In today’s episode of Feed Your Brand, Tom and Tracy Hazzard talk about the power of a platform. They first explain what a platform is, and what are the main ones that you should start with. They then explain how exactly does a platform help your core business and how you can handle building a platform as you’re just starting your business.
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The Power of a Platform
Today, we’re going to talk about the power of a platform, how to build a power platform for your business. It’s the question we get all the time, it’s like people hear this term, “You need a platform. You need a platform to sell a book. You need a platform to speak from.” What’s a platform? I really want to define it. Everybody asks us, “What does having a platform really mean?” Because you hear it a lot from marketing agents and PR firms. If you’re trying to go and speak on stages, they’ll ask you what your platform looks like. Really I think that’s a great analogy for a platform right there Tracy that we can talk about.
Visualize it for yourself. A platform is your stage that you stand on. It’s your event room and your stage. The bigger the platform, the taller the platform you have, the bigger it all is, the bigger your audience will be because you have to be up high to have a giant audience of thousands. You want to build a really great stage. It’s the basis, it’s the underlying, it’s the strength of your marketing of your business, of your marketing of your brand. That’s a key thing. It’s the stage foundation of it. You want it to have the ability to grow taller. It got to have stuff that feeds it, which is what we talk about a lot here. It’s feeding it to grow it taller over time, so that you get a bigger stage and you grow in that process.
The three major components of a good platform are your website, which is absolutely fundamental and core because Google has such power today. Your website and all the Google traffic that it receives is of extreme power. You got to have a website. You also need social. You got to have social profiles. I’m really careful and I’m not a fan of spreading out onto every social media profile possible. You should, for some respects. We have a Twitter page but we don’t really care as much about Twitter except to say we’re still in business. That’s how we use it. We’re posting to say, “We’re here,” but it’s not an active promotional portion of what we do. You want to build the social profiles that match your audience best.
I’d like to talk about that for a second before we go on to number three, which is your social media platforms and which ones you focus on. Doing two social media platforms is probably enough for most people, maybe three at the most. We did engage in Twitter a long time ago. We did them all and we had to do that I think for our areas of expertise to see what was going to be most effective for us.
But what we’re talking about here is those of you who are brand building. You’re building your new brand, you’re rebranding into something new. You’re building this platform from the ground up. When you’re doing that, spreading yourself that thin is very, very difficult and it makes it less effective. My thought and the process we use with our clients is to make sure to go in and hit the ones that are going to have the most effect possible. Try to set anyone else that you feel like you have to have a presence on on autopilot and then build up. Once you’ve got two established, then add a third and a fourth and whatever you feel that you can handle as you grow and are already getting bigger.
Let’s talk about the third component of this overall platform. You’ve got web, social and I’m going to call it influencing network. You can call it influencers or you can call it connections, affiliates. You can call it whatever, but we’re going to call it your influencing network. People who are going to, by association with you, share their audience with you. They might be guests on your podcast if you have a podcast. They might be products you feature and review in YouTube, because people do a lot of unboxing and YouTube videos. Now, you’ve got an association with Xbox or whatever that might be, if that’s where you’re unboxing games or whatever that might be. It might be other power players in your market, it might be your own network, your own affiliates or joint venture partners. It could be all of those things.
Whatever that is, those three things are what is going to grow your platform the fastest and grow it consistently and make it even. Because this is really important, we want a strong foundation. If you’re missing any one of those components, your platform is imbalanced. That’s often what people ask us is, “What do we need to have first? Do we need to have my social media setup first? Do we need to have my website setup first? Do we need to have a videocast or a podcast first?” The reality is you really need to be engaging in all those areas. You need to build up that foundation all at the same time if you can.
Here’s what we recommend and here’s what we do. We do it in 3 to 30 days for our clients because it depends on how fast they need to have it done or how it works. But if you’ve got a book to sell, you got to have a stage to stand on. You got to have a platform to sell it from. If you’re in that process, you’ve already done your book, we get this all the time when we go to events, authors. They’re like, “I’ve got this book, but it’s not selling at all. Why isn’t it selling?” Because you didn’t build a platform underneath it. You didn’t have a website to send them to, your social platforms have no fans and followers yet. You didn’t find influencers to help share your book for you. You’re not creating any small pieces of content to put out there to help promote your book. You just have the book. You think, “Putting the book out there means everyone’s going to come.”
What we do is we say, “You’ve got this platform under it, now you have to have consistent and constant content that’s being done from above, from standing on that stage, because you’re always sending everyone back to those core things. You’re actually sending them back, we recommend to the website as the core. Social too, but website as the core. Then you also have your promotion. A lot of people who buy book programs buy the publicity program, but it’s less effective if you have no platform underneath you. That’s really where we want everyone to say, “This is the power of a platform. This platform development is the number one thing you should do before you buy any other program.”
I’d like to talk about those authors for a second. People are like, “I have a book. It’s out there. It’s on Amazon,” but they don’t have a website. If you’re just sending people to Amazon who you get in touch with, or any of your PRs are sending people to Amazon, that’s great. They may find your book and they may buy it if they like it. But you’re giving all that web traffic to Amazon when you could be sending everyone to your platform, to your domain, to your website or your podcast or videocast or whatever it is, your blog. Then from there, sending them to Amazon.
I want to touch on YouTube for a second here because that’s really an important thing. I don’t really include YouTube in the social profiles realm. There’s a reason for that. We do set up YouTube channels. It’s a part of what we setup in the social profiles, it’s what you’re going to do. But unless you are a serious YouTuber and you are going to spend tons of time making yourself searchable and found and get your videos seen on YouTube. It’s a lot of effort that we don’t use YouTube like that and we don’t recommend that for anyone new starting up a platform, starting up a new YouTube channel.
We instead recommend that you post your videos up on YouTube, you even take your livestreams off of Facebook and put the recordings up on YouTube as well, but you embed them in your website and you send your traffic to the website, not to YouTube. Because here’s what happened to a lot of YouTubers, a lot of YouTubers had the YouTube slap, just like a Google slap, which we talked about in a previous episode. A slap is when an algorithm changes or a policy change happens and you lose traffic or you lose money, or you lose ranking, which results in the loss of traffic and money.
It happens on Amazon as well and book rankings, you can also lose your traffic that way too. You can get an Amazon slap. It happens all over the place. What we really want to be careful is if that’s happening and you have your audience coming through your website, you’re not going to notice it. Your traffic is staying the same. Your web traffic, your friends, followers, all of things are a part of your mail list possibly or at least a part of your RSS feeds. They’re finding you, they’re seeing what you’re posting every single day. They’re getting notifications on it. You didn’t lose them, you didn’t lose connection to them and you didn’t deliver the value from them to YouTube, to Facebook, to Google. You left the value with you.
That’s really the power of a platform and why this platform is so critically important, is because at the end of the day when the platform gets big enough, it’s how you monetize, it’s where the value is, it’s where the money will eventually come. With all of the original content that is on your platform, that is the real value, the reality is you will not be affected by a change in YouTube’s search criteria or how things rank on YouTube, it won’t matter. Really, Google is the most important one to be ranking on in your website and everything in your platform will rank on Google. The reality is the original content is what they value the most. If you’re creating original content and making that available on your platform consistently and constantly, any of the changes that happen in how they rank content or index keywords are still going to benefit you.
But if you’re gaming the system to get your Facebook post up there to get the most likes possible or getting your YouTube video monetized with ads on their platform from people searching on certain keywords on YouTube, they change it within that environment, and it happens from time to time. You’re not in as much control over what happens on their platform as you are on what happens on your platform.
Here’s the thing, some of you are just starting out and you’re building your brand from scratch or you’re rebranding, building a new brand. You’ve decided it’s time, you’re rebranding, you’re spinning it off or you’re focusing on a specific area and you’re building that. You’re starting from scratch there. What is the most critical thing to start from? That’s what we say, building this platform first, get it all in line, get it all in order and get it done as fast as possible.
Getting the best website and the best social profile, and all of that is not as critically important as having one that is very specifically targeted to the brand message you have. You want a consistent message across all of that platform, “I’m about this. I’m attracting you because I’m about this and I’m going to solve your problems here.” It’s about what you can do for someone. A brand, we talked about this earlier in a previous episode, that a brand is about how people perceive you, not how you present yourself. I wish it was about how you present yourself so you could control your brand, but you just can’t. It’s about how they see your brand.
That’s really important for you to test out and make sure that what you want to put out there is how they’re perceiving you. The fastest and least money you spend doing that is the best way to go right now because you’re new, you’re starting, you’re market testing it. That’s critically important in this process. Later on, you can build the best whiz bang website out there. You can trick out your LinkedIn page. There’s experts out there who do great jobs there, but why waste money when you aren’t really sure if your message is resonating yet? Let’s make sure that platform is what you want it to be, let’s get it out there, let’s get it out there quickly and inexpensively. Quick is the key.
Even as your website is being built by someone else, because most likely you’ll have someone else do it, you should be creating content for your website, which we’ll talk about how to do that in upcoming episodes. Let’s talk about you guys out there with the whiz bang website that you spend a ton of money on and you’re already out there. Here’s the biggest problem we see when we evaluate people’s platforms when they come in and look at doing business with us.
We look at that, we go, you have all this content out there and it’s wasted. You have a book. You have a all these YouTube videos. You have all these old Periscope videos that might happen there. You have Facebook fans. You have all this stuff and you’re not mining it, you’re not repurposing it, you’re not utilizing it, you’re not pushing out the content on a consistent and constant basis. You’re not driving Google traffic to you. You’ve built this wonderful website and maybe you paid money for some SEO keyword tricks, which a lot of people have in the past, none of them are working at the pace at which great content development is.
The content is key no matter how fancy your website is or how simple your website is. You don’t need to have a sophisticated, expensive, high end hard coded website that’s not on WordPress or whatever. Please have a WordPress one. It’s super simple. It’s so easy to use. You do not have to have an expensive, complicated website to rank at the highest level in Google search. There are lots of aspects to it, but it’s mostly about the original content and the regular pace as to which new content is added to your site. We’re talking primarily about blogs here.
Costs of these things, I just want to address this. If you’re starting out and you’re looking at paying more than $5000 for a website, and I think that’s even high. You’re just starting out, you’re not an established business with a revenue stream. You want a shopping pages and you’ve got a bunch of other things. That’s a different world. But if you’re just starting with this as service oriented brand, coach, an expert, author, that kind of thing and honestly you’re paying more than $5000, you are way overpaying for the quality of website you need just to start. You can pay more over time, and I highly recommend you pay more over time, with great website management and other things like that.
We have our friends at Dot Com that we absolutely adore because they do great website management. I’d rather you spend more money in the management side of it and the growth side of that website and start simpler on the website end. Less complicated pages to your website, a three page website is plenty. All of that is really good. We’re going to have a future episode all about website. We’ll have Sam from Dot Com on. One of my favorite people to work with because he just has such a good view on that a website must make money. It should make you money. It should bring you traffic, which is making you money in your core business. It’s not about making money on ads on your website. Some sites are for that, but that’s not the purpose here. You can absolutely do that when you have a lot of traffic. Probably, there’s no reason not to do that unless your audience has some aversion to ads like that for some reason. But that’s not just the first place.
If you’ve got an established company though, I think it’s really worth an evaluation of your website and other things as to its value. Are you adding content consistently? Are people coming to your site? Are you doing that? I’ve seen sites where they spend $10,000, $15,000 on a website and they don’t have no traffic coming into it. Because they’re not adding content consistent to drive traffic there. It’s just a very expensive business card. Honestly, that’s really not the point. You can have an under $2000 website. Heck, if you just need it as a business card, you could create that yourself in WordPress and they would probably be fine. You can hire WordPress to create that for you for $500 or something like that.
It’s not an expensive proposition for what we’re talking about here, it is though a valuable proposition for you. The power of a platform, platform building, it’s a power business opportunity for you, power building. You want a powerful platform. There’s over 1.2 billion websites out there on the internet right now and growing every day. You can Google that and you can see the count ticking up daily. Maybe by the time you listen to this podcast, it’s 1.3 or 1.4 billion. That’s a lot of websites. It’s not about having the website, it’s how’s that website going to stand out. How is it going to help you in your business? How are you going to rise above the crowd in your niche? Guess what, you absolutely can do it, but it comes down content, content, content. Seriously.
The Feed Your Brand, that’s what we’re really all about here. We’re going to dive into more of those Feed Your Brand, the feeding side of things, what makes good content and all of those things in future episodes. But we wanted to give you some foundational things to think about because if you don’t have those, great content isn’t going to help you if you don’t have a website to post it up on or if you don’t have a social platform that’s worth anything. We’re really going to dive into a few foundational things just to make sure you’ve got the basics here and understand the concept of a power platform. That’s our goal and making sure that you’re feeding that and that platform is growing and being useful for you.
We also want to talk, and we’re going to mix in a couple of our pro tips, these are some serious pro tips. We want to mix some of those in. Our next episode is really about that. It’s about one of my favorite things that we developed. We call it ego bait. You don’t want to miss that, especially if you’re already building content and all of this. This is a great follow up tip and tool and way that we use it. We’ll talk about that in the next episode. We really want you to join us for that. If you’d like to understand more about platforms and/or if you would like to see any images or any other things, links to things that we talked about in this episode, you can do that on BrandcastingYou.com or FeedYourBrand.co. You can also find us on social media @FeedYourBrand.
Thanks for listening, everybody. We’ll be back next time for ego bait. This has been Tom and Tracy on the Feed Your Brand Podcast.