A platform can mean the difference between landing or not landing a book deal. It also can make the difference between successful on unsuccessful book sales. Today, Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB) provides seven effective ways to build your platform and increase the likelihood of your blog and book succeeding.
Building a robust platform is one of the essential aspects of a bloggers’ or authors’ success. Twenty years ago the concept of platform hardly existed, but in today’s social media world, platform is everything—for bloggers and authors.
Your platform is made up of the people you know and who know you and those who follow you on social media or have joined your mailing list or subscribed to your post feed. Your platform equates to your ability to sell your book—to a publisher or to your target audience—because of who you are and who you can influence. It’s the key to success in the online and publishing world.
How do you build a robust platform? These following seven tips will help you accomplish that goal.
1. Identify Your Audience
Think about your readers and followers. What do they have they in common? Do they all enjoy travel, pets, home improvement, or health and fitness? Are they young or old, men or women? Do they live in the city or in rural areas? Are they affluent entrepreneurs, struggling single moms, or CEOs?
Your audience has a lot in common. They read your blog for a reason. Identify their commonalities, and you can tailor your marketing to them. By doing so, you’ll attract more of these people, and build a stronger platform.
2. Target Your Core Demographic
Once you have identified the common characteristics of your audience, you can work on building a solid author’s platform more effectively. From the moment you first determine your core demographic, everything you do with your blog (or book) should be done with them in mind.
For example, if your audience is mostly over the age of 40, don’t try to sound like a millennial in your posts. Or if your audience is into new age concepts, you might want to avoid posting about mainstream things like big money sports, since those topics probably won’t appeal to a spiritually minded demographic.
Instead, write posts about midlife issues when targeting an audience between 40 and 50. Blog a book about rituals or meditation for spiritual readers.
3. Build an Amazing Website
Now that you know your audience, build an incredible website that appeals to those specific people. Choose graphics, colors, and valuable content that attracts your audience and make them want to keep coming back.
If they like the site, they’ll share it. For example, if your blog is about fitness for women over the age of 40, choose pictures of models in their age group. If you use 20 something models with perfect bodies, they might feel defeated and lose interest in your website. Additionally, make sure every post, your tagline, and anything else featured on the site makes them feel understood, supported, and welcome.
4. Become an SEO Guru
Just like you built your website and targeted your marketing to your audience, you must also customize your SEO efforts. Every keyword you choose, the posts you write, tag, and headline should attract your ideal reader. The same goes for your images, videos, memes, and e-mails.
When your main demographic does an online search for “best doggie diapers” and your website is about traveling with a pet, they should find you in the top 10 search recommendations. If they don’t, it’s time to become an SEO guru or hire one.
5. Market Constantly
Effective marketing is key to building a strong platform. Remember that successful marketing is always targeted specifically to your demographic. If you advertise, advertise on sites or in places your ideal readers already frequent. If your audience is primarily interested in North American travel, there is no need to advertise in a magazine or blog about Asia. Instead, find a magazine or site focused on North American travel.
Also, marketing is not a one-time gig. If you tried a couple of Facebook ads with little success, don’t give up. It’s consistency in marketing that makes it work. Try new things, and be consistent. Eventually, you’ll begin to reap the rewards.
One great thing about social media marketing is that you can plan it in advance. You can design your advertising campaigns, posts, and e-mails to publish or release on specific dates. Doing this gives you the freedom to take days off and enjoy time away from work but continue marketing.
Marketers will tell you that you must “touch” someone a minimum of seven times before they decide to take action. That advice holds true for reading your posts, subscribing to your blog, or buying your book. Consistency matters when it comes to marketing your blog or book.
Collaboration with other bloggers that have a similar audience can be a powerful approach to building platform. Reach out to bloggers that write about a similar topic and pitch a guest post or a free advertising exchange.
You also can create promotional partnerships with companies that have products or services that would appeal to your demographic. For example, if you write a travel blog, you might reach out to a luggage manufacturer to see if you could write blog posts for them in exchange for free advertising space on their website.
Networking provides another critical element for building a platform. Networking involves forming relationships with others to discover new business opportunities.
Don’t look at networking as “using” other people. Look at it as a way to contribute to their life or business. If you approach it with the spirit of contribution, they’ll be more open to forming a win-win relationship with you. An example of this is when real estate agents and mortgage brokers attend the same events with the intention of making business connections.
Become an Influencer
Building an influential blogger or author platform involves much more than mastering social media. It means reaching out to others both online and in person. It requires customizing your actions in such a way that will continually attract your core audience.
When you have a large platform, you are considered an “influencer.” Your followers and subscribers trust and look to you for your opinion and advice. The more people see you as a positive influence in their life, the larger your platform. And the larger your platform, the more likelihood that an agent or publisher finds you—and offers you a book deal.
How do you build your platform? Add the ways in a comment below.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.