Do you have something to say, but struggle with how to say it? Or maybe the issue is finding your audience. You know they’re out there, right? People who share your concerns and passions. People ready to hear what you have to say, but more than that–people who are willing to open dialogue with you. Have a conversation. Learn from each other.
This is the point I’m at. I’ve determined the steps I need to take in focusing this blog and website on its new purpose. (Hint: see my new home page.) Now it’s a matter of learning how to build a platform so that I can reach the audience I want to share with.
Enter PLATFORM Get Noticed in a Noisy World: A Step-by-Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell. During its release week last May, the author offered a sweet package for those who ordered the hardcover. I jumped on it and listened to the entire book via mp3 several times before the physical book arrived. There are five main steps to platform building:
1. Start with Wow. This should be a no-brainer, but maybe it isn’t. Either way, it’s certainly the foundation to a platform. If you don’t have a WOW product (book?), it will be hard to create a solid platform on top of it.
2. Prepare to Launch. In this section Hyatt talks about accepting personal responsibility, defining goals, creating branding, etc. Although this isn’t the largest of the five sections, it’s got a lot of practical information in it.
3. Build Your Home Base. This section focuses on the one place on the internet you own: your website and blog. Hyatt gives solid reasons why your blog should be at YourOwnName. You can’t control anywhere else, so you need to solidify your efforts to your home base. He likens Facebook, guest blogging, etc, to embassies–a presence you’ve been invited to have on foreign soil, knowing they can change the rules at any time and kick you off.
Anyway, this section talks a lot about the hows and whys of blogging, with some information about the rest of your website as well, such as your “about” page.
4. Expand Your Reach. This relates to reaching out from your home base to find blog subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans. Hyatt is a great believer in Twitter, so a good chunk of this section has tips for this form of social media. While I don’t love Twitter any more than I used to, he does provide some solid ideas.
5. Engage Your Tribe. Now that we (presumably) have all the pieces in place, Hyatt gives advice for keeping our new readers/followers/fans engaged and promoting us to their friends and contacts.
While he tries to make a case for “if he can do it, anyone can,” this didn’t ring true in my mind. Most of us are complete unknowns, not (former) CEOs of major publishing houses. Most of us don’t have the budget to throw at our websites the way Hyatt apparently does. ($1000 per month? Beyond my comprehension.)
So, in my opinion, you need to take some of it with a grain of salt. A lot of his advice can be scaled back to a normal budget of paying for URL and hosting then using a free theme and plugins. Mine may not be as fancy as his, but honestly I don’t see an expensive site when I go to MichaelHyatt.com. I doubt the average visitor is impressed by the bells and whistles. I could be wrong. My lack of judgment on the subject may be holding me back from having as effective a platform as Hyatt, who knows?
With all that in mind, I still think this book is a good buy and worth going through slowly and repeatedly. I’m sure I am getting way more than $15.36 value out of it. If you’re trying to find your way to a more solid platform, I recommend this book.
Michael Hyatt is a full-time blogger, author, and speaker. He is the former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S.
Hyatt has spent his career in the book industry. As a publisher, former literary agent, New York Times bestselling author, and popular blogger, he has a unique perspective on the rapidly changing world of content creation and delivery.
In his 30 year career, Hyatt has worked in nearly every facet of book publishing, including serving as the CEO of Thomas Nelson for six years. He is also the former Chairman of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
His blog, MichaelHyatt.com, is ranked by Google in the top one-half percent of all blogs with more than 300,000 unique visitors a month. He also has more than 120,000 followers on Twitter.
Hyatt has been married to his wife, Gail, for more than thirty years. They have five daughters and seven grandchildren. They live just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
If you’re here for Patty Wysong’s A2Z meme, this post is P is for Platform.