April 6, 2015

How to start building a great Platform for your message

By Paul Laughlin

Hope you’ve had a relaxing Easter holiday and been enjoying the improved Spring weather (at least here in Wales). During this welcome break, I’ve finished reading a very helpful book on use of social media, “Platform” by Michael Hyatt.

I first came across Michael online, as a prolific blogger and social media voice on intentional leadership.

The wider advice he shares on his own blog is worth mentioning here, for the leadership focus of this blog.

Learning how Michael built his platform

At his blog, I recommend starting by reading the most popular posts, which he highlights. They cover a wide range of leadership challenges (from his days as CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing and since as a speaker, author & blogger).

The contents of this book, however, is aimed at everyone wanting to get started in building an effective platform for your message. His subtitle captures that nicely as “get noticed in a noisy world“. This theme might not seem so immediately ‘on message’ with the Customer Insight focus of this blog, however talking with Customer Insight Leaders from large corporates to small agencies, I’m struck how many are still struggling with this media. Both how to effectively measure its marketing impact and just as importantly how to use this media to share key customer insights, it’s obvious that few have had sufficient training or experience.

Well there is no better way to learn than doing it yourself, so it’s been an exciting journey to seek to put “Platform” into practice with both this blog & the wider profile of Laughlin Consultancy.

What you’ll find in this treasure chest

Platform” is a treasure chest of tips, challenges, recommended resources and ideal goals. Michael shares generously from his experience starting out right through to how he now operates as one of the world’s most successful bloggers. While reading through this book it’s important to remember that Michael is a high achiever & driven personality, so I found it helpful to be pragmatic with some of his goals & challenges (especially his enthusiasm for investing in improving so many aspects of your communication). But they are useful challenges none the less and this book does help you ‘cover the bases’.

Part one is all about “Start with Wow“. It’s about ensuring you have something compelling, in which you believe, to communicate. UK readers might not use quite the same hyperbole, but the need to have a clear compelling ‘product’ and memorable naming & presentation are well explained.

Part two takes you through preparing to launch. Covering topics like branding, elevator pitch, support services & photography, it is a helpful checklist. All this book is structured in short digestible chapters with clear takeaways from each one.

Part three is about what Michael calls “Build your Home Base“. That is your blog. As a very experienced blogger he shares a wealth of useful hints and tips on setting up your site, content ideas & management, common mistakes and even intellectual property. Often throughout this book he mentioned specific products or services that he has found useful. even if you don’t go with his recommendations, they are really useful way of getting a head-start on understanding resources available and why you might need them.

Extending your reach with two more parts

Part four is then about expanding your reach, though effective use of social media. Michael focusses on use of Twitter although he does also cover Facebook. This section includes a complete introduction to Twitter basics, why it makes sense as a media and how to get the best out of it from just 30 minutes a day. His experience of social media etiquette and what really works (rather than just grows your unengaged followers) is very useful.

Finally, part five covers engaging “Your Tribe“. This covers comment management (especially on your blog), managing trolls, monitoring your brand and his suggestion to practice the 20-to-1 rule. That rule is the sharing of 20 pieces of useful content with your readers/followers for every 1 piece of promotional marketing to them. It’s a good policy and one that is seen in the volume of useful content offered on his own site.

How are you intentionally building your platform?

Hopefully you find this book useful, do let us know your views if you’ve read it yourself. I believe it’s easier to establish effective social media marketing effectiveness measurement, or use of this media to share key insights, if you are already experienced in this channel.

How are you investing in your understanding & experience of using social media channels?