak¬†¬†@dannybrown¬†Speaking of erroneous. Have you guys seen the movie State of Play? Not even that old (2009). There is some distinct social commentary there about the “opinions” of bloggers and the “facts” that “real”¬†journalists¬†present. Hell, I agree. If you are stating “fact” then you better do some damn research. If not, well, an opinion is an opinion.

DannyBrown
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@rdopping¬†¬†@Craig McBreen¬†¬†@HowieSPM¬†¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@PhilipNowak To be fair, even some journos are a bit loose with facts to state their opinion. Toronto Sun, anyone? ūüėČ

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@DannyBrown¬†¬†@Craig McBreen¬†¬†@HowieSPM¬†¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@PhilipNowak¬†¬†@GaryVee¬†Sun, Star, Metro……but NOT the Globe or Nat Post….noooo. Not them. Sorry this is getting a little TO based (you know, the center of the journalistic universe)….bahahahaaaaa

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

 @DannyBrown The New York Times has has a few boners. @rdopping  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich  @PhilipNowak  @GaryVee 

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

Umm, … mishaps. :) @DannyBrown  @rdopping  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich  @PhilipNowak  @GaryVee 

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@rdopping¬†¬†¬†We saw the movie fairly recently and my wife laughed out loud … I think she was making fun of me ūüėČ

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@benjaminhike Thank you, Sir!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich Not the stickiest post so far ūüėČ

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen It’ll get good when it goes out in the RSS feed tomororw

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

Hi @PhilipNowak Thanks for the RT and comment!

PhilipNowak
PhilipNowak
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen Anytime. Thanks for the reply!

TheJackB
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t play for either team, holding out for more cash and a bigger signing bonus. I still maintain that you build your community around you and that if you aren’t having fun you will not last.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@TheJackB¬†You too, huh? ūüėČ
 
Well, I’m certainly having fun. Now, blogging for business and having fun? Even better.
 
Thanks, Jack.

TheJackB
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Craig McBreen¬†Honestly I don’t see why we can’t, with very few exceptions. I suppose if you are running the social media for a mortuary you can’t make all the usual jokes online about stiffs and necrophilia, but you should be able to add some life to your posts.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@TheJackB¬†Made me think of¬†Sam Kinison’s¬†Necrophilia¬†bit. Thanks for the memories … ūüėČ

DannyBrown
3 years 10 months ago
See, this is the one thing I hate about blogging (and this is no slight on you whatsoever, mate), the need to break into camps, sides, divisions, etc. ¬† Can’t we just find the blogs we like, read them, subscribe to them and share them for what they are? Unless they’re a complete shyster (and there are some out there, for sure), every bloggers writes honestly (or videos, or podcast). ¬† The best bloggers do what they do, and in the way they do, for love of the art and for love of their audience. That’s what attracts me to… Read more »
rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@DannyBrown¬† f-bomb heavy cussfests! Have you been over at Ash Amberge’s place recently? Love that girl.

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@rdopping¬†¬†@DannyBrown¬†Ash talks dirty to all of us, and she also has the skills to pay the bills ūüėČ

RedheadWriting
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@DannyBrown¬† *the part where I dry hump Danny’s leg just a little bit*

DannyBrown
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@RedheadWriting That wasn’t dry humping… ūüėČ

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago
¬†@DannyBrown¬†¬† Hi Danny, ¬† My real focus with this piece was regarding audience response and not worrying too much about it. “being accepted by everyone isn‚Äôt all it‚Äôs cracked up to be.” That’s one thing I admire about the people mentioned. Although there are so many out there who do the same exact thing: They write what they feel and that can result in love and hate. But like you, I want to focus on the love. ¬† Just for the record, I’m a fan of everyone I mentioned above for various reasons, and one thing they don’t do is… Read more »
jasonkonopinski
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@DannyBrown¬† And hedgehogs. Don’t forget the hedgehogs. Right, @RedheadWriting¬†?

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago
Craig, I have to admit, I had a completely different response written at work and my darn work security protocols will allow me to “view” the site but not leave comments. At least I am blaming them for that. ¬† First off, congrats on a great piece. ¬† The fact that there are so may varied takes on this subject is fantastic and I am sure when you were writing it you thought about the potential controversy. I hate to say it but I have to agree that there are “styles” that people can adopt but each blogger makes their¬†thing… Read more »
Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago
¬†@rdopping¬† Ralph, Thank you, Sir. ¬† Security protocols? Don’t they know this is Spin Sucks? ‚Ķ Damn them ūüėČ ¬† Yes, I thought it would be a great conversation starter, but I also like how some people write. They just let ‘er rip, in a very talented way of course. The point I really like to focus on, and you know this because I’ve written about it ad nauseam: that writing comes to life when you let your essence shine through.¬† ¬† Funny, some people I know who aren’t the least bit demonstrative are pretty damned funny and very creative… Read more »
rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@Craig McBreen¬†waaa thankee sir. Demonstrative? That’s a pretty big word for a 1 year old blogger. Huh. Anyway, good on ya! :-)

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@rdopping¬†I’m on SpinSucks, so I have to try and use big words. How else am I going to impress Gini?

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 10 months ago

@Craig McBreen With your sheer brilliance my man. Props!

Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

 @rdopping  You are too kind, Sir.

true2texas
3 years 10 months ago
Craig ¬† What a profound and well written piece, congrats. ¬† Before you slaughter my¬†English, ¬† If there were a plan C well I would take it. ¬† Embracing a bit of discomfort and taking those risks.Letting some emotion seep into the mix.And not worrying about audience response. ¬†What would happen if I did that with my little blog, I did that the risk is a well overlooked one, about to have more traction given to stem this year. ¬† Take a look a cherry.com, or taskrabbit.com two companies with similar plans that failed in San Francisco during the last… Read more »
Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago

¬†@true2texas¬†Hey Texas, Well, thank you. I don’t work with many startups, so that’s not my bailiwick. I usually work with smaller co’s that need a bit more direction. Anyway, those are some interesting concepts. If cherry failed in SF, I wonder how it’s doing elsewhere? Interesting concept, but I like to wash my car ūüėČ

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[…] Two Blogging Camps: Which is Better?, spinsucks.com […]

bdorman264
3 years 10 months ago
Hey, there was some other cat at another site talking about killer swag just recently. Would you believe Malcolm in the Middle’s dad was selling meth to get his groove on? ¬† What happens when you are in no camp? Are you still allowed to blog? I tend to agree with @DannyBrown¬†when he asks ‘can’t we just find blogs we like?’¬† ¬† I have no game plan and it shows as I struggle with it at times because I KNOW I could be doing something different but for what outcome?¬† ¬† Everybody has their own unique style; some much more… Read more »
Craig McBreen
3 years 10 months ago
¬†@bdorman264¬†¬† Hey Bill, Ha ha. ¬†Malcolm in the Middle’s dad took a turn for the worst, but he most definitely has some killer swag ūüėČ ¬† No camp is perfectly fine ūüėČ My focus was about audience response and not really worrying too much about it. Not dwelling on it. That fact that being accepted by everyone isn‚Äôt all it‚Äôs cracked up to be. Camp B just has a handle on that. ¬† I guess this is all easier if you do have an outcome in mind and it’s aligned with your business goals. That’s my simple take on it… Read more »
CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@rdopping @spinsucks Thanks!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@annelizhannan @SpinSucks Thanks. I try to avoid those with too much schtick ūüėČ

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich @spinsucks You are too kind, buy hey, I’ll take it ūüėČ

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@edreuben Hi Ed. Thanks!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@YearOfBlogger Thanks!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@MichaelBowers Hi Michael.Thanks!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@JohnFalchetto Hi John, back up to speed after that long trip?

JohnFalchetto
JohnFalchetto
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen Hi Craig, almost my friend, but it certainly was worth it, :)

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@JohnFalchetto Oh yeah, definitely worth it! :)

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@jocmbarnett Thanks!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ShakirahDawud Scary keeps you going ūüėČ TY!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@iarlabyrne Thanks!

iarlabyrne
iarlabyrne
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen you’re welcome!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich @spinsucks This statement made my week :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen It was a very good post!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich Fun to write but love Erika and Jay, equally ūüėČ

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen And me, too. Right??

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich Oh, you’re on another level … ūüėČ

crestodina
crestodina
3 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich @spinsucks @craigmcbreen I’m in Camp A. Here’s another take on it… Nice Blogs Finish Last: http://t.co/G1kLTSx5

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 10 months ago

@crestodina I’m in Camp A, too

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@timepass Hi Shane. Thank you!

timepass
timepass
3 years 10 months ago

@CraigMcBreen thanks for a great post!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@blfarris @spinsucks Nice Tweet, Brad :) Thanks.

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@efrogthemes Thank you!

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[…] 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 […]

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen
3 years 10 months ago

@jenniferwindrum Hi Jennifer. Thanks!

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[…] recently wrote a piece which presented disparate approaches to the world of […]

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[…] I wrote this post at Spin Sucks, I didn’t exactly have an eBook in mind, but I couldn’t resist pairing […]

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