sly : marketing

Let’s get intimate and more personal than ever

I have been to Bergen, an amazing city located on the west coast of Norway. I’ve been there with my family and we did some sightseeing – just look at this awesome train ride (funicular) from the top of a mountain. I recorded this film with my iPhone.

I don’t get personal

I have thought a lot about how marketing has changed lately. Creating quality content and networking is more important today than earlier. And it seems that for every day that passes, networking and the personal relations becomes even more important.

I’m not personal, I’ve never been. I haven’t share that many exciting things about my life, other than how creativity is born and the perfect vacation.

But I keep asking myself, why haven’t I shared anything?

It’s not that I’m afraid. It’s more that I’m concerned that you’re not interested.

I should be more like this

I read a lot of blog posts online, and it seems that the more people share about themselves, the more interested I am in reading. The reason I get more interested in reading their blogs by reading personal stuff, is probably because I already have an interest in who they are and what they are doing.

I especially remember blog posts like Baseball, Persistence, and How I Became a ‘Natural’ Writer, by Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion), Finally Living for Me, by Adrienne Smith, and What Recovering From Alcoholism Taught Me About People, by Robert Dempsey.

I really enjoy what Marcus is doing at The Sales Lion, where he shares pictures of his family in the sidebar. It makes everything so much more personal. It’s a lot easier to become friends this way.

How personal should we be?

I attended a seminar with Gary Vaynerchuck a few weeks ago, and what Gary said surprised me. He told us that he had close friends (like Chris Brogan and Mari Smith) who he had only met for a few hours in his entire life. To Gary, people he only meet online is just as good friends as people he meet offline. And, he also talked about transparency, that we should share “everything”.

I am still not sure about this.

How personal should we be when it comes to blogging and marketing? I’m asking you this, because I’m kind of new to networking.

Where do you draw the line? Do you write about personal stuff, and share things about your family? Or do you just do things that you feel is natural?

28 responses to “Let’s get intimate and more personal than ever”

  1. Robert Dempsey says:

    Hi Jens,

    Thanks for the mention my friend. As you can see I am not worried at all about getting personal, and encourage it. Where I draw the line is talking about things that have no relevancy to what I write about. So the rule is I’ll share something personal if it helps hammer home the point; otherwise I’ll leave it out.

    I don’t talk too much about family matters for instance, however I will say that we came to Thailand to spend more time with my wife’s side of the family and have my daughter see the other half of her culture. I can then make the point that exposure to more cultures and more difference can give someone a very different perspective on life. This in turn can be added to a lesson for business owners and entrepreneurs to extend themselves past their world to find different answers.

    Easy peasy.

    So it’s all context. For me it has to help make the point, otherwise there’s no need to share it.

    I hope that helps with some direction.

    • jens says:

      Hi Robert,

      Your rule is brilliant. “I’ll share something personal if it helps hammer home the point; otherwise I’ll leave it out.” That’s exactly what I’m going to do from now on.

      Thanks a lot for the support Robert, I really appreciate it.

      – Jens

    • Great point Robert– if you can relate the story/experience to the topic, it’s great. And the way I see it, just about any good story can be turned into 10 or even 100 great ‘theme’ topics.

      Again, well said man.


  2. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    Thanks so much for the mention and so happy to hear that my particular guest post was a memorable one. I also think very highly of both Robert and Marcus so I can understand why you would be drawn to them as well.

    Of course, I haven’t shared everything about myself with my readers and only touched on a little in that particular post as well as in my “About Me” section on my blog. I believe it helps others realize that you are human too. We all pretty much came from the same place having the same desires to achieve more. Through building relationships online, this has helped others move even further along. Robert Dempsey has taken the time to speak with me on Skype so his suggestions and help have been beneficial to my growth.

    I see you now more as a person just through some of the experiences you have shared with us through your blog. You are much more approachable which helps us understand your desires more and to trust that whatever you would suggest to us in the future, I would consider purchasing because I now trust you and your opinion.

    Thank you again for the mention and I also enjoyed the video. How beautiful!

    Have a wonderful week.


    • jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Your guest post was amazing, and I especially enjoy the personal touch. I have also written an about me section, but it’s more or less only about me and my job and my interests. I’m not sure if I’ve written that I love pizza and playing basketball, or walking for hours every single day. So, my about me page is not that personal.

      But, one of the reasons why I wrote this post is that I’m going to be more personal from now on. I’m learning from you, and that’s very helpful.

      Thanks a lot for the awesome comment.

      – Jens

      • Adrienne says:

        Thank you Jens for that… I appreciate it and will definitely look forward to learning even more about you and glad I was had a small part in that. Will also look forward to the announcement of when your novel is published! 🙂 I know that one will be sometime this year.

        • jens says:

          Thanks a lot. I am sending the manuscript to the publisher today, and I’m really excited about it. It helps a lot to have your support. Thanks again for everything.

  3. john Falchetto says:


    You bring up some important points here. Robert shared some very emotional and private stories in his blog but as he says it brings a point.

    I think there are many bloggers out there who try to create sensational posts by writing about their private issues but there are no lessons to it.
    Danny Brown did the same with his post on suicide, there was a point to it.

    We all share depending on our level of comfort and what we believe goes beyond a certain line. I have no issues sharing my personal life, my challenges, business issues but I will never share anything about my daughter. She is off limits online.

    Again I don’t think it would bring much to my readers. Value first, sharing second in my book.


    • jens says:

      Hi John,

      My daughter is off limits online as well. I have learned a lot from the comments on this post, but even more by reading blogs in order to understand why people are sharing the personal information. We’re all different, that’s for sure. But I like what you’re saying about value first. That’s what I’ve been thinking all along.

      I like the quote from Robert, “I’ll share something personal if it helps hammer home the point; otherwise I’ll leave it out.” I think that sounds like a good rule.

      Thanks a lot for the awesome comment John. I really appreciate it.

  4. Anne Egros says:

    Thanks Jens for sharing these thoughts about how far we should go personal in blogging. In my blog I try to share personal stories but avoid too much details about personal issues like health for example. I agree meeting people online is same as meeting them offline, depending on feelings and how you “click” with someone you may share more intimate stories but because you don’t know who is reading your blog, I avoid to share too much about myself or my relatives.

    • jens says:

      Hi Anne,

      I haven’t shared much about my family either, and I probably still won’t. Well, maybe if it’s for a reason, like to explain something. But the personal stuff won’t be very detailed. The reason for this is about me not being comfortable, but I don’t believe that my readers want to read too much about the details either. They want to read about marketing, and as long as I’m using my personal experience with marketing in order to explain it, then it’s ok.

      On the other hand, I love analogies. So, I tend to use personal experiences in order to explain more complex situations.

      Thanks a lot for the comment Anne.

      – Jens

  5. Dino Dogan says:

    President Grover Cleveland was a draft dodger. He hired someone to enter the service in his place. He was ridiculed by his political opponent, James Blaine, but it was soon discovered that Blaine had done the same thing himself!

    If Cleveland was more transparent about his past, Blaine would have nothing to attack.

    If Blaine was more transparent about his past, he would have picked a better strategy to attack Cleveland.

    Thought for food.

    • jens says:

      Hi Dino,

      This is very interesting. My thoughts on this is that we should be as transparent as possible, but only share things we’re comfortable sharing and things that are relevant to what we’re doing.

      For instance, I talk a lot about pizza, but nobody reading my blog is probably interested in reading about every time I eat pizza (because I eat a lot of pizza), but they’re interested when I make analogies from my experiences with pizza to the world of marketing.

      Thanks a lot for this brilliant comment Dino. This is the first comment on my blog related to presidents 🙂

      – Jens

  6. Steve says:

    I think this is important. I am sometimes hesitant to get “too” personal, but I absolutely believe in transparency. I do also think I need to do “more” of it myself, though I am still a bit gun shy.

    Steve Scott itself is pen name. (though all facts are the ‘real” me) Not long before I started that site (I had other blogs and had been an internet marketer for years…most under my real name) I had a crazy person somehow use my personal information to track me down and show up on my doorstep one evening.

    Being a -sort of- private person this scared me, hence the pen name (which I now regret) for SSS. But I am tied to it at this point (branding, etc.)

    But all that non-withstanding, I do agree that to really make an impact the way to do it is to be personal. It is far better to have people know YOU rather than just what you represent.

    Like you I am struggling (to some extent) to be more personal and engaging. It IS important!

    • jens says:

      Hi Steve,

      Wow, having a crazy person show up on my doorstep would freak me out. And I have just written a novel about a serial killer 🙂

      I have actually thought about using a pseudonym in order to be a little more private. But on the other hand, I’ve met people like Marcus Sheridan who’s doing things opposite as what I thought I would be doing it. I’ve learned a lot from him.

      Being personal is very important, but like you I’m struggling with it… I’m doing my best to balance it, hence I’m almost never talking about my family on my blog.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Steve. By the way, your blog is brilliant.

      – Jens

  7. Jens, so kind of you to mention me here and you’ve really brought up a wonderful subject.

    As you well know, I’m a bit different than most. I’m very open. I write about my children and family. They teach me so very much that it be impossible not to intertwine them into my life— which unfolds through the articles on my blog.

    One of my favorite speakers and authors on the subject of self-improvement is a guy named Wayne Dyer. I have listened to him for years talk about his personal life and family and children. He lets people in and because of that, he builds amazing relationships.

    People often wonder how I’ve been able to build such a large and loyal audience to my blog. Well, you really explained it in this post Jens. You feel closer to me on a personal level because I let you in. Is this for everyone? Maybe not, but I also believe we can’t live our lives in fear of crazy nuts out there. We must trust that we are being watched over and our family protected. This is just my point of view, but it’s a core aspect of who I am and what I write about.

    Thanks again Jens, and cool video too btw. 🙂


    • jens says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Yes, you’re different than all the other people I have met online, and I really appreciate that. I have learned a lot from you. And I’m getting more personal from every post I read at your blog, so who knows what I’ll become in a few years time 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your support Marcus.

      – Jens

  8. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, It’s funny, I have regarded your blog as somewhat personal, such as your story about the pizza delivery guy. Although I’ve never met you in person, I regard you as a warm and caring individual.

    I, too, struggle with how much personal information to share in my blog. I figure my blog is about personal technology, not my personal life. I guess I have been following the Marcus Rule of sharing my stories when it drives the point home.

    This blog and the comments have been very helpful. Thank you for your great blog post opening up this topic for discussion. But my advice to you? Don’t change a thing about your writing style: it’s great! 🙂

    • jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I guess I’m somewhat personal when it comes to talking about my experiences, if I can use them as examples. But, I feel like I’m not telling enough, that I’m holding back. But, I’m not sure if I should do anything about it, because most of the things I’m not telling (like that I am a vegetarian) is not relevant to what I’m writing about, at least at not at the moment 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your support and your awesome comments.

      – Jens

  9. jens says:


    It wasn’t that bad actually, although it was a little scary at first. The view was spectacular. I’m also a little afraid of heights, so I can totally understand how you feel.

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    – Jens

  10. Kavita says:

    View from mountain top is beautiful but a bit frightening for me but a nice video about nature.

    I generally do not give much personal information either on my blog or on internet. In fact I have just posted one photo online which I use as my gravatar. I furnish details only that are required but blogging needs a personal touch as we blog about real things. Liked the post, Jens. Thankyou

    • jens says:

      Hi Kavita,

      Yes, that’s the same with me. I haven’t been writing much about myself either. But, learning from brilliant bloggers and marketers like Marcus Sheridan, Robert Dempsey and Adrienne Smith among others, made me realize that I needed to be more personal.

      I am still not aware of where to draw the line, and what I should and shouldn’t write about. But I’m more or less experimenting, in order to find out what I’m comfortable sharing. I don’t write the names of my family members and I don’t use their pictures. That’s a rule I have, but in the end, I’ll probably end up like Marcus and be completely transparent and share “everything”.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Kavita.

      – Jens

  11. Ricardo Nuñez says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking on this. I know we should share some information to build a closer community. I think the main thing is, if people get uncomfortable in doing it, they shouldn’t. I think that’s the main thing, you should always do what makes you comfortable. Sharing some information is enough to accomplish it. I’ve been thinking about because I’ll update my bio soon and I’ll add a little more info.

    Amazing view by the way, I was also traveling in the last month.

  12. Peter Pan says:

    Your story is good. I also love to walking too.

  13. Daniel says:

    The article is interesting, thanks for the information

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