Much has been written on the Internet about how to effectively build your platform and your blog. In this section, we cover a few tips and tricks to help you get started on your journey. This is not intended to be a thorough exploration of the topic, but rather a gentle push toward the deep end of platform building, where you can start swimming on your own.
Point #1: platform building is about creating original content that entertains and/or informs. This will vary quite a bit from person to person depending on what it is you are trying to accomplish with your blog. Patrick Rothfuss, a fantasy author, blogs often about his not-for-profit organization WorldBuilders, his event schedule, and about his family. Chuck Wendig, another sci-fi/fantasy author, blogs frequently about the tricks of the writing trade. They are both building and maintaining platforms and both interacting with their readers and prospective readers, but they do it in very unique ways. What they have in common is they both create original (meaning straight from their own brains) content that entertains and/or informs their readers. This is what keeps readers coming back again and again, not just sales pitch after sales pitch about new book.
That brings me to point #2: remember this is about building relationships. Relationships are two-way roads—don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just vomit out ads and promotional posts for your books all day and still get followers. This will annoy and chase off your current readers and any possible future readers. Your platform is not a marketing tool designed to act like a commercial. It is for connection.
Last but certainly not least, point #3: just get out there and do it. A lot of authors wait to begin their platform-building efforts until they have a book. That is about a year too late. Sure, it can feel awkward in the beginning—you don’t have a name/brand, you don’t have an audience, you don’t have a product, and you don’t know what to say. All of this is normal, and we all experience it. But just like writing, you learn by doing. Waiting for the “perfect” time won’t get you anything but more waiting. You’ll course-correct often. You may wipe the slate clean a couple of times and start over. That’s perfectly ok…just start!
If you are interested in learning more about blogging, there are several websites out there with loads of amazing information on blogging and building your platform. ProBlogger is a great resource for information relating to blogging. Jane Friedman also has a great blog filled with information on marketing, building your platform, and blogging.
There are also some great books on the topic. The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano is a great resource for help on figuring out your voice and what types of “stuff” you want to talk about on your blog. Platform: Get Noticed In A Busy World by Michael Hyatt is another great book on building up an effective platform. There are many more, but I found these two quite helpful in my own efforts.
Our journey here is finished. You have designed your first website and have taken some significant steps along the path to your goal. Let me know what you thought of this book and if it helped you out, if there are things you’d like to see included in a future edition, or just stop by and tell me about your journey.
Thanks for spending some time with me, and best of luck! For previous articles in this series please see the articles below.
The Importance of a Website to Your Author Platform
Why You Need a Self-Hosted Website
Naming Your Website
Selecting a Registrar and Web Hosting Company
Picking and Installing a WordPress Theme
Creating and Modifying WordPress Pages
Creating and Editing WordPress Blog Posts
Using Categories and Tags
Finding and Installing Plugins