Read my blogging lessons of 2011 and avoid sucking as much as I did

 

Hellow my fellow digital crusader.

Here’s a short, but juicy list of the good and bad I did with building my  online brand in 2011. I hope you soak up this post like a hungry Spongebob Squarepants – there may be  some “aha” – moments and warnings you don’t want to avoid.

Achtung – strong language up ahead.

Kids, please ask your parents for moral guidance !

Let’s start with the positive:

What I did right:

Sharpening my inner voice. In the beginning of this year, my style was mellow like Mr. Marshmallow . I was avoiding going all the way to edge, hiding in a boring-ass SAFE corner and playing things semi-safe. Boo !

When I finally came to my senses in late spring, I swallowed some “What the hell” – attitude and jumped right into my ocean of epicness. My writing became more authentic and in some parts offensive, because I was fully sharing my mind without doing any CENSORING. And that meant over-the-top strange language, hefty opinions and the occasional curse word or 10. Booya.

Lesson. Safety first – this slogan doesn’t deserve to be in the online space. You’re not going to experience a harmful digital car crash so there’s no point of using your seat belts. Go full throttle and don’t worry about crashing – the worst that can happen to you is that people ignore you online. Bah. You can handle that, right ?

Caring the heck ouf of my clients. My  (brand) consulting gigs were more frequent than in the year before, because I gave my all, trying to deliver the ULTIMATE value experience. I almost always went overtime, and worked my best to help my clients as much as possible. A lot of them hired me again and recommended my services, because they were clearly awesome-fied by my efforts. Win-win baby.

Lesson: Don’t like your customers, luv them so much it makes your partner jealous like hell. Gary Vaynerchuk said the most important thing you can for your biz is giving a fuck – CARING about your customers as much as you can. I agree. Don’t blow your work, BLOW their minds.

After all, they’re your life blood.

Creating a slick web design. Yeah, it won’t win any prices, but it’s still slick and a lot of people talked about it. When you build your online biz, you have to own a beautiful storefront, in this case your site. I still see so many crappy site designs from competent people, and it makes me want to puke all over myself. They’re losing biznass, because their crappy presentation screams amateur all over.

Lesson: Please don’t be lazy. If you can’t do some cool coding yourself, consider getting a friend or web designer to do it for you. Yeah, it may cost some moolah, but come on, we’re building your brand legacy here, not some stupid sand castle on the beach.

Connecting with some awesome movers-and-shakers. I have talked to some pretty kick-ass digital crusaders this year,  both offline and in the REAL world.  In fact, I made it a deliberate effort to connect with at least 2-3 new online influences every week. I always talk about making connections, because your network is the security of your future.

A few of  the brilliant ruckus-makers include Maneesh SethiNatalie Sisson, Melissa Rachel Black, Caleb WojcikJohnny B. Truant, Corbett BarrFarnoosh Brock and Matt Gartland.

Check ’em out – they’re going to create grand things in the new year.

Lesson: Please don’t play Rambo and try to take the world all by yourself. You’re going to fail so hard it’s not even funny. Mingle with the mavericks. You will gain so much attention and value by connecting with like-minded creators, it will advance your (and their) online career so fast Angels will fall jealously from the cloud. Help each other and rocket-fy your influence.

 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the bad stuff.

What I fucked up:

Failing to launch my first premium guide. I started working on my first major digital product about a year ago, and even wrote and created a lot of content. But I never shipped the damn thing. I thought it wasn’t good enough, and kept making changes until the year was coming to an end. I wasted a lot of time and didn’t learn anything, because the failure to deliver means no feedback from your customers, which is a double-waste. Meh.

Lesson. Minimum viable product – do your eproduct as best as your current skill set allows it and then sell it . No one is going to kill you if your product isn’t the promised land, and you can always offer a generous take-it-back guarantee.  A lot of my friends successfully launched their guides, filling their pockets with green magic and helping many people along the way. I didn’t because I was letting perfectionism get in my way. Total crash.

Trying to create new brand while neglecting my current one. I have started “I luv Empire” in late spring and wanted to turn that side into a visual art blog. I did get 5,000 to 10,000 visitors in the first weeks, mainly due some viral visual posts. But getting traffic later was much harder, because creating those cartoons took a long time and the site wasn’t as link-established as this one (Marsdorian.com has pagerank 4, I luv Empire had ZERO). I was spreading my focus too thin, fighting on two fronts instead of solely dominating one. #Fail.

Lesson: Before you start a second blog/brand, make sure you first one is BIG enough. Worry about your current brand/blog, make it a big player in your market, and then, and ONLY THEN, should you consider starting a second one. Otherwise, you’re shooting yourself in both legs having double work and spreading your focus in too many directions. I will now concentrate on building the Mars Dorian brand.

Posting infrequently. I experimented a lot behind the scenes. But my failure in doing it publicly cost me a lot of attention & traffic. I even got mails from readers checking if I was still alive. Mars Dorian >>giant slap in your fucking face.

I was clearly listening to my lizard brain and didn’t ship  a lot of my (visual) work, because I thought it wasn’t good enough. Seth Godin would triple-combo-smash my pathetic self. And very rightfully so.

Lesson: You don’t have to post multiple times a week. But you have to make sure that you’re doing it once in a while, at least a couple times a month. You have to stay active in the mind of your reader & client. I lost a lot of readers thanx too my inability to post continuously. Many peeps were pissed off and left, and will probably never return.

Don’t disappear from the screen like I did. Deliver something every week and stay relevant. Consistency is key.

 

What 2012 will bring

The lizard brain was clearly kicking my ass in 2011 but I’m going to grill it’s green ass in 2012.

Starting with January I’m going to post more frequently. I will include a lot of cartoons and even little cartoon stories about living and working on your own terms, infusing some edgy brand/marketing visuals into the mix.

This site is going be a hybrid between stunning graphics and edgy edu-taining content. I’ll build a kick-ass online gallery and move my site one step closer to the global entertainment brand I’ve always envisioned.

I wish you a glorious christmas and shiny new start into 2012. We’re going to rock the new year so hard the titans are going to drop their yellowed pants.

  • Mr. Tunes

    i’m wondering about the two brands thing. it’s always “keeps me up at night”. 

    isn’t it better to separate your brands into two rather than confuse the one brand? for example i have one for my music, and another for my web work (the web work still has a slant towards audio).i could combine them into one, but i figure the audience would have a hard time reading a blog that talks about “so and so’s new album” in one post, and “how to do a javascript thingy” in the next. 

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      If you really want to build two brands (and there are completely different), then you can go ahead and do it. In my case, they weren’t THAT different and that’s why it was useless. But your topics are way different, so it’s makes more sense to separate them. But be ready for the work ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kim.ramsay Kim Ramsay

    Wishing you a Merry Xmas Mars! Can’t wait to see what unfolds for you in 2012 :) 

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Long time no hear and see, Kim. Awesome – yeah, I have big plans for 2012 (probably like you) and I’m going to turn this sucker into a visual art feast ;)

  • http://sagoyism.com/ Josh Sarz

    Here’s to a better year ahead of us, Mars. 

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Amen to that, Josh.

  • Denise Smedley

    This is the best “end of year” post I’ve read so far.
     ”
    Seth Godin would triple-combo-smash my pathetic self. And very rightfully so.”… Ha!  I’ve thought that many times about myself, lol.  Seth is so good at calling us out on our crap.  

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      ha, yeah, good old Seth is always in the back of mind. I’ll make sure that I don’t listen to the lizard brain in 2012, and that I start delivering right off the bat.

      I hope you rock the new year as well, Denise.

  • Steve

    Mars,
    I KNOW you have it in you to crush the blogoshpere with your greatness! Don’t be like me and talk shit without taking action. Rock the shit out of 2012!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      We’ll both have to rock the shit out of 2012 or we’ll branded as the talkers and not doers in the blogosphere !

      • Steve

        Exactly right!

  • Keith Bloemendaal

    Probably my biggest fault, I start too many sites/brands and am constantly moving from site to site. 2012 (early 2012) will see all that consolidated into ONE site and ONE brand (called Tilt Shift Marketing) which will be the mothership for all things Keith does online! 

    Great to see concrete goals and looking back to see where you fucked up and can improve…. I am trying to do the same, just may not write about it LOL 

    Merry Christmas Mars! Here’s to an ASS kicking 2012!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      That’s awesome Keith. Yeah, I have seen your multiple sites, and I know it’s a pain in the ass to work on all of them. Tilt Shift Marketing can really blow up if you combine your focus and unleash it on that beast – that’s why I’m also ONLY concentrating my efforts on marsdorian.com and build into a much, much bigger brand.

      Glorious Christmas to you as well, my friend.

  • http://www.devacoaching.com Sandi Amorim

    Lessons are painful, but kudos for putting them out there publicly! That alone kicks lizard brain ass all over the road ;-)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      it’s not much, but it’s definitely a start, Sandi !
      I swear – the lizard brain’s going to have a time in 2012.

  • Alan

    Follow your bliss, then become it. Happy New Year, it’s gonna rock!

  • http://onlinemlmclassifieds.com Bundberg

    Seems to me you are too self-critical, you have done a really great job, just keep it up the next year!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Thanx man, but I think I really have to step up my game, and that means more consistency and more, way MORE visuals and experiments — all publicly of course !

  • Anonymous

    Hi Mars, I read your old blog posts and have to agree that they are pretty lame compared to your recent works. Your style has improved in an awesome way! With iluvempire and marsdorian – i must agree – it feels like Quickster and Netflix. You have to do something about it! I’m excited about what you will do next year :-)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      thanx man, yeah, it’s kind of like Quickster and Netflix, and we all know how that one turned out ;)
      I’m going to add more visuals and really try to turn this blog into a storytelling experience !

  • Caleb Wojcik

    Hey Mars,

    Thanks for the shout out here. I really appreciate it.

    I see big things for you in the coming year too. :)

    Caleb Wojcik

  • http://www.fitnessreloaded.com/ Maria

    Hi Mars!

    Will you launch the premium guide in 2012? Good luck in all of your endeavors in 2012!

    Happy New Year!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yes, in spring time. And it will be visual like hell.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nataliesisson Natalie Sisson

    Well I look forward to 2012 epicness then my friend. I hear you on the front of loving your customer and clients beyond belief. They remember you for it, thank you for it and ultimately spread the word about your awesomeness so why not go 100% in on caring for all you do and all you service. 

    I love blogging and doing it regularly keeps me sane and creative but I agree with you on the safe part. It’s taken a while to find my voice and while I’m no @TMFProject:disqus 
    and can admire her fire on her blog, I do like my straight to the point (it’s the half German in me coming out), straight shooting, energetic style and there’s more to come.

    Honoured to be included here as someone who made an impact in your life this year – we should have more Skype calls

    PS when is the IV coming out? :)

    Nat

  • http://profiles.google.com/nataliesisson Natalie Sisson

    Well I look forward to 2012 epicness then my friend. I hear you on the front of loving your customer and clients beyond belief. They remember you for it, thank you for it and ultimately spread the word about your awesomeness so why not go 100% in on caring for all you do and all you service. 

    I love blogging and doing it regularly keeps me sane and creative but I agree with you on the safe part. It’s taken a while to find my voice and while I’m no @TMFProject:disqus 
    and can admire her fire on her blog, I do like my straight to the point (it’s the half German in me coming out), straight shooting, energetic style and there’s more to come.

    Honoured to be included here as someone who made an impact in your life this year – we should have more Skype calls

    PS when is the IV coming out? :)

    Nat

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      I think the world only needs Ashley Ambirge ;)

      Let’s reconnect soon – and have a kick-ass start into 2012 !

  • Anonymous

    This list is really entertaining! Especially the Rambo part, that is actually my biggest screw-up that I have for 2011. I didn’t connect much with others and trust me, it is no fun to be alone, very alone in this blogosphere. The whole existence of my blog seems just to be an echo of my words, just me. 2012 would be a better year. Rock on for 2012 and a happy new year.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, I thought the same – flying Han Solo in my beginning and barely getting any traction. But just like in the real world – connections matter…a lot.
      Seriously, if you worry about creating KICK-ass content + connecting with online influencers that you like, you’ll be going places !

      • Anonymous

        Yes. Now I learned that connections matter a lot, the hard way, I’m going to stick around till I get it.
        Internet has make it really easy to connect with people all over the world! Thanks for the advice(:

  • http://twitter.com/milkandcooties Melissa Rachel Black

    Been an absolute pleasure getting to know you this year, Mars.  Your blog and energy inspires me constantly.  Good luck defeating your lizard brain :)  I’ll come over with my sword whenever you need.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      ahh, good to know, Melissa. Castrate that green bitch if I can’t stop it on my own ;)

  • Ali

    Mars you could literally do whatever you like in the online space. I know this because I luv u and I hardly even like anyone else. Take it all by storm, flush out the phonies and rule on your rightful throne. all those big names you talked about, They’re lucky to connect with you. You own epic and honest as far as I’m concerned. Stay blazing hot so falseness sears into nothingness as it approaches. Ship ship ship. Happy vegan new year.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, thanx for that, man, yeah, 2012 is going to be the shipping year.

      I can’t promise you to be vegan, but I sure as hell wish you an epic new year as well ! I hope your ideas come to fruition, Ali !

  • Maria Brophy

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Mars! But I appreciate you sharing your F-ups with us, so we don’t have to make the same mistakes!

  • darren

    Hey Mate,

    Great post, The good thing about sucking is you learnt from it, then changed your action to suit… I look forward to seeing what 2012 bought you..I think 2013 will be a kick arse year for sure…

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      yeah, 2012 was actually quite different from 2011, and I have witnessed some incredible changes in the blogosphere. Those will be featured in my next year-end-post.

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