To become a successful author today, you need to have a platform.
What does that actually mean?
I find this equation helpful:
You have a platform when you have permission from someone to deliver a promised outcome.
I have been successful building a platform of more than 40,000 email subscribers as a nonfiction author. As I plan to launch a new platform in the fiction space, it has me thinking about what a platform really is in its most basic form.
There must be two aspects of every platform: Content Platform and Communication Platform.
The Content Platform
Your Content Platform is the archive where people can go to experience your art.
The Content Platform enables people to search, scan, and share your work.
A personal website and a blog is a Content Platform and so is Medium.com, YouTube, a podcast, your library on Amazon.com, and to some extent Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can search and scan an archive of content on these platforms. Google provides an ideal place to find the content on these platforms.
The Content Platform is where you deliver on a promise. You post your art and provide a transformation for someone.
Until you have permission to send this art to someone, however, you platform is incomplete. You also need a Communication Platform.
The Communication Platform
Your Communication Platform is the way you communicate with your fans, followers, readers, etc.
The Communication Platform enables people to subscribe and share your work.
An email list continues to be the best Communication Platform. Social networks that allow someone to follow or subscribe to your updates also enable you to get permission to communicate: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Years ago RSS was a great way for bloggers to communicate with their readers, but today there has to be a second layer of communication outside of a blog.
I’m a big fan of simplifying our lives as authors and entrepreneurs. Rather than trying to get permission on a wide range of Communication Platforms and spreading content out on various Content Platforms, pick the one medium that will work best and dedicate all your energy towards it.
At TheReligionTeacher.com my Content Platform is my website/blog, which is discovered through search engines like Google and Pinterest. My primary Communication Platform is my email list.
With my new fiction platform, I intend to focus on email as my Communication Platform, but I haven’t figured out the best Content Platform. Amazon.com will eventually be the place to find my books and stories, but is there an ideal Content Platform for shorter works of fiction? I’m leaning towards a simple website/blog rather than outsourcing to another site like Medium.com, but we will see.