Successful business people (leaders, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, etc.) must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform.
While the former is essential, it is not enough. Without a meaningful platform, you simply cannot get the attention your product, brand, or cause needs to succeed. If content is king, platform is queen. You cannot build your empire without the help of both.
What Is a Platform?
In a previous article, we discussed how your product is the best form of marketing available to you. So, what is a platform and how is it distinct from your product? To quote our founder, Michael Hyatt:
“A platform is the means by which you connect with your existing and potential fans.“
Your platform consists of the obvious: a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. But your platform also consists of anything you do in public, such as speaking at events or your involvement in community organizations.
No One Else Will Build It For You
It used to be the fastest way to elevating your platform was to get some outside help. Maybe a mentor or a gatekeeper higher up the professional ladder would give you an opportunity. You could thousands on a consultant or pay an agency to build you a website for you.
Social media technologies have changed everything. With easy website tools like WordPress and social sites from Twitter to TikTok, you no longer need to be famous, wealthy, or backed by an investor to build a platform. Just look at Gary Vaynerchuk, who started out reviewing wine on YouTube to promote his family’s business and built his platform into a media juggernaut. Or author Jeff Goins, who turned a blog about writing into multiple best-selling books, his own annual conference, and a successful speaking career.
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You Can Do This Too
The tools are available. Everything from here is up to you. But before you get started, it’s important to keep the “why” behind the effort in mind. Here are the three best benefits to building or expanding your platform:
- A platform provides visibility. The word platform itself is a metaphor. It brings to mind a “stage,” where the speaker or entertainer is elevated above the crowd. It makes it possible for everyone in the audience to see you. This is especially important in a world where more and more people and organizations are screaming for our attention.
- A platform provides amplification. It enables you to be heard above the noise in the crowd. Even before modern sound systems, preachers and politicians would stand on platforms in order to be heard. Modern sound systems leverage natural acoustics and make it possible to speak before tens of thousands of people. Today, modern media—especially social media—provide an opportunity for you to extend your reach like never before.
- A platform provides connection. Traditional media platforms make possible a kind of unilateral intimacy. You “know” the talk show host, the performing artist, or the conference speaker. But social media has taken this to a whole new level. It makes possible bilateral intimacy—engagement. The result is that you can be more connected to your fans, customers, and supporters than ever before.
Building a platform takes work, but you already have access to everything you need to it. With these benefits in mind, you’re ready to take the next step.