(This is a guest post from Michael Hyatt, a friend, top business blogger, and Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Michael just released a new book called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.)
What do most successful people have that others wish they did?
It’s the thing that elevates you so that your voice can be heard. And, these days, getting heard in a noisy world is easier said than done.
But if you’re someone with something to say or sell, building and expanding your platform is more important than ever.
Unlike a stage in the theater, today’s platform is not built of wood or concrete or perched on a grassy hill. Today’s platform is built of:
Your platform is going to be a combination of your online/social media presence (Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.), public appearances, and possibly appearances in traditional media like radio, magazines, and newspapers.
But why build a platform…and why now? There are three reasons:
1. A good product no longer stands on its own. About ten years ago, I started to notice a disturbing trend. Let me explain. As someone who has been in the publishing industry for more than three decades, I know how difficult it has always been for aspiring authors to get published. You had to have a brilliant idea, a compelling proposal, or a well-written manuscript.
But that no longer seemed to be enough. With alarming frequency, we were turning authors down who had all of that. What they didn’t have was a platform. While we still believed “content was king,” suddenly, platform had become queen.
The fact is, competition has never been greater. As a result, people are now more distracted than ever before. And not just in the publishing industry. Just think about the crowded app market or the music industry. There’s so much noise that being good, or even great, is no longer enough. If you want to get noticed, you now need both a good product and a good platform.
2. It’s never been easier to build a platform. Facebook. Twitter. Do-it-yourself blogging services. These are tools that have become more and more sophisticated, yet easier and easier to use in recent years. For the first time in history, noncelebrities—people like you and me—can get noticed in this increasingly noisy world. Making things even better, most of these services can be used for free.
In the past, traditional media held all the keys. This is no longer the case. The gatekeepers are gone. The only thing that can stop you is, well…you.
3. It’s better to start building your platform before you realize you need it. The best time to build your platform was yesterday. The good news is that the second best time to build your platform is today.
You may look at yourself or your career or your business right now and think you don’t need a platform. I would encourage you to think bigger. Six years ago, I didn’t know I was going to need a platform. I wasn’t trying to write a book or release any kind of products. I was just trying to find a better way to communicate with my co-workers.
Now I have a blog, MichaelHyatt.com, that has more than 300,000 unique monthly visitors. In addition, more than 70,000 people subscribe to my daily blog posts and over 92,000 are monthly podcast listeners. I also have more than 123,000 Twitter followers and 17,000 Facebook fans.
To put it simply, it is infinitely easier to get a book deal when you have a platform like that than when you don’t. It also takes the guesswork out of creating good products. When you engage with your platform, they will tell you exactly what they want.
Start building now. The ideas will come.
There is no reason to delay any longer. The writing is on the wall and the tools are at your disposal. Don’t fear making mistakes—trust me, I made plenty of them along the way. If you have a message that is waiting to get out, there has never been a better time than right now.
(Go to http://michaelhyatt.com/platform now to purchase the book. Until the end of the day on May 25, Michael is also giving away $375.98 in bonus resources with each book purchased. I read the book, endorsed it and recommend the step-by-step suggestions Michael provides!)
What steps will you take to begin building or expanding your platform? If you’ve already began, how did you start?