Pick a Platform Personality
Pick your platform personality. This is, if your world view is your message, this is your voice. This is the way that you proclaim the source, still talking about kind of the craft of writing, how to clarify our message and figure out what we wanna say, and then the following steps are more about what to do with that message, so who here has heard the term platform before? Right, everybody, okay, you gotta build a platform, you gotta build a platform. This really annoyed me when I started writing. I was like, platform, but I just wanna write. Why do I need a platform? And I didn't, as I mentioned earlier, I didn't really understand why I needed the platform. I thought it was about me, not a vehicle to help me impact other people. So to be very clear, all a platform is is it is a place where you share your writing, where you can stay in touch with your readers. Okay, so it's not a piece of technology. It's not a physical thing. It is a means to an end and that end is connection with you...
r readers. Now I'll share some technical tips on ways to do this right now, today, with the technology that we have, but the good news is that you don't have to necessarily do it, like one way, and when I had this sort of knee-jerk reaction to you gotta build a platform, it was because I felt like there was one way to do it, and I had to write these seven steps to a better life kind of blog post. Nobody, nothing against anybody who does that, but it just, I didn't want to be pigeonholed, right? And the good news is that there is more than one way to build a platform. If you're going, "I wanna do this my way. "I don't wanna do it so and so's way." I have a unique message. Really good news. You can do that. Now, the other good news is there's not a million ways to do it. There are basically five ways to build a platform today. Very effective ways to do it. So on one hand, you don't have to be pigeonholed into one thing. On the other hand, this is really a personality test where you find the thing that best describes you and you go, "Okay, I'm gonna do that "cause that's proven." You could try to go off and do it your own way, but you could have mixed results, and these are five proven ways to build a platform today, through a variety of ways of doing this, different genres, different topics, (mumbles). The first way is the journalist, is the first platform personality. Now this is a person who builds his platform by asking really good questions. This is what journalists do. You don't actually have to be a journalist, by the way, sometimes you will go, "Why?" I'm a reporter and I studied journalism in college. I worked for the New York Times, but this is a personality type. And you ask questions. The only requisite for this is you have to be naturally curious. You have to want to know why. Why did this happen? And you wanna know people's stories. Example of this is a blogger by the name of Darren Rowse. Darren started a blog years ago. One of the kind of oldest remaining bloggers on the Internet, and he started a blog called ProBlogger.net. Now here's what was interesting about Darren. He's an author, speaker, and has a huge blog. A couple of blogs, actually. And he started not because he was an expert. He did not start blogging 'cause he knew how to be a professional blogger. He started with a question. ProBlogger.net, right? Can I do this for a living? Can I actually make money blogging? He didn't know the answer, and so what did he do? He started interviewing people. He started asking questions, and then sharing the answers. This is what a journalist does. Who else does this? Well, Oprah does it. This works in a lot of contexts. You ask really good questions, of really smart people, and you share what you learn, over and over and over again, and if you talk to celebrities and famous people and influencers in certain industries, what's going to happen? The people that follow those people are going to start following you. And it's this weird sort of psychological phenomenon. If I'm paying attention to Chris, and Chris is standing next to somebody really famous that I know, and he's asking that person questions, I'm like, "Well, they must be friends. "They must know each other," and if he does this over and over and over again, I start to transfer in my mind, subconsciously, I start to transfer the influence that that, those people have in my mind to Chris, and he starts to become an influencer, and this happens a lot with podcasters today. It happens with blogs, it happens with TV shows. This is a great way to build influence. If you're not an expert. You're kind of uncomfortable with positioning yourself as a know-it-all. And you just have questions. You can build a platform simply asking good questions. The second platform personality is what I call the prophet. This is a person who just tells it like it is. She builds her platform by telling the dirty, ugly, nasty truth about everything and anything, and even about themselves. And the only requisite for this is you have to be a little bit dissatisfied with the status quo. Great example, this probably the best example of this is a guy named Seth Godin. Seth is one of the most popular bloggers on the Internet. You Google the word seth, his blog comes up number one. He's written over 18 bestsellers, and every single book, every single blog post, he blogs every day, he's been doing it for practically 20 years, everything is a fight, and it's, he's not being controversial, but he's saying this is broken, but we can fix it, and this is the message of the prophet. It is calling people to a higher standard, a greater ideal, and it's calling stuff out that is broken in the world, and this is kind of the platform personality that I identify with. You don't necessarily need data and statistics and all, you just go hey, this is the way it works. It's right or it's wrong, and the warning here is you're not always going to be popular. Now you can build an audience doing this, but you're not gonna be popular with everyone. Seth told me one time when he wrote a book called Permission Marketing, which was basically, hey, you shouldn't spam people before spam was illegal, and he was, they threatened to kick him out of the Direct Marketers Association because this was scary. This was how they were making a living, was buying email lists, spamming people to get them to buy stuff and making money off of it, so it's like, that's not a good thing, that we're doing. This isn't treating people with care and kindness, and so, that, as nice of a message as it was in that context was very controversial, so you have to be okay with not always being liked, 'cause you're gonna say stuff that people disagree with. The third platform personality is the artist. This is a person who builds his platform by, obviously, creating art. The only requisite for this is you've gotta have an eye for beauty. You need to notice things that other people might be missing. You need to be able to, and you could create poetry, you could be creating photographs, your business could be an art form, but the point of it is, the thing, the message that you're sharing, the stuff that you're creating, is meant to allow people to see things that they would otherwise miss. Caroline mentioned her favorite author is a woman named Ann Voskamp. She's a great example of an artist. For those of you not familiar with Ann, she is a New York Times bestselling author. She's written a few books, and her first book, One Thousand Gifts, was on the New York Times list for a year, 52 weeks straight, and her style of writing, she's a blogger as well, her style of writing is prose poetry, non-fiction essays. Like memoir, but it's very, very poetic, to the point that you might even call it fluffy. And if you don't like that writing, if you want somebody to get down to the point of it, you're probably not gonna like Ann's writing, and that's okay. She has millions of readers. She's okay with reaching the people that she needs to reach. I remember reading an essay of Ann's once, and she wad describing a bubble, like she's washing the dishes, and she was describing a bubble for pages (mumbles), and it's beautiful, but we're not getting to the point quickly. The point is the bubble, and I mean, and that's great. That's what artists do. They wow us with their insights, and they help us see beauty in the world that we would otherwise miss, and so that's the artist. Okay, the fourth platform personality is what I call the professor. This is somebody who builds a platform on the facts, so you are an expert, at least in the sense that you've done your homework. These people are obsessed with data. They wanna get it right, know how everything works, and the only requisite for this is you've gotta have a thirst for knowledge. You can't hate reading, and I'm a professor. If you're in college and (mumbles) you're like, "Yeah, I don't really read. "That's for other people." You wouldn't trust them. You've gotta love learning, and so, the only requisite for this is you gotta have a thirst for knowledge. You've gotta want to learn constantly, and then also be willing to share what you're learning. Great example of this is my friend, Michael Hyatt. Very successful blogger. He's that authorpreneur that we talked about earlier. And he also is a thought leader in his own right, but he's got an online business, he writes bestselling books, he speaks and teaches, and what he does day in, day out, every time he publishes a blog post on MichaelHyatt.com or publishes a new podcast for his podcast, it is the same thing, which is here is a problem that people are struggling with, and it feels complex, and I am going to solve this problem with easy to follow systems and process. This is what a good professor does. They take your questions, your struggles, your problems. They go do the research and then they come back and they say, "Hey, I know how to fix your problem," so if you find yourself reading a book, and then really excited to share what you learn in that book with somebody else 'cause you think it would help them, you might be a professor. If you've just, even when they don't wanna hear it, you kind of annoy your family members or friends with advice that wasn't even solicited, you might be a professor. You can't help wanting to help people. The fifth and final personality is what we call the star. This is something that people struggle with a little bit, 'cause they go, "Ah, I don't wanna be a star." Just wanna be real clear. What does a star do literally? There's two things. One, it shines, 'cause it can't not do that, and if it stops shining, it would cease to be a star, right? It just is what it is. Second, it attracts attention through the shining and attracts attention to itself. And so these are people who build their platform on their charisma. They are well known for their likable personalities. People like them 'cause they like people. You don't necessarily have to be an extrovert, but you gotta like people, and wanna help them one way or the other. And so the only real requisite for this is you have to have a heart for other people. You wanna be helpful. And the way that you help them is different from any of these other platform personalities. You help them by giving them insight into your own life, and so the message of the star is if I did it, you can do it. An example of this is the author, Anne Lamott. Anne writes fiction and non-fiction. She's best known for kind of her memoir, narrative non-fiction writing. Bird by Bird, great book for every writer, highly recommend it. And she's funny, and Anne teaches us through the lens of her own life experience, and it's in this, done as very funny, self-effacing way, and she'll talk about politics and if I survive this presidency, so can you. If I learned how to love myself in spite of all these body image issues and culture, so can you. My favorite thing that she's ever said, she said it at here TED talk, she says, here are the things that I know. I only know a few things, but one of the things that I know is that any chocolate that has a higher cacao percentage than 60% should be considered a vegetable. That's not candy. Stop calling it chocolate. You see she's very funny, and she does, there's no research, really. The research is her life, but she's so winsome, so self-effacing, you trust her and you go, that's for me or it's not. If you want graphs and statistics, then the star is not for you, but this can work a lot of ways. If I survive cancer, so can you. If I lost 50 pounds, so can you. Tim Ferriss does this. He goes, he makes himself a human guinea pig. He goes, "Hey, if I learned how to launch a business, "so can you. "Here's the process, here's how I did it." And so it can be done in a very scientific way, or it can be done in just a very kind of fun, relational way, but the message of a star is if I did it, so can you. Okay, here is your assignment. You have to pick one of these. And you can't be five, can't be four. You can't be three and a half. You have to be one, and it doesn't mean that you can't use these different pieces, but think of this like college or university where you've gotta pick a major. If you do all these things, you're never going to graduate, and graduating is, I'm launching my website, I'm bringing my ideas into the world, so that people can connect with them. And if you try to be all these things, 'cause they're all effective. People will ask me, "Which one will allow me "to make the most money?" (chuckles) All these people are well-paid writers. Nobody here is starving, so it really is kind of a question of which of these best describe you? And think 80% of the time, right? And if you don't know, my advice is just pick one, go all in on it for 30 days, and see how it works for you. 'Cause again, the idea here is amateurs are waiting to be discovered. They're writing and they're throwing it out, into the world, or on the Internet or whatever, and they're waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, whereas professionals are intentionally building a platform around their unique personality.