Should You Use Video to Grow Your Platform?

Video may be the next step in connecting and engaging with an audience

Should You Use Video to Grow Your Platform?With advances in technology, and the power residing on every smartphone, it has never been easier to record a video and start a vlog. A vlog is a video blog. I’m a huge proponent of blogging and in the past tried the audio version of that: podcasting. (See The Power of Podcasting and My Experience With Podcasting.)

Moving a blog to video is the next evolution in communicating with our audience. Some people, such as Michael Hyatt, videotape their podcast sessions so they end up with a two for one deal: a podcast and a video. read more>>

How Building a Platform Almost Ruined My Writing Career

The more I focused on platform building, the less I enjoyed writing. I almost quit.

A few years ago, when I was still looking for an agent, I received some unexpected feedback. The agent liked me and my writing. He thought my book had merit. But despite all that he chose not to represent me. His reason was direct: “You have no platform.” Ouch!

How Building a Platform Almost Ruined My Writing CareerHe didn’t say, “Your platform isn’t big enough,” “We want to see a bigger following,” or even “Your platform is too small.” Each would have been a true statement, and I could have accepted that. But no. He said, “You have no platform.” His words smacked at the core of my being. It’s as if he stuck a knife in my heart and twisted it. read more>>

Avoiding a Spectacular Podcast Crash

Avoiding a Spectacular Podcast CrashTwo weeks ago we talked about the benefits of podcasting to grow an audience for our books. Then we discussed possible downsides of podcasting and how podcasting isn’t right for everyone. Today we’ll look at one more consideration: the crash and burn.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, about ten altogether. Some are monthly, others twice a month or weekly, and a few are more often. Three of them had spectacular fails. As a loyal listener they let me down, and because of the increased connection that a podcast affords over a blog, I felt my disappointment in them more profoundly. read more>>

My Experience With Podcasting

Last week I mentioned four benefits of having an author podcast to build our platform. The reasons are compelling. But before jumping in, we need to consider if podcasting makes sense for us.

My Experience With PodcastingI was an early adopter of podcasting. Though I don’t have the dates, it was shortly after I started blogging, so around 2009 or 2010. Those podcasts are no longer online so I can’t even verify when.

My process was simple. I’d interview people at conventions. I used a digital recorder with a cheap mic, didn’t prep for the interview, and made no edits afterwards. I just posted the raw files. Overall it wasn’t bad – as long as my subjects were extroverts and didn’t clam up in front of a microphone. However the results were far from professional and wouldn’t meet the much higher expectations of people today. read more>>

The Power of Podcasting: Four Reasons to Have an Author Podcast

It seems people are jumping on the podcasting bandwagon. They want to grow their audience and build their platform in order to sell their books (or whatever other product or service they have to offer).

The Power of Podcasting: Four Reasons to Have an Author PodcastThis makes sense. Look at the recent surge of interest in audiobooks, with people who “read” books by listening to a recording. They do this during their commute to and from work, as they exercise, or when they attend to projects around the house. They have become voracious “readers” without ever opening a book or turning on their e-reader. read more

Platform Building Gurus Should Issue a Disclaimer

The production of books is only the first step of book publishing; the second – and more important part – is selling them. To sell books, whether we traditionally publish or self-publish, we need a platform. This is something most authors struggle with.

Fortunately, many people will tell us how to build a viable brand-building, book-promoting, product-selling platform. Most take their personal experience, package it as a formula, and sell it in the form of a book, a class, or personal coaching. They will show us how they grew their Facebooks likes or Twitter followers or Google+ circles to astronomical heights. Others explain how to develop a huge blog following or compile a gigantic email list or generate enviable website traffic. They generally say something to the effect of, “Look what I did in such a short time. If I can do it, so can you!” read more >>

What’s More Important, Your Book or Your Platform?

Most writers, myself included, would prefer just to write. We don’t want to pitch, sell, or market our book or ourselves. Some may not even want to blog, develop a social media following, or build a platform. Yet, the reality is writers need a platform, a vantage from which to gain a following and move books.

Sadly, in most cases, platform is more important than writing. Really.

A person with a great platform and a not so great book is in a better position than a person with an excellent book and a small platform. Really. read more>>

Integrate Blogging With Your Author Platform

As the final post in this series on platform building, we’ll address blogging. Although blogging isn’t right for every author, it is something that warrants serious consideration. After all, you are a writer and you wrote a book, so blogging is a natural extension of what you do: using words to connect with your audience and build a following.

Your blog should be integrated into your website, not a separate, stand-alone effort. (Conversely, you can expand your blog to become a website.) There are two aspects of blogging: the technical part of setting up a blog and the writing part of producing fresh content on a regular basis. read more>>

Six Tips on Using Social Media as Part of Your Platform

We’ve been talking about making your website the center of your book-selling, platform-building tool and not to depend on social media, which could change at any moment and thereby destroy your efforts. That doesn’t mean social media isn’t important, because it is. The point is not to make social media the star but instead, a supporting player.

1) Pick Carefully: Accept that you can’t be on every social media platform, or even the top five. No one has that much time. Pick a couple to focus on, and invest your time there. Choose ones you understand and like, but also look for where your potential readers are. It makes no sense to be active on Pinterest if most of your audience is on LinkedIn. read more>>

Capture Email Addresses

A key to using your website as a book-selling, platform-building tool is to capture email addresses. You will use these email addresses to regularly communicate with your followers, such as through a monthly newsletter. Keep them up-to-date on your writing and share interesting or helpful content. Then, when your book is ready, let them know. They will be more likely to read your email because you have been in regular contact with them.

Offer Them Something: You can just ask for email addresses, but most people won’t share this information without receiving something in return, such as a free e-book or a subscription to your newsletter. read more>>