Who Needs a Platform?
I was talking with a friend about a new consulting firm being built by a small group of professionals. I learned that, in creating their business model, they made a decision: a prerequisite to being a partner in the firm is that each individual must be building and maintaining a solid platform. The method is up to the individual: writing books and/or blogs, speaking to large groups, interacting with the public via social media or traditional media.
It’s an acknowledgment that each primary member of the firm has the responsibility to:
1. Personally be proactive in reaching out to people who might potentially become their clients; and
2. Personally take part in increasing the company’s public visibility and reputation.
Isn’t this the job of somebody in the marketing department? Don’t businesses hire advertising agencies and PR firms for this sort of thing?
Yes, and yes.
But this start-up business is intelligently recognizing that marketing and PR can no longer be left to “someone else.” Sure, someone else might be hired to do their part. But it starts with the people to whom the business is most important: the owners and originators of the company.
As a writer, you are the owner and originator of your company. When we ask writers to have a platform, and we talk about your responsibility in helping to reach your target audience, we are not asking anything of you that’s not also being asked of people in many kinds of business these days.
Yes, your publisher bears responsibility for marketing and for finding an audience for the books they publish. They need to do their part, and you need to do yours.
I know it seems like a lot to ask. Frankly, it’s overwhelming for most people. Speaking as a business person responsible for maintaining my own platform, I can relate to how hard it is! But this is the way of the world right now. I shared this anecdote about my friend’s company in hopes that it would give you some perspective.
Yes, a lot is being asked of you. But you’re not alone. It’s not just some unfair requirement made up by publishers. People in all kinds of other businesses are facing the same kinds of expectations.
Who needs a platform? Almost everyone, these days.
Does it help to put it in this perspective? What are your thoughts on platform building?