Start With a Platform
My first piece of advice to you in building a business of any kind, for building a career, for building something of personal or business value, is to start as if you already have a platform. When I say “platform,” I mean this: “a body of principles on which a person or group takes a stand in appealing to the public; program.” – ( source) In this, I also mean build a presence, a place from which to share those principles and ideas.
Oprah Winfrey started as a weather reporter. She built from there. Gary Vaynerchuk sold wine for his family business in New Jersey (still does). Richard Branson had a record shop and then represented the Sex Pistols, and grew from there. You start from what you have.
Blog as a Platform
When I say “blog,” it’s because I can’t see the value any more in a traditional website. If it doesn’t have dynamic content, then it’s just a static placeholder. There’s value in this for your business ( Human Business Works is pretty darned static), but not in platform making. Let me tell you about my blog.
I guess my blog was my first platform of value. I’ve been at this since 1998, you know. It took a while for it to take off, and my first handful of years, I spent on “rented” territory, like tripod.com, geocities, etc. But once I started getting the hang of it, and still today, no matter what else I do, I keep this blog going, because it’s a place where people can come to get a taste of what I think and what I stand for, and it’s a place where people can match and measure their own ideas against what I put out there.
A blog, such as it were, is a great platform, provided you don’t do everything in your power to blend in with everyone else. There’s already a TechCrunch, already a CopyBlogger, already a Dooce. By all means, you can do something in the same topic vein, but please do it with a rip-roaring, self-styled, nothing-but-net version of yourself.
Extending Your Platform
A blog is not enough. I wish that it were, but it’s not. Why? Because we all have tons to read. We are all out there surfing for advice and information and looking for distractions as well as education, as well as advice. To have a modern platform means spanning into a few other places.
C.C. Chapman has his blog, but he also has his show, Digital Dads TV. The former is a way for C.C. to voice his ideas. The latter is a way for C.C. to build out a new audience, a new community, and new business opportunities. It’s also exciting and interesting in a way that straight text isn’t these days.
Do you have to have a TV show? No. Can you just blog and tweet about your blog? It’s not going to be as effective as you want.
So what can you do?
My answers are in my free newsletter. It comes out at 2PM ET on the 8th (the day this post went live). I’d love to continue the conversation with you there. You in?