Archive for September, 2009

How to Extend Your Platform

September 22, 2009

[The following post is rewritten from the blog of Chris Brogan, social media consultant and author of Trust Agents (John Wiley & Sons). Used with permission.]

Today I’m presenting at the Writer’s Digest conference. This is a bit of a dream, because from the moment I thought I was a “serious writer,” Writer’s Digest products were my guides to what I thought I’d have to do to succeed. Now they’ve asked me in to show people the crazy hazy edge. Today they want to know about the book as platform and seeding your future.

I’m going to start with a great quote from Bob Stein, from the O’Reilly Tools of Change event. He defined a book as such: “A book is a user-driven media where readers and sometimes authors congregate.” Do you love that? Is that crazy? I love it.

I extended myself into a platform. People try to ask about this at events, but because they don’t exactly know or see the edges, they don’t ask the question the way I’m framing it for you now. What do I mean? What’s it mean to be a platform?

I am me. I make media. I push the media onto this blog (at the time of this writing), 30,000 or so folks get this via a subscription, and over a month I’ll have 250,000 unique visitors. I have this linked to my Facebook, so another 4750 people get this. If I tweet the link, just short of 100,000 more people get this. I speak at dozens of events a year.

That means my ideas spread pretty darned far. Not TV show far, but not bad, eh?

You can do the same thing. That’s really what I’m going to say to people. I’m going to talk about HOW I set it up, how I built the network, what I did to nurture it, and how I use it to help other people, and finally, what that does to help me.

Do you know how? You’ve been here awhile now, right?

I started by connecting with people in one place and making relationships. I invited those people to my other platforms. I explored their interests. I learned what mattered to them and tried to fuel it. I moved into new platforms. I went everywhere that information could spread easily. I went nowhere that information was penned in. I connected with as many connectors as I could. I put my ideas into forms that other people could take them and run. I reinforced and encouraged others. I thanked others. I asked for very little in return for everything that I gave.

I co-wrote an entire book on how to make information and value move through systems, that most people buy because they they think it’ll teach them the secrets of social media. The secret is that these tools let us build better relationships. That’s it.

That’s platform, friends. You’re great alone, but you’re everything once you figure out platform thinking and how to equip and empower value transactions.

Make sense? What am I missing in my descriptions? What do you want to ask, given what you see above? What would you add, my brilliant friends?