Many of you may or may not think of yourself as an expert, but it’s to your benefit to build an expert platform. Why do you need it? Well, if you don’t consider yourself as an expert, why should someone else? If you’re an expert, others will be more inclined to read your book or your articles.
The Internet provides many short cuts to building this platform that are new and target a larger audience. Added to off-line techniques, you can “brand” yourself. I’m going to mention some of the things that have worked for me in the past 2-1/2 years.
When I had a TV and Web feature for Time-Warner Cable from 2002 to 2006, I did not have to worry about my platform. My profile, column and TV show were featured daily on a TWC website and 4 to 10 times a week on cable channel. I didn’t have to worry about a platform. Everyone knew me.
Let’s move ahead to 2007. I had been in Phoenix one year and I no longer had a daily web presence, even though I had a website. It did not have new content. Here is how I suggest starting:
• On-line networking sites (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon and other social sites). Keep your social sites focused on business.
o Start with one and a month later add another one.
o Refer to my “Successful with Words” column of on-line bios for making this process easier.
o Learn one site before you move on to the next.
o Spend 15 minutes to 1 hour a day on this, depending on your schedule.
• Write a newspaper or magazine column or an online column.
o Place articles in on-line magazines.
o Make comments on blogs about your topic and sign off with your name and website or blog address.
• Have a web page with a blog (last month’s column featured 12 steps for blogging).
o A blog to which you add posts a minimum of once a week will keep your web page in search engines showing new content. Otherwise, it will be static.
o Be sure your website is well designed and uses key words. People read web-sites like a “Z”. So, the upper left corner is the most important spot, then upper right, lower left and finally the lower right.
• Have your e-mail signature include your website and blog address.
• Secure speaking engagements whenever possible (If you have a book, speaking assignments are the best place to sell your book).
• Be a host on radio shows or TV shows whenever possible.
• Be active in professional organizations (on the Board or a Committee is beneficial).
Many don’t think it is necessary to have an expert platform. They will be left behind, as this online pace keeps moving at a faster pace. I started when marketing/publicity was quite standardized. I’ve had to rebuild and cement my own platform.
You need to be willing to share knowledge. Readers/listeners want to know, “What’s In It For Me,” WIIFM.
The improvement in my book sales, speaking engagements, editing assignments, and earning opportunities has increased. There are many more steps, but this is a start I know works.
Please feel free to ask me questions about any of my suggestions.
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Freelance Lifestyle Journalist
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