Did you know the most important asset you have in your business is your platform? It’s true. You may be asking what your “platform” is? Well, it’s like your personal portfolio for your business. It includes media you’ve received, awards you’ve won, your websites, your blog, your ezine subscribers, your books, your products… your speaking engagements, your client list, testimonials… basically everything that represents the solidity of you and your business.
I admit I was surprised when I first learned this, too. After all, so many entrepreneurs focus on delivering their product or service without focusing on building their platform. Whether or not you ever want to be on Oprah, get a six-figure advance, or be written up in the New York Times, your platform is still important… because it represents how well you are sharing your valuable work with the world. And, that, my friend is why you’re in business, isn’t it?
This isn’t about being “famous”; it’s about being well known and respected in your field of expertise. I call this underground celebrity. You know, the kind where nobody “out there” knows who you are, but when you’re around “your people” you feel like a celebrity.
The good news is there are a few simple things you can do to build your platform. Here are my top three ways to get started today:
1. Publish an email newsletter.
Every business owner needs to be growing their list of potential clients and customers. And, the quickest and most inexpensive way to do this is publishing an email newsletter. It can be easy to get started by simply emailing your newsletter to a few friends and family members who give you permission to do so. (Please get their permission, or it’s considered illegal SP^AM.)
To start, decide how often you’re going to publish your newsletter and stick to that schedule, whether you send it to one person or thousands of people. Most Internet marketers suggest a frequency of at least twice per month.
Then, decide what content you’ll put in your newsletter. You could include a personal greeting, article, tip, calendar of your events, recommended resources, or anything else that will serve your audience and be of Value. Do not make your newsletter entirely self-promotional. Your list will grow because of the valuable information you share with your target audience. But, do be sure to showcase your expertise. After all, this is about building your platform and become an “underground celebrity.”
2. Begin public speaking.
I know there are statistics showing most people would rather die than speak in front of an audience. Sorry, but if you want to build your platform fast, you’re going to have to get used to speaking in front of an audience. It’s easier to get more business, when you get out there and showcase your expertise… in public.
The best place to start speaking is at local networking meetings. Check out the calendar of events in your town newspaper and see what “happenings” are going on. Make note of any organizations or groups that list a speaker as part of their meeting agenda. Then, let your fingers do the walking via telephone or keyboard and pitch yourself as a speaker. (Or better yet, delegate this to your assistant.) Just make sure you have your talk title, description, bio and professional picture ready to be emailed prior to calling. Chances are the person you speak to will want to see this information.
Another option is to put this information on your website and send them to that page. Then, once you’re in front of an audience, invite them to “opt-in” to get your Free email newsletter so you can continue building a relationship with them… and eventually let them know about your products and services!
3. Get talked about in the media.
You may be thinking “Oprah” right off the bat. But, hold your horses. You’ve got a much better chance of being featured in your local newspaper than on “Oprah.” So, let’s focus on that. The first thing to keep in mind is local reporters are Looking for newsworthy stories. Your job is to make your message “news.”
The best way to do this is write a press release that pertains to something current in the news and tie it in to your area of expertise. For example, you’re a career expert and you read an article about a layoff in your town. Your press release would address the “news” of the local layoff and you would feature yourself as an expert by offering tips to discover a new career after losing your job. Get the idea? A little creativity will go a long way in tying your expertise to local news stories.
Remember this. When you submit your press release, do your homework. Make sure you are familiar with the publication/show you are pitching and find out Who you should send your press release to, and in what format (email, fax, mail). The media will be happy to know you’re actually familiar with their publication/show.
Lastly, keep a list of all the media exposure you receive as this is part of your platform. Prospect clients often choose to work with people who have a track record of being seen as an expert by the media.
Implementing simple platform building strategies like these will help build your foothold in your market. If you’re just getting started on your business, incorporate these strategies Now so you’ve got an established platform as a foundation for your success. And, if you’re already somewhat established in business, but haven’t built your platform as much as you’d like… it’s never too late to start.