Why We’re Changing Everything in 2018

January 2, 2018  •  Platform Strategy

Every year, technologies change. New marketing channels become all the rage and old ones fade into irrelevance (Snapchat was so last year).

Throughout all that change, many things remain the same. There are underlying principles that make online business strategies (what we call “platform-building”) still work, year after year.

business strategy planning goals
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock Photos

I remember when I first started building my own online platform back in 2013.

Facebook was growing in popularity, Instagram was just starting to gain traction, and social media marketing had just reached a new high of popularity (the future of marketing, they said).

I knew how to write blog posts, but after that, I was stuck—overwhelmed by the sheer volume of conflicting advice filling my news feed every day.

Thankfully, I found Platform University. Amidst the dozens of Masterclass interviews, Backstage Passes, and Member Makeovers, I started to pick out fundamental themes.

Figure out what problem you solve, help your audience to earn their trust, build an email list, promote affiliate products, create digital products of your own…

The only problem was … Platform University didn’t always make those fundamentals easy to find.

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A Peek Inside Platform University’s Content Strategy

If you’re not already a Platform University member, it might be helpful to know what our members-only content looked like before now, so here’s a quick review:

With few exceptions, we’ve published new training material inside Platform University every week since January 2013. Typically we rotated between Masterclass Interviews, Backstage Pass videos, Live Q&As, and Member Makeovers (later replaced by the Platform U How To).

If you do the math, that’s a whole lot of content.

To date, we’ve published more than 250 pieces of training content inside Platform University. Most of these are studio-quality interviews or video walkthroughs with a professional crew!

When we were just teaching content as we learned it, that made a lot of sense. But over time, some of that content became redundant. Other content became outdated. It’s time for a change.

What’s NOT Changing About Platform University:

First, let’s start with what’s staying the same. Beyond the fact that we’re a monthly membership site with thousands of active members, there are several principles that represent who we are:

  1. We believe your message matters, and deserves to be shared with the world.
  2. We aim to set the standard on research-backed, high-quality, actionable content.
  3. We learn from the best of the best, often flying industry experts in for studio interviews.
  4. We exist to serve our community, which includes some of the greatest people alive.
  5. We are practitioners ourselves, who teach from our own personal experience.

Those principles, in some form or fashion, have been true from the beginning. That’s what got us here, and we have no interest in altering our institutional DNA—but how we do apply those principles to our content model itself?

What’s Changing Inside Platform University This Year:

This past summer, we took a hard look at our current content model, feedback from our most engaged members, and the most common reasons people left Platform University in the past.

As well, we looked at our most successful students (people like Jonathan Milligan, Mike Kim, or Jevonnah Ellison) to identify common themes in each story, of what they did right.

After all that, we’ve come up with a new content model, which we’ll be rolling out this year.

This is a start-to-finish core curriculum that walks platform-builders from “Where should I start?” to a thriving online platform with a loyal audience, profitable products, and a clear marketing plan.

This isn’t just a theoretical curriculum, we’ve already mapped out each module in detail and started recording (the first module goes live for current students next week).

Here’s a high-level overview of what each module will cover:

  1. Clarify Your Brand Identity
  2. Establish Your Home Base
  3. Create Compelling Content
  4. Establish Your Email List
  5. Grow Your Email Audience
  6. Establish Social Embassies
  7. Conduct Audience Research
  8. Write Words That Sell
  9. Introduce Your Initial Product
  10. Study Analytics & Optimization
  11. Leverage Affiliate Marketing
  12. Launch Your Flagship Product
  13. Hone Your Platform Strategy

Each module will start with a Masterclass interview, as before, but then transition into a training video series to walk you through getting the actual work done!

Our plan is to release one module each week between now and the first week of April (though students can consume content at their own pace, we recommend one module each month).

Yes, that’s a lot of content in a short amount of time. After that? We’re getting off the never-ending hamster wheel of content creation.

We would rather create content because students need it than just because we have another weekly deadline coming up.

John Meese

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Launching 52 professional-quality training videos in roughly three months is a major endeavor, and once that’s done our plan is to pivot into working directly with students to help them succeed.

That means more live Q&A opportunities, community engagement, and personalized coaching as we track student success. That means taking student feedback and using that to improve our core curriculum—even if that means re-recording content that doesn’t measure up!

We’ll have more to share about this process in the weeks and months to come, but we’re excited to share the finished content—I think you’re gonna love it, for sure.

QUESTION: Do you have any questions or reservations about this new content model? Let us know in the comment area below!

About John Meese

John is the Dean of Platform University, and spends most of his time looking for new ways to serve Platform University students. He lives south of Nashville, TN with his wife and two young kids.