OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
In this podcast, I discuss branding, marketing and productivity with the inspirational Mars Dorian.
In the intro, I talk about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards which are open Jan 24 – Feb 6th. I'm entering Pentecost and I explain why. Do you have a self-published or unpublished manuscript you could enter?
Mars Dorian is a digital entrepreneur who wants to change the online world through personal branding and creative marketing.
In the podcast, you will learn:
- How Mars moved his offline business online – freelance branding and design for creative people. He wanted his own website to promote himself but the blog soon took off and he realized that a real feasible business can be launched online.
- Why branding is so important. Branding is just the way that people perceive you, that's all it is. You need to have a way of standing out and branding will help you do this. Look at yourself, your personality and your skills. Crystallize it into words and then make it into something visual. That might include colors, writing style and vocabulary, images and website style.
- On authenticity and transparency online. You don't need to talk about everything. You need to be aligned with the portrayal of your brand but only include personal information if it has a direct benefit and a purpose.
- On pen-names and using a different name in order to stand out. Mars' real name is Marius and people were finding that hard to pronounce, so he used Mars which has visual imagery and also changed in order to encourage promotion. It can be a good idea to use a different name if you want to stand out.
- To promote your brand, you need your own site. Building a powerful presence and a community is the key. Share your writing and make people addicted to it. Once you have built up a good platform, you can sell your books and products from there. The content and the branding are critical. Mars mainly uses his blog, Facebook and Twitter as it is important for focusing. Building a network and relationships is also important so keep in touch on Skype or email.
- For people who are shy, you can just change your strategies. You might not want to create videos, but you still need to spread your message. Use writing instead of visual or audio. You can even “hide” behind a shy brand or image. Use your style to sound out. Leverage your strengths and use your personality. Mars even suggests taking aspects of your personality further and using them as characteristics.
- Use language that is appropriate for your brand. You shouldn't use the boring, corporate style anymore. Don't appeal to everyone, appeal to people you want to connect with. Be real. If you cuss, then that's fine, you'll attract people who don't mind that.
- On multiple brands e.g. if you are a technical writer and also write fantasy. It's hard work to build more than one brand, so try to identify a part of you that spans both and build a brand around that which incorporates both.
- Every day, do something for your brand. It doesn't need to be full-time work but create a habit and build momentum. Mars tweaks his design and checks it fits his theme. He contacts people to keep relationships fresh. He writes every day even if he doesn't feel like it, either blog posts or journal entries in his Moleskine jotting down ideas and business plans. He does a Skype call daily for an interview or client call.
- On moving from ideas to results. Mars sets a time limit and sees it like a computer game , as a warrior who has to complete certain tasks. He sets an online timer for 30 minutes to do quality work with no other focus. Then he takes a short break and then returns to another chunk of work. This ‘period of work' repeats during the day and he counts the number of chunks per day, trying to achieve a high score. (Brilliant! I love this! I mention Write Or Die) Being focused is productive.
- Where Mars finds his inspiration. Every day he watches videos of people usually artists and designers, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and others. Creative people who have world famous businesses, people who are years ahead but are inspirational role models.
- On having an international business. It doesn't matter where you are working from, you can do anything online.