Is It Selfish to Build Your Platform?

August 6, 2020  •  Marketing Strategy

If you’re trying to create a new opportunity, promote your book, or take your business to the next level, building a platform makes sense. We think it’s necessary.

Yet, this work requires a certain degree of self-promotion that may make you uncomfortable or generate criticism from a small handful of people.

Is it selfish to ask for other people’s attention as you promote your own platform?

Hey, Look At Me

Have you ever met a “me monster”? This is a term the comedian Brian Regan used to hilariously describe a person we’ve all encountered. You go to a dinner party and inevitably there is one person who seems to control the conversation. They turn every other person’s story back to themselves and always seem to “one-up” the details. It’s frustrating. We all wish we could (kindly) shut down the “me monster.” 

Despite your best intentions, as you pursue the work of building a platform, you will likely encounter this criticism: why do you always talk about yourself?

Remember Your “Why”

All communication involves some sort of promotion. Someone has to think highly enough of an idea to express it. That goes for the handyman hanging a sign, the billion-dollar corporate ad manager, and the minister with a message he thinks could help more than the people who gather to hear him each week.

You need to elevate the message or it won’t get out, and building an online brand is one critical way to do that in today’s marketplace of ideas.

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Here are three reasons why building a platform contradict any criticism that may arise in the process:

1. Platforms only amplify what we already are. A platform amplifies what you are. If you’re humble, helpful, and kind, a platform won’t turn you into a Me Monster. It’ll enable you to leverage more of what drives you—and your humility, helpfulness, and kindness will have even greater impact.

2. Platforms are about serving others. Far from being about self-promotion, building an online brand is about connecting with others. Why? To address their needs and serve them. You simply cannot sell a platform that people don’t need. This is why the platform-builders who succeed are the ones who are the most generous. It is also why we recommend doing occasional reader surveys to stay on top of what your audience finds most useful.

3. Platforms are how you communicate today. Platforms are how you get your message out in the decentralized media market of today. Why wouldn’t you build one if you are serious about getting your message heard? Whether you are Ezra needing to communicate the Law of Moses to the Israelites, Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address, or an author with a new book to promote, you cannot be heard without a platform.

People that don’t advocate for their messages usually don’t get heard. If you believe in your message, you should believe in it enough to share it. And for most communicators in today’s environment, that means building a platform.

About John Meese

John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the founder of Cowork Columbia, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at