How to Build Your Personal Platform

A platform is an established audience for your ideas and products. It’s where you build your brand and credibility; promote your products; and engage with your followers. Think of it as your personal channel where you can create content, build a community and monetize your audience. If you have a platform, you more or less have a way to print money.

Celebrities have their own platform. They (or their representatives) build a strong social media presence and from that they can promote future product launches, fashion labels, their latest perfume and so on. Another way to look at building a platform is to have access to the attention of your target market. Powerful stuff indeed.

Start building your platform

Here are the building blocks of any personal platform:

  1. Core values. The message you spread has to be founded on core values that have to be reflected in each piece of content you produce. Honesty, consistency and transparency are good places to start forming your core values, because trust is the most important non-monetary asset your business can have. Core values are also the way to stay visible, recognisable in the vast sea of content creators, and unique.
  2. Personal brand. Your personal brand encompasses your core values. A personal brand is what you want to be known for, what you want others to think when they hear your name. It comprises (but is not limited to) your personality; your attitude; the way you speak; your energy-level; your logo and slogan; your unique voice and personal mission statement. Your personal brand includes any intangible that sets you apart from the crowd. It’s interwoven throughout your platform and is an integral part of it.
  3. Website. It goes without saying that every content creator should have a website, and if you’re marketing yourself as an expert, your website and your personal brand should reflect that. Whilst you don’t need to spend a fortune on a website we do recommend you pay to have a professional-looking site. If you’re on a tight budget, we suggest looking for a WordPress template on Themeforest and paying a freelancer on Upwork to install/modify it for you. You can have a great website for less than $300. Alternatively, you can install WordPress yourself, buy a theme, and be up-and-running for about $60.
  4. High-value content. Great content – content that helps your target audience solve problems and achieve positive results – is the foundation of your personal platform. You most likely have a preferred content format, e.g. text, but many of today’s high-profile experts have expanded into the world of video, e.g. YouTube channels, video courses; and audio, e.g. launching their own podcasts. Video and audio allow you to produce large amounts of content in a small amount of time and we encourage you to explore at least one of these formats. Whichever you choose, be sure to produce high quality content; remember, your content is a reflection of your core values and personal brand.
  5. Network. An effective way to network is to do something to help the other person. It could be writing a guest post; participating in their online community to help other members; producing an infographic related to one of their posts; converting their post to a slideshow to put on Slideshare or some other way to produce content and value for them without asking for or expecting anything in return. You may have to do this 2-3 times to get on the radar of the other person. If you can help them help their audience, you will catch their attention and can slowly grow your network from there. Another powerful method is to interview the guest for your website, to help them extend their reach and raise their market profile. (You will most likely need some established presence to land interviewees but the more people you interview, the bigger your audience becomes (through leveraging your guests’ audiences), the easier it becomes to get higher-profile guests to appear).
  6. Social media activity. If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy in place, here is a simple way to get started. Social media is an excellent starting point for broadcasting your message and growing your audience but don’t feel you need to dedicate hours of your work day to building an online presence. We suggest focusing on 1-2 platforms and becoming good at those first. (In fact, you may find it unnecessary to go above two).
  7. A personal mission statement. Too many experts try to imitate big-name celebrities in their space. This is a futile exercise and it ignores one of your greatest assets: your uniqueness. Your uniqueness is a business asset and in an overcrowded world of experts (many of whom are operating in the same industry as you), your individuality is a powerful and valuable way to stand out from the crowd. It’s something you should embrace and nurture. Stay true to yourself. We’re all on a different journey.
         Create high-value content and concentrate on serving your target audience to the best of your ability. Ensure your personal brand and core values are evident in everything you do. That is a sure way to be heard and to start building your platform.

Takeaway points

  1. Identify your core values and mission statement. Stay true to them every time you create content and engage with others.
  2. Reach out to others. Build a network with guest posts, conducting interviews and helping influencers help their audience.
  3. Be yourself! Value your uniqueness and make it part of your business.

Action steps

  1. Write down your personal mission and core values. What do you want to be known for? What do you want others to think when they hear your name? This will influence everything you do in your business: the content you create; the audience you’re targeting; the people you want to work with; your business growth and success strategy.
  2. Write down 50 content ideas that will truly help your target audience. This is your work schedule for the next year or so. If you’re using video, you can produce this content at a much faster rate. Why 50? It’s confirmation that your topic is big enough to make a good income from. If you’re struggling to think of 50 ideas, your subject may be too narrow.
  3. Is there a book in you? Writing a book is a great first-step to building your personal brand and staking your place in the world of experts.

Photo credit: Innisfree Hotels via / CC BY-NC 2.0

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