3 Reasons to Join Me at Platform University

When I began my new venture into writing about three years ago, I knew very little about writing or publishing. As I researched and studied the industry, my heart began to sink. I read over and over that I needed to have or build a “platform”. I had no idea what that meant or entailed.

Photo Credit: whitebar via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: whitebar via Compfight cc

Not long after that, a good friend recommended Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. What a blessing! The timing was perfect.

You need to understand something else. Not only did I not know much about the writing industry, I knew very little about social media. Don’t chuckle too loudly—I didn’t have a single social media account to my name. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. Nothing.

I bought Michael Hyatt’s book and read it cover to cover  immediately able to apply effective principles to building a successful platform.

I used his book and his website—MichaelHyatt.com—as resources to walk me through this new journey.

Then Hyatt introduced Platform University.

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Tools I Am Using to Build My Platform

When I decided to become an author, I had no idea what a “platform” was. I soon learned that the experts suggest to build one first before writing a book. I was writing for six months before I knew about building a platform.

 

By: zzpza

 

I learned that even if you go the traditional route and get a literary agent who then finds a publisher, the marketing will fall heavily on you, the writer. In fact, if you don’t have a large amount of people already following you, a platform, you might not get a publisher even if your content is excellent.

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Why I Began Blogging

Full disclosure here – I watched Julie & Julia a couple of years ago with my wife.  If you are not familiar with the movie, it stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child.  The movie intertwines the story of Julia Child with a character named Julie who is blogging about cooking every meal from Julia’s first cookbook.

From what I remember, Julie began blogging as a way of recording her successes and failures as she cooked her way through the cookbook.  I do not think she expected very many people to follow her blog.  But many people did follow it much to her surprise.

At the time I was watching the movie, I was not even considering writing a blog.  I had no reason to write a blog.  I know a lot people blog to keep a digital journal.  I have kept a journal for several years – with ink and in a simple composition book.

I am not sure that I want everyone in the world able to read what I write in my journal!

So, why did I begin blogging now?  Initially, it was to give updates on my progress of my new book.  Friends ask me a lot about how it is going.  I began blogging about my status on the book.

I am now seeing the value to blog about more than just the book.  I have been working on a  personal brand.  I hope to be launching my personal website soon from which I will blog through a broader yet still focused lens.

I now see blogging as a way to do the following:

  • Speak to a broad audience
  • Communicate my passions
  • Have influence
  • Find a like minded “tribe”

If you are a blogger, why do you blog?  I would love to hear your comments.

Refocus

I really thought that I would finish my final draft last week.  However, I bogged down on a chapter.  I did not like the way it was structured.  I was having a hard time seeing it written differently.

So, I shifted gears and worked on homesteading some social media sites with the name of my soon to be published website.  That took me a little longer than I expected.  But, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and a Pinterest site now homesteaded.

What I mean by homestead is that I have signed up for the accounts with the name that I want to use.  It is the same name for all sites and my website.  Personal Branding.

I still need to take some time to set them up and begin networking.  In fact, tomorrow I am spending some time in the afternoon with a photographer friend for a head shot photo shoot.  The idea is to use not only the same name for all the sites, but also the same personal photo.

What is the reason for that you ask?  By using the same name and photo, over time, people will recognize that it is me.  Again, Personal Branding.

This morning, I returned to working on my final draft.  Spending a couple of days working on something else helped unlock some ideas on how to restructure my chapter.  So, I hope to finish the final draft sometime this week.  Then, I will give the manuscript to my wife to read.

I am getting closer!

More on Personal Branding

As promised, here is an update on my work on developing a personal brand.  I have contracted with a web host company, and I am in the process of setting up my personal website.  I could give you the address now, but you would not see anything yet!

The website will be my main online hub from which all other social media, including this blog will spin off from.  This includes any other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and any other social media I decide to utilize.  Ideally, all will have the same “brand” or name.

The idea is to provide the most consistent brand possible.  So that, if a person sees my Facebook, Twitter, or website, they will immediately know it is the same person.

This will hopefully help in developing a larger and loyal following.  This takes social media beyond entertainment and begins using it as a business and marketing tool.I have learned that especially for nonfiction books, publishers want to see that a perspective author already has a following or personal network.

So, as I am getting closer to finishing my final draft of my manuscript, I am also developing my personal brand.  Once I have all the pieces set up, I plan on blogging about more specific topics found in my book.

Hopefully I will have my website set up next week along with my other social media sites!

Personal Branding

I promised in my last blog post that I would share some of what I am learning about marketing which leads me to this title – Personal Branding.

When I began to embrace the idea of being a writer about one year ago after many years of encouragement from others, especially my wife, I had no idea of what all would be entailed.

As I wrote in my last blog about being a little bit overwhelmed by all of the publishing options that are available today for an aspiring author, I also find myself feeling the same way about the whole idea of self marketing.

With the growth of social media, the ability and opportunity to present yourself, your voice, your message in a consistent manner is incredible.

I have had a few factors that caused me to be resistant to the whole social media scene.  First of all, being in my early 50’s , I am used to more of a face to face way of networking.  I want to know who I am talking to just as much as that person probably likes being able to know me as well.  I like to look into the eyes of the person I am talking to.

Secondly, I have been overly protective of my online identity.  A couple of reasons for that.  One is that I have done missionary work in some countries where it was prudent to be “unknown”.  The other reason is that I have not wanted to be naiive about online relationships.  I know that it can be fun and sometimes beneficial to reconnect with old friends and create new friendships.  But, I have chosen to not go there out of respect of my marriage.  I believe it is important for me to build strong hedges.

Thirdly, and not lastly, but all I will share here, is that I have avoided the social media world so that I would not become addicted to it.  I have friends, as I am sure you do too, that spend countless hours on their social media sites.  I know myself too well.  Because I can easily become OCD about things, I made a decision to not even be tempted by it.

All these things were true because I viewed social media mainly as just that, a “social” activity.  I understood that it could be very useful for someone who was networking for business or politics, etc.  But, I had not seen the value for me until now.

Finally, I am getting around to the objective of this blog!  I am learning that I am not just writing a book, or hopefully, books.  I am beginning to form a business around who I am and what I have to say.

Now, I am beginning to see the tremendous value of creating personal brand.  And, social media is a powerful way of getting the word out about that brand.

As I mentioned in the last blog, Michael Hyatt has a lot good information on his blog about this topic.  www.michaelhyatt.com.  He even has taken a lot of his blog posts on the subject and has written a book about it – Platform – Getting Noticed in a Noisy World.

I found a lot good supporting and additional online also about personal branding.  Just a few of the general tips I have learned are:

  • Know who you are.
  • Know what your message is or you want it to be.
  • Be consistent in your message.
  • Know your audience and how to connect to them.

So, this is where I find myself.  I laid in bed the other night processing out loud with my wife about creating my personal brand and platform.  I less overwhelmed and becoming more excited about developing my personal brand.

Stay tuned to see how I roll it out in the weeks to come.