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.


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 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.