Do you run an online business? Did you start without connections and are now trying to break it into the big leagues? If so Michael Hyatt’s Platform is the perfect book for you. Michael Hyatt was the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing one of the largest publishers in existence. He runs a blog at MichaelHyatt.com where he blogs about leadership, growing a business, and productivity.
The book covers a wide variety of topics. For someone who is new to building their brand this is the book I would recommend that they start with. I’ve read quite a few books on building a blog and monetizing it and while this book is focused on more than just that so far it has been the best book for that as well. The chapters are short and too the point making it easy to reference what you need to reference or refresh yourself if you forgot something. Like I said the scope of this book is large, it covers every little detail of building your business. From how often a day to Twitter to how to write you about page. I will highlight what each section in the book covers but it is in no way, shape, or form going cover everything that this book is about. If anything I write appeals to you get this book because there is much more involved.
Start With Wow
Michael points out that all no matter what your success as a brand and a business starts with a quality product that you believe in. It doesn’t matter how well you do everything else, if your pushing a sub-par product it will be found out eventually and you will not get success, nor will you deserve it. Everything starts with having a quality product. It is the fundamental piece of starting your brand, not just a quality product but quality information. So for example if you run a blog, you must really give your readers quality if you expect to go anywhere.
Quality is key. Michael puts a big emphasis on “wowing” your readers or customers (or both). Meaning you exceed their expectations and you exceed the markets expectations. So when they read your book or use your product they are blown away by the value. This doesn’t mean it’s cheap as cheap things generally have low value. It means whatever they paid the value exceeded the price. Give people more value than they expect and you will have the fundamental part of the wow experience down.
Prepare to Launch
In this section Michael covers getting your ideas right about your brand or business. Michael warns against people who want to outsource their brand to others and have them do the work for them. Michael warns that no one knows your product like you and no one is going to promote your product for you. You cannot outsource the main stuff, it is something that you must do personally and put in the time and effort for. Michael advises that you yourself learn about different aspects of a business rather than outsourcing such as marketing. Not to never use an expert, but rather not to give away all the responsibility to someone else. Be a part of the process.
So many people are dragged down by the rest of society. The whole “crabs in a bucket” phenomenon. Michael fell victim to this at one point as well stating
“When we are young, parents and teachers tell us we can do anything and become whatever we want. But as we grow older, these same people tell us that we must be more realistic. Pretty soon their collective voices become our internal naysayer. As soon as we have a big thought, we check ourselves…That was the mindset I had until I picked up The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz”
However Michael was able to rise out of it and now flies high above the level of the average doubter. He explains the steps he took to go from being a man who doubted himself to being a man who believed in himself. A step that every one of us must take if we want to be successful
Build Your Home Base
This is the section where Michael explains how to build a blog and was one of the most helpful sections for me personally. If you are a blogger who has recently started this section alone makes the book worth the purchase price. While brick and mortar businesses have their time and place Michael makes it clear how having an online presence in this day and age is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to make it. You need a place where someone who wants information on you can get anything that they need. Where they can contact you, buy your products, read your stuff, book your for speaking engagements, hire your coaching services, and whatever else. This all needs to be in on place, this one place is your home base.
The construction of your home base is one of the, if not the most important parts of building your brand and business. With a poorly designed home base your brand will never make it off the runway, even with a great product. Michael shows you how to run a successful blog and lets you know about all the mistakes he has made along the way. While I have read a few books in this section I still found some new content and a good refresher of the basics. If you’ve never bought a book in this category this is the place to start.
Expand Your Reach
Before running my own site and selling books I never had must interest in social media. To be honest I thought it was stupid and only for people who had nothing better to do with their lives. However I have come around to it because it is an essential part of growing your business. Being unfamiliar with social media I could have used this book when I started blogging. Michael shows you ways to grow your traffic and then retain that traffic once you have grown it. Again he uses examples from his own blog and highlights mistakes that he made along the way so that you do not have to.
The best part of this section were the chapters on Twitter. Michael talks about how much time to use on Twitter, the anatomy of an effective tweet, as well as how to get more organic followers. Michael also includes a chapter on traditional media in this section as well. One other chapter in this section that stood out to me was employing consistent branding making sure that you are recognized on all your platforms whether your main site, your social media, or your amazon book page (or whatever your companies equivalent is).
Engage Your Tribe
The final section of the book deals with keeping the brand going once it is up and running. While building your platform and getting noticed are probably the hardest parts it still takes work and dedication to keep it going. If you neglect to do these things you may find yourself and your brand slipping back into obscurity. Michael covers how to get more blog comments and why responding to them is imperative. Something Michael highlights in the book is that modern “marketing” is not simple getting your name out there but building a loyal group of followers. A tribe as Seth Godin would say. To build a tribe you must build relationships, it’s as simple as that.
You will get hate and you will get haters. If you write about something worth writing about if you have the guts to take a stand on something, to make a decision you people will whine and complain about it. But this is good, if you don’t have haters you probably don’t have a strong brand. It’s better to be loved and hated than liked by all. Michael warns about feeding trolls and how to deal with negative people who want what you have and are jealous of what you have and have nothing better to do than hate on it.
All in all if I had to do it over Platform would be the first book I would get in regards to building a brand, a blog, and a business. It will give you basics and give you plenty of material to get you through your first couple of months if not longer. Building a brand and a business is something that takes time and hard work and that’s with the right information. Go in blindly and you probably won’t make it out the other end. Get the right information then get to work.