If you are looking to build a personal brand either as an entrepreneur, author, or a self-employed professional; then it’s essential to understand the concept of a platform. It applies not just for authors but to anyone who is looking to position themselves as an authority in their niche.
My definition of a platform is the ability to influence an audience to buy from you. It includes a community of followers who respect, admire, and support you.
Why is it important?
- Build trust with an audience before you ask for the sale.
- Loyal followers who will support and buy from you.
- Proximity to your audience, which aids in product research and feedback.
What does an author platform include?
An author platform can include:
- Opt-in Mailing list
- A website or blog
- Guest columns on online and offline publications
- Book Reviews
- Featured Articles and Interviews
- Media mentions
- Speaking engagements
- Social Media
What is an opt-in mailing list?
An opt-in mailing list is when someone gives you their contact information with explicit permission to email them.
One of the ways to collect subscriber information is to have a form on your website and ask your readers to subscribe to your newsletter. You can entice them with a bribe called a lead magnet; which can be an ebook, a checklist, white paper, or almost anything that is perceived as valuable to your reader.
Why build an opt-in mailing list?
Did you know:
- 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. – Forrester Research
- You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.- Campaign Monitor
- The average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media. – McKinsey
- 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. – MarketingSherpa
- Employees spend 13 of their working hours each week in their email inbox (on average). – McKinsey & Company
Opt-in Mailing list vs. Social Media
The most common question I get is, “Should I build a website, mailing list, or a social media platform?”
I believe a website and a mailing list are assets you own, while social media is not entirely under your control.
Here are four reasons why a mailing list scores over social media.
- Your opt-in email list is yours. You own it.
- It’s more personal and intimate.
- You make the rules.
- Social media is not under your control. Facebook and other social networks can change the rules at any time.
Website/blog. Do authors need a website to promote their book?
We believe a website is a brand’s asset. It’s something that you own. A website is a pillar to promote your book and build a community around it.
Let’s say you write a non-fiction book called “How to quit your job and build a location independent business?” Every reader of this book shares a common aspiration of building a location independent business.
Although you may choose to create a community through a closed group on Facebook, it still helps if your website is the hub where people can read your articles, get connected to you through various social media channels, subscribe to your mailing list, and even buy your book.
Building an author platform is one of the best investments you can make in building your personal brand. It might be hard for authors to line up their ducks all at once, but it’s easier when you make a start, and focus on a little progress each day.