That was the expression Susan used which stayed with me and shone out glowingly from my notes. She said that one of the things she knew she had achieved in the last six months was that she had grown her platform.
What does that mean?
Well, to Susan it means that she is more visible and more people know about her and what she’s up to and how she can help them. She’s like that yellow tulip in my photo there, we can spot her a mile off.
It also means that some of those people are offering to pay her money. Right now that seems to be for her old idea but no matter, money is money. And that money affords us time to be working on her new idea which we both think is better and over time they’ll be offering her money to do that too. Susan is a very useful person to know when it comes to her skills, that’s why people offer her money. But it doesn’t half help that they can find her, and all that’s down to Susan’s own efforts with this platform thing.
To me growing my platform means a website, a blog, a newsletter, a podcast and being highly engaged via social media. Actually, scratch that. I don’t mean social media. I mean Facebook.
In recent years I’ve started to encourage my clients to go out and pitch directly to the sort of clients they want to be working with. Don’t always wait for business to come to you. That can be slower. Much slower. Too slow. Susan’s doing the pitching thing, she’s brave like that.
And while all of my clients don’t need to do all of these activities and many would shudder at the very thought, the business owner or creative entrepreneur in each of us does need to find a way we love of drawing more people into an awareness of our business or services or burgeoning talent, in order that offers of money will follow. We all want that, right?
This week I talked to a client about making short videos of poems. Strange. I wouldn’t immediately think that video was the medium you’d choose for a poem, not least because I don’t like video. I’d probably think instead of reading a poem myself, or listening to someone else read it to me, perhaps the author. But once I saw a top notch example of that being done on video I was sold. And drawn into the world and platform of the woman reading it, who also wrote it. Actually she didn’t so much read it as perform it. Without moving hardly at all, face to camera. Images behind her and music too, both adding impressively to the power of her spoken poetic word.
The client who showed that to me might say she has struggled to grow her platform using more orthodox routes. But she has found time to write, including some highly-regarded poems. She is a professional writer and she does read her work aloud and she shines when she does that. As soon as she mentioned this concept to me in an email, before I’d even seen the good example, I knew instantly and instinctively that I would love a short high-quality video of a poem. And I knew it would be great for my client’s visibility too and that we could find a way to make it work for her if she wanted.
What are you doing to grow your platform? What do you feel drawn to and what do you know you could never bring yourself to do in a month of Sundays? What are you prepared to do for the sake of your business and your income? I bet we can find a way for you too. Just like the poem video idea, it is really good to observe what’s going on in the world when it comes to profile raising and visibility and just good all-round ideas about stuff. All good ideas can be adapted or may give birth to your own. Ideas food. Ideas sex. Told ya.
I know that there is a unique and personal way for you to grow your platform that you will come to love, as will your audience of ideal clients. Almost everyone resists me at the outset, almost everyone finds their way(s) in time as resistance simply drops away and you realise there are no rules or shoulds. Death to shoulds!
Perhaps the most important thing to realise is that you do not have to do this platform thing (or this business thing) in the ways you see in the world which appal you. Separate yourself from that, unsubscribe from that. Look out instead for the ways you do enjoy and admire and borrow from those, take inspiration from those. Or invent your own.
I’ll help. It’ll be fine. This is going to work.