Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Build a Platform

a place or opportunity for public discussion

Platform is one of those terms in publishing that we spend a lot of time talking about, but many people don’t get. Some people hate the term because they know it is something they are expected to have, but they don’t know how to get it. Others spend a lot of time doing all the things they think they need to do to build a platform (blogging, etc.), but they don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Instead of thinking of platform in terms of having a blog, being on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else, ask yourself what it would take to get people to notice you and listen to your message. A few years ago, there were some guys going around putting signs on bridges in a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote an animated television show. It created a bomb scare and far more people heard about the show than the number of people who saw the signs in person.

Doing something illegal may get you noticed, but I don’t recommend it. Still, the concept is valid. Do something that no one else is doing and people will pay attention. If you can hold their attention long enough, you can build a platform. Blogs and Facebook and Twitter may be tools you can use to communicate with the people whose attention you grab, but they are not the way to get their attention. Everyone and his brother is blogging or on Facebook and Twitter. They may become the “place for public discussion” but they are not the “opportunity for public discussion.” To create the opportunity, you have to do something that no one else is doing.