By Emilie Hendryx
What is a good platform base? Do I need a platform? How do I build a platform? What will a platform do for me? What is a platform, anyway?
These questions are enough to make your head spin. My simple definition of platform is this: Platform is a genuine community of people who “get” you. That is to say, these people like you and what you talk about. When we take out the scarier terms like “marketing” and “platform building” and look at it as a way to generate genuine community, I think it puts a very real spin on something that can seem difficult and out of reach.
How to build a genuine platform:
1. Be careful
Choose your platform(s) wisely. Some platform stages (think: Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest, Instagram) are better for certain genres than others. One great example is the power of Instagram for YA readers. Whew boy, there are massive fan bases on Instagram for the YA book community. If you are a YA author and you aren’t on Instagram, you’re losing out on a big market/platform area. Be careful what you focus your efforts on and that where you are marketing (ie: finding genuine fans) is reaching the people who will want to read your books.
2. Be creative
People follow a writer or author because of two things (if we’re simplifying here). 1) They like their writing 2) they like them. When you’re building your platform you have to realize that the community you build will be attracted to you as a person more than they will be your promotional ads or marketing schemes. They may find you through a giveaway, but they’ll stick with you because of you (see #4). This means you get to be creative! Show your platform/community who you are, what you like (and dislike), and don’t be afraid to showoff your goofy side. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!
3. Be diligent
Building a community of loyal fans and future readers isn’t easy. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, your platform will not grow in a day, a week, or even a few months. It’s a loooong process. This means being smart about when you post to social media, how frequently you post (this will depend on the platform), and your personal interactions not only on your sites but on others as well. Be diligent and make time for this crucial process. Those in your community will be able to tell that you care by specific, personal interactions.
4. Be you
The best part about this? Building a platform is based on YOU. Though it can sometimes be a chore to schedule out posts and be creative on your blog, ultimately you should be posting about things you like. The passion you have for the things you share will draw in other people with similar passions.
So get out there and start building your community! Think of it like a group of friends from all over who share a passion for the same things you do. Make sure you are enjoying it and having fun.
Has this changed your thoughts about platform? Do you see your platform as a community or a chore? How can you make platform-building more fun?
Emilie Hendryx lives in Washington, D.C. and fills her time with creative pursuits. She writes, runs a photography business, reads, plays guitar, and drinks too much coffee. She’s a member of ACFW and My Book Therapy and is currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up a YA dystopian world on the side. Check out her blog Thinking Thoughts.