Quality is no longer enough to guarantee success. Today, competence is assumed. More important, there is competition everywhere, as close as the nearest online search engine.
To control your destiny, you need a practical way to build lasting relationships with current clients while attracting an on-going stream of new prospects to your business.
A platform is a process, a unique message, and a way to consistently communicate with your market. There are several types of platforms: articles, blogs, columns, books, interviews, newsletters, podcasts, social media, speaking, teleseminars, websites, and online videos.
Published books offer the advantage of tangibility, they have a physical presence in the hand and in the bookshelves of your prospects.
The crucial issue is not which type of platform you use, but whether or not you have a unique & relevant message and that you consistently promote it.
Content relevancy and consistency play major roles in the success of author platforms
Why author platform are so important
Platforms offer authors numerous advantages:
- A position in your market that differentiates you from your competition.
- A “stage” to present from, a way of packaging your expertise in an easily recognizable format.
- Tools to educate your market. A platform helps you distribute helpful, relevant information that communicates your point of view and creates a halo benefiting every one of your products and services.
- Freedom. You, and you alone, choose the topics to address.
- Challenge and self-improvement. Platforms force you to refine your ideas and improve your ability to express them.
- Visibility and contacts. A platform expands your network of those who know and respect you, building your referral network.
Successful platforms share these essential characteristics:
- Control. You need to choose topics and be able to distribute your message without outside dependency or interference.
- Consistency. Platforms must be constant updated with new material. Each time you update your platform, you improve your search engine visibility and the chances that prospects will encounter you when they’re ready to buy.
- Efficiency. To maintain consistency, your platform must be easy and inexpensive to set up and maintain. For this reason, websites that authors and entrepreneurs cannot update themselves without contacting a designer or programmer are often ineffective as platforms.
Steps to success
There are three steps to creating an effective platform:
- Choose your message, an approach or process that becomes synonymous with you.
- Create a way to distribute and “package” it in a distinct way that sets it apart from your competition. Design, graphics, audio, and video are all tools that you can use to differentiate your message.
- Support it with an online presence you can update by yourself. Blogs are excellent choices, because you can update them yourself without spending money or waiting for others to act and there’s no “learning curve” or expensive software to purchase.
Step 1. Message
The starting point is identify a core message that leverages off of your value proposition, (i.e., how you can help your market). Your goal is to become personally associated with the solution to a widespread problem your target market suffers from.
Ideally, your message will reflect not just your competence, but will identify the market you serve and the benefits you offer. It should also reflect your values, style, and enthusiasm.
Your core message provides the starting point for identifying the topics and developing the information you communicate in a non-invasive and consistent way.
An effective platform cares a core, or nucleus, which you can later recycle and expand.
For many, the starting point is a blog. Each blog post offers enough space for you to introduce and address just about any topic, educating your market and proving your competence, while attracting search engine visibility.
Each post creates a “first draft” you can later expand into:
- Articles for syndication, interviews, books, e-books.
- Presentations, speeches, teleconferences, podcasts, training.
- Website content and incentives to attract more search engine traffic, reward your best clients, and build your opt-in e-mail newsletter circulation list.
- Books and e-books. Books represent the highest example of platforms. Even if you don’t consider yourself an “author” now, you will soon have compiled enough material to write a book if you prepare each blog post with an eye to using it as a chapter, or topic in a chapter, of a future book.
You must be able to update your online presence yourself. You can’t afford to wait for—and pay for—someone else to do the work.
Your blog has to be continually updated with your latest messages. Visitors should never encounter the same post on two consecutive visits!
The starting point is to analyze your core competencies, your market, and your competition.
This will help you identify your message, which will help you determine the best ways to communicate, and expand, it as consistently and efficiently as possible.
Learn more by visiting the Published & Profitable Daily Writer’s Writer’s Tip Blog or you can e-mail me and askfor my Platform Creating Tip Sheet that tells more about how you can you can create a platform to educate prospects and take control of your future.