A platform is the thing you have to stand on to get heard, according to Michael Hyatt in his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Today’s platform is built of people, contacts, connections and followers. It might include a company website, a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts, an online video show, a podcast, personal appearances as a public speaker or performer, a newspaper column, magazine articles and a radio show.
The problem with all this is that, while some people crave the limelight, many others do not feel comfortable putting themselves forward. They would prefer to lead an obscure life and let the quality of their work speak for itself. Unfortunately, however, good work does not stand on its own anymore. To be successful in today’s environment you need to have not only a compelling product but also a significant platform.
The book goes on to describe how to create a compelling product which exceeds market expectations. Your product needs to have a memorable name and an attractive style. You need to accept personal responsibility for launching your product; this is not something you can delegate to others; and you need to secure endorsements and develop an online media kit.
Most of the author’s advice relates to starting, developing and expanding a blog. Is blogging the major way to build a platform today? I can certainly see how it has worked for the author, but most people do not have the same level of writing skills. Further, only a minority of people spend much time reading blogs, so a blog-heavy approach to platform development limits the potential audience size. Notwithstanding these issues, the book very helpfully and clearly describes an achievable way of getting noticed amongst the many competing messages on the Internet.