A critical first step in becoming a micro maven is developing a robust platform from which to increase your reach, your visibility and your influence.
This is something you’re going to need to get your head around. It’s the not-so-secret secret of building a known and respected microbrand in your niche, whether on a domestic or international level.
It’s also something that was virtually impossible to do even a handful of years ago.
Being able to develop and sustain your own platform is the real game-changer in today’s hyper-connected world, it’s a serious leveler of the metaphoric playing field we call ‘the marketplace’. THIS IS WHY IT’S SUCH AN EXCITING CONCEPT!
What was a platform?
Years ago your platform would have been a stage or a radio show or a newspaper column or a regular spot on a TV program, or a combination thereof.
If you were a singer, it was a recording contract and the subsequent tour and distribution of your music to radio stations and TV music video shows.
If you were an actor, it was the stage plays and movies you performed in that gave you visibility and brought the media to your door-step.
If you were an elite sportsperson, it was the court or field you took to.
If you were an author, it was the mega book deal you signed (and the subsequent printing, distribution, promotion and sales of your book).
If you were a politician, it was a rostrum in the Parliament coupled with the tens or hundreds of press conferences or media ‘door-stops’ you participated in that constituted your platform.
You needed a certain ‘something’ before a gatekeeper would deem you worthy enough for them to put their butt on the line for you.
A singer needed a record company to sign them up; an actor needed a producer to give them the green light; a sports person needed the coach, or a panel of selectors, to pick them for the team; an author needed a publisher to take a punt on their work, while a politician needed thousands of ‘gatekeepers’ – aka the public – to vote them into Parliament in the first place.
Where are YOU in all this?
What chance did you have for making a name for yourself outside of the traditional channels? What hope did you ever have of breaking outside the small bubble that was your industry or immediate area of expertise?
I won’t say “Buckley’s and none” chance because some people obviously have managed to make a name for themselves in their chosen field and then broken into mainstream consciousness thanks to extended media coverage. For example, there are household-name entrepreneurs who have been clever in the way they’ve courted the media and as a result built widespread public recognition for themselves.
For example, in Australia you have Janine Allis, the founder of the chain of Boost Juice outlets; John Symond, who established Aussie Home Loans and made a name for himself by fronting his own TV ads (very expensive); Mark Bouris, who built up (and then sold for a fortune) Wizard Home Loans, ultimately landing a key role in the Australian version of the TV show ‘The Apprentice’.
Overseas, Sir Richard Branson from Virgin fame has nailed it pretty much through media publicity alone (to be fair, he’s done enough things that were sufficiently newsworthy for him to warrant the media attention, but the fact remains – for much of the time he was running a mega-million dollar business empire).
But the above examples are the exception to the rule.
It has always been quite difficult to achieve widespread recognition and influence because somewhere along the line you needed a ‘gatekeeper’ – an individual or committee of people – to give you the imprimatur, to deem you worthy of being involved. Importantly, this has included the media – TV networks, radio stations, newspapers and magazines.
THE BRILLIANT THING IS: Nowadays, however, you can bypass the gatekeeper altogether (media included) and create your own platform from which to build your profile, reputation and influence.
What constitutes a platform today?
Don’t get me wrong, the platform of yesterday still exists and remains powerful.
However, it’s today’s ‘new media’ platform that interests me. It’s the platform you can establish with vigor, enthusiasm and purpose TODAY that has the chance to change your world, and the world of many others, potentially thousands of people on a global scale.
I define platform as a person’s combined and integrated presence across the web – their blog (or podcast or online video series) along with their followings on social networks – plus any regular offline exposure i.e. a regular magazine column. The result of this presence is a growing audience. Think of these elements as the ‘planks’ of your platform. The more planks you have, the stronger and more solid your platform.
One example might be this: You have a blog, a YouTube channel, Facebook brand page and Twitter account. The blog (your content hub) – along with your growing base of readers, YouTube viewers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers i.e. your collective ‘planks’ – make up your platform.
PR Warrior = my cornerstone
By way of illustration, the cornerstone of my platform is the PR Warrior blog from which I develop and share ideas around personal branding, social media and content marketing .
Add into the mix the fact I have solid followings and connections on Twitter and LinkedIn; I also contribute regularly to several online news sites and magazines, including LeadingCompany.com.au and SamaraMagazine.com.au. These elements – anchored by the all-important blog – are planks that collectively form the basis of my platform and from which I spread my message to, and connect with, an audience of thousands.
Thus, if you want to become a micro maven in your chosen field – if you want to extend your reach beyond just your immediate network of friends, family, colleagues and peers – then you need a robust platform from which to:
- get noticed,
- amplify your message,
- spread your ideas,
- express your opinions …
…and ultimately, to create media interest, attract business opportunities and generate sales.
Take action today!
Develop that blog – kick-start that video web show or podcast series you’ve been talking about for zonks! Integrate your social networking channels and start actively participating, and pretty soon you will start developing a reputation as an authority whom the marketplace recognizes, trusts and respects.
With your platform firmly in place, you’ll be more than ready to tackle part two of the micro maven equation: BUILDING YOUR (PERSONAL) BRAND.
* * * * * * *TREVOR YOUNG specialises in PR, social media, content marketing and personal branding strategies. He speaks professionally and is the author of the book ‘microDOMINATION: How to Leverage Social Media & Content Marketing to Build a Mini-Business Empire Around Your Personal Brand’.
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