How big can you dream?

5 Initial Takeaways on How to Build a Personal or Product Platform

I’ve been reading Michael Hyatt’s insightful Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, an invaluable resource for anyone with something to say or sell. Hyatt was CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing and has built a tremendous self-help platform on his own.

I’m about one-third of the way through the book and have covered the first two sections: “Start with Wow” and “Prepare to Launch.” Here are five personal highlights:

1. A Great Product Isn’t Enough Anymore
The main point that Hyatt discusses is that creating a great product simply isn’t enough anymore. There are so many competing voices that whatever you’re trying to say or sell will get lost in the noise. Therefore, you need a “platform,” a strong web presence that reaches across a website, blog content, and social media, to help stand above the fray and have your voice be heard. This is something I definitely need to improve on and make a daily habit, for both myself and Golden Arm Media.

2. Create a “Wow” Product that Exceeds Market Expectations
Although the platform aspect is crucial, without a great product or service to begin with, it doesn’t matter how far your reach goes. As David Ogilvy said, “great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” Creating “wow” means going beyond the status quo and exceeding what your audience (customer, client, listener, etc) expects. Begin by studying what people’s standard expectations are, and which ways their experience can be improved. Hyatt mentions that this extends beyond your product itself and includes all aspects of the experience from start to finish. In a noisy world, it’s the emotional “wow” that helps you stand out from the crowd.

3. Accept Personal Responsibility
When you’re creatively enveloped in whatever you’re producing – a podcast, a book, video, a physical product, a service, whatever – it’s easy to justify a lack of time spent platform building. I’ve constantly fallen the trap of saying “it’s not my responsibility, I don’t have time, we’ll get someone else to promote the video business.” But the truth you are the only one with enough passion and motivation to evangelize your own message or product, especially in the early stages. As Hyatt says, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. You have the most to lose, and the most to gain.

4. Assemble a Trusted Team
Hyatt describes it as your “pit crew” in Platform – you are the driver, your product is the car, and your pit crew keeps you on the track. While he lists a range of people from administration to management to publishing (which will all be crucial as your platform grows) I realized that even when starting from zero, you need to surround yourself with a “team” of people who have your best interest at heart and will help you reach your goals. I know my wife and my parents are both in my corner, and it’s important to begin sharing your dreams with others and getting them inspired to come along for the ride – and to hold you accountable!

5. Think REALLY BIG!
Hyatt lays out the difficulty many people have (myself included) when defining our goals – we think way too small! When creating a vision for your future, it has to be so BIG that you feel absolutely compelled every morning to works towards it. He gives a list of ways to help think big, but I think the two most important are “writing down your goals” and “reviewing them daily.” I started doing this about a week ago and I’ve noticed a huge change in my productivity. I wake up more energized to get work done, and even the mundane tasks of the video business have an added level of enjoyment.

I’m excited to continue reading Platform and learn more valuable technique on how to connect with others in a meaningful way. 🙂

What are some of the most effective tools and methods you use to engage with others online and build your platform?

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