Your platform is how you sell books.
Here are three important components that make up a platform. They are your Authority, Network, and Influence.
Let’s break that down a bit.
Authority (or story) is why people should listen to you. The question you must answer here is, “Why should people care about what you have to say?”. Maybe you’re a researcher and you have spent years studying human behavior, or you consult with organizations and have years of experience under your belt. This often includes your experience, but maybe you’re launching something new. If that’s the case, you highlight what makes you different, then seek to grow your legitimacy by building relationships with other influencers in your specific space. Keep in mind that at the core of this, it’s WHY others should listen to you. When Dave Ramsey (see DaveRamsey.com) started, he was a guy who had gone bankrupt, crawled out of that, and desperately wanted to help people establish long-term financial stability, but what he started with was a story.
What is your story? Why should people listen to you?
Network is the amount of people you can mobilize. This would include your social media followers, email subscribers, friends, family and colleagues. The size of your network enables your message to spread faster and more broadly, which is why this is one key metric. But keep in mind that quality matters too. Maybe your network is small, but consists of friends that are influential.
Who do you know who can help you grow your network?
Influence is the pull you have with others. The more you grow your fans and followers in a meaningful way, the more influence you have. Consider for a moment Michael Hyatt, who has over 615,597 subscribers to his newsletter. Michael’s influence has value because others want his help becoming more influential. This allows him to diversify the types of things he does with his portfolio to include affiliations with others. When your network and influence reach a certain size, your platform becomes a powerful tool, not only for you, but for those whose careers you want to support.
What is your relationship with your network like?
So, where do you start?
If you’re currently at ground zero, remember, you have to start somewhere. Fear says, “You’ll never be able to do it. And even if you do, it will end in failure.” Don’t be overwhelmed and discouraged by fear. Think about these three terms and how they apply to you, and start picturing the platform you want to build.
Let me leave you with this. What would your life look like if you could build a platform that supports your entire career; a platform that allows you to build your business and change your future? This is an adventure, so treat it like one, and share it with others.
How are you sharing your adventure with your followers?
Joseph Hinson is the president and owner of Out:think Group, a firm that helps authors build their platforms, connect with readers and sell more books.
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