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.
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.
“Great”, I thought to myself, “I don’t even have a Facebook page, and I sure don’t understand how to twit!”
A friend told me about Michael Hyatt. I purchased his book, Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World. (I highly recommend it if you want to build a platform.) Then I studied.
I felt like I jumped into jet-stream when I began. Figuring out what tools to use and how to use them was confusing and overwhelming.
So, I thought I would share with you a list of what I am using to build my platform:
- Personal Blog – I use a self-hosted WordPress site that is hosted by Host Gator. Both are very good services. After playing around a bit, I landed on posting a blog twice a week. The main thing is consistency. Also, I chose a specific topic or range of topics to blog about. For me, it is missional lifestyle. That includes local compassion, international missions, and orphan care. I also occasionally blog about my writing, like today. Important thing is here, like Michael Hyatt teaches, my blog is my hub. I funnel all my other social outlets to my website.
- Facebook – Yes, it is true, I didn’t have a Facebook account until last fall. Facebook, so far, has helped me re-connect with friends from lots of different circles and stages of my life. I have connected with some new friends through Facebook. Right now I say the ratio is 90% people I already knew. Because of the informal nature of the Facebook, I not only share links to blog posts on my website, but occasional status updates about what is going on in my life.
- Facebook Fan Page – This is where I post specific updates about my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart. There is a lot of overlap between my Fan page and my personal FB page. I expect that to change over time. My Fan page will also change to incorporate all of my writing updates.
- Twitter – I am beginning to make some good contacts through Twitter. I even had coffee last week with a fellow blogger that lives in my city that I met on Twitter. I look for people who express the same interests that I have and I follow them. I also re-tweet things that others have tweeted that I like. Twitter is a great networking tool.
- Google+ – I know a lot of people are not sure how to use Google+ and are surprised that anyone hangs out there. I have found that Google+ is great for finding communities of people who have similar interests as mine. A couple of communities that I am active in are Foster Care Adoption and Christian Authors.
- Pinterest and LinkedIn – I spend some time on both, but they are down my list now. I hope to spend more time developing these outlets. They both access very different groups of people.
- Buffer – I use Buffer a lot for my Twitter and Facebook posts. I can set up several in the queue at one time and not worry about it until the next day or so.
- Goodreads – This is a great place for readers and authors to meet. I have an author profile on this site that allows me to import my blog posts, have a giveaway for my book, conduct Q&A sessions, and much more.
- Blogs and Forums – I look for blogs and forums that are talking about the things I care about…Orphan care, missional living, how to write, and how to use social media. I read and leave comments to build rapport with others that have similar interests.
Some tools that I plan on developing soon are the use of YouTube and podcasting. The challenge is balancing platform building with my real passion—writing.
If you are building a platform, what tools do you use?