Step out from the background, get ahead of the numbers, and put a name, face, and some personality behind your effort and you will see increased engagement. (source: The Power Of Storytelling By Andy Smith)

What does the phrase "put a name, face, and some personality behind your effort" mean? I think it means you make an effort to well describe a name, face & personality (in the story telling).

Can the phrase "put A beyond your effort" mean "make an effort to support or assist A"? What about the word engagement? Does it mean some kind of interests or being appealing as a story? Could you help me clarify it? Thank you always.

  • We cannot say with any certainty, without further context, whether the author is advising you to promote yourself in the sales and marketing sense, or to add realistic human details to your stories. I believe it may be the former because of "get ahead of the numbers".
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


Actually in this case "put a name, face, etc. ..." means to put your own name, face, etc. behind your stories. Readers are often as interested in the person telling the stories as they are in the stories themselves, and if a writer/storyteller wants to "increase engagement" -- meaning, to sell more books or get paid to speak more often -- they should show some of their own personality to their audience.

An example:

These days it's not enough to have a blog, or a series of online videos. Your audience is tired of the same old pre-packaged, pre-selected static content. They want to see who you are when you're not trying to be perfect. Put some awkwardness into your product by doing a Facebook Live video or other spontaneous offering to show that you are a real person, with real imperfections. Your fan base will only love you all the more for it.

"Put an X behind your effort" is not really a common idiom. The common idiom is "to put your back into it", meaning "to work harder":

We're never going to move this boulder if you don't put your back into it.

There are many ways to similarly say, "put some X into Y". Example:

Put more spice into your marriage with these simple tips.


It is in my opinion badly written, but the meaning of the entire passage is clear: "engage the audience by excluding background and data and by focusing instead on an individual person."

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