What It Really Takes to Build a Platform in Today’s Noisy World

Michael Hyatt Platform
Platform by Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt wrote the book on platform-building — literally. I’ve been following his blog for years, but his newest book, Platform, distills his most important thoughts on publishing, marketing, and how to build a powerful audience online.

For the longest time, I just nodded along, thinking, Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get all that stuff, but it’ll never work for me.

Finally, though, I gave up on my skepticism and just went with it. And in eight months, I had a book deal. In a year, my blog was receiving 80,000–100,000 visitors per month. All because I chose to build a platform.

I’m not pulling your leg when I say you can do this, too. You can — if you’ll just get over your cynicism and trust the process.

Here’s how it works in five important steps:

Step 1: Start with wow

This is where Mike begins his book and where you should begin your process. Most people want to get popular or make a book, but they’re missing the most important ingredient: the “wow” factor. They’re trying to pass off something mediocre as awesome, and trust me — people can tell the difference.

Doing this, in the words of Seth Godin, is like putting some whipped cream and a cherry on top of a bunch of meatballs and calling it a “sundae.” It’s not. Before you start marketing, make sure you’ve got something a great product.

If you’re a writer, musician, or artist, this means spending some time working on your craft than promoting it. It means practicing.

But this goes beyond mere skill. It also means paying attention to details like packaging and making each and every experience with your product amazing (think of how it feels to unwrap an Apple product for the first time).

Step 2: Prepare to launch

Before the world will listen to your message, you need to make sure it’s ready. This includes everything from accepting responsibility for your work to making sure you have a consistent headshot on all your social media channels.

If you’re like me, you have a love/hate relationship with branding and marketing yourself, but the bottom line here is clarity. Are you helping your audience understand what you’re about — or are you confusing them?

Even though I knew this stuff, I still wasn’t practicing it as best I could. Just this week, after reading Mike’s book, I decided to change all social networks to have the same image of my face. A small change, but an important one, if you want to make an impression.

Step 3: Build your home base

This may be the most important part of getting your message heard — having the actual platform. For some, this will be a blog. For others, it may be your rolodex.

Whatever form it takes, a platform needs to be something that you own and can control. Mike’s tips, which he lives and practices religiously, are helpful and practical.

When it comes to creating your home base, you want to focus on quantity and shipping — getting your ideas out in front of the world — especially when you’re just beginning. Don’t get hung up on perfectionism; put your work out there. You can always tweak it later.

The most helpful chapter in this section was the one on building a speaking page, which I followed to a tee for my own speaking page (and it’s already started attracting speaking requests!).

Step 4: Expand your reach

Without channels of connection, your message can only go so far. This is where most people struggle — they have something the world needs to hear but don’t have anyone’s attention.

This is where Twitter and Facebook — as well as your guest posting strategy — come in.

I had the privilege of contributing a short chapter to this section, so I’m a little biased, but this is where your message really begins to take off. It’s where you reach a personal tipping point. But until you build and launch, you can’t expand.

Step 5: Engage your tribe

Few people are better are rewarding their tribes than Mike. I’ve learned so much from his generosity and accessibility (I met him in person because he actually answers his email). In particular, I love how he uses giveaways to build trust and earn permission.

But engagement is a two-way street. And it’s inevitable that once you build a platform you’ll start attracting critics and haters — people who will want to knock you down. So when Mike says, “Don’t feed the trolls,” he knows what he’s talking about; he’s lived it.

At this point, you’re ready to start making money, and no doubt some people will just skip straight to Chapter 60 of Platform: “Monetize Your Blog” — but there’s a reason it’s the last chapter. Because everything you do up until that point earns you the trust you need to make a big ask like that.

Start building your platform now

This is how businesses and audiences are built these days: you find who will listen first and then start delivering value to them. Michael Hyatt’s done this; I’m trying to do it, too. The question is, are you doing it? Or are you still waiting? Still delaying?

It’s time to start. To share your message with the world. And it all begins with a platform.

Special offer: Platform by Michael Hyatt is a great book that will help you build a platform that allows you to get noticed in a noisy world. Find out more here.

What’s something you haven’t done to build a platform yet? Share in the comments.

66 thoughts on “What It Really Takes to Build a Platform in Today’s Noisy World

  1. In the past I have tried several half-arsed attempts to build a platform before I was ready, including a facebook Like page, a YouTube channel.
    Something that I am very keen to do in my home city of York, UK, is a scene from my book performed as a flash mob in the city. Though that is a little ambitious right now… It’s probably best to start from scratch with a shiny new blog!

  2. I haven’t done enough guest posting.  This is definitely something I can do over the next few months to expand my platform.

    (Congrats on the new arrival.  May God give you blessings, wisdom, and grace as you head into this parenting journey.)

  3. Just picked up this book (So please exclude me from the contest!). 

    Honestly, I’m hoping that it will give me some ideas because I feel like I’ve got all the pieces but can’t. quite. tip. (Does that sound arrogant? I don’t mean for it to.) I’ve seen steady growth since I launched the site, but never the explosion. I would really like to see things move from hundreds of daily visitors to thousands. I think part of it is needing to hone my message more – I’m just still not sure how to do that with a story-style blog.

    Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to beginning to give it a listen today – yay for the audio version addition when you buy it! 

  4. I have an opportunity to get more strategic and intentional with my branding, and then get aggressive about expanding my reach.  I’ve been posting consistently for close to a year, and it’s time to start stretching out.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this.   I’ve always had a problem  with self promotion.  Not sure where the line is between building a platform and being obnoxious.  I just want God to bring the right people to my blog…is that too much to ask?  🙂  

    Congrats again on becoming a daddy!

  6. Hi Jeff –
    Thank you for the helpful post and for passing along some great resources.

    I haven’t done any guest posting yet. I do have an interview set up. She is a published author and is very interested in my work I do on my blog. This is a huge opportunity for me to be interviewed on her blog – and a boost for my platform. After this interview, I just have verbal agreements for some guest postings, which I have not followed though with yet.

    The other thing I need to concentrate on is a regular posting schedule. I say that my health is the reason why I don’t post regularly. However, I think that if I made my blog a high priority, even if I only post once a wk, I know I can make a schedule work. I understand that dependency of blog posts is important to readers.


  7. Thanks for the great post.  I’m still working on expanding my reach.  As an introvert and hermit, this is fairly painful but also necessary for me to accomplish my goals.  

  8. I’m still using Blogger, because it’s so simple, stupid easy. I’m still mulling over the URL platform I want to claim. BobHolmes.com is taken. I got HolmesWriter.com and gave that to my wife, who’s the real writer in the family. Humm…

    Again, Congratulations on Aidan. Your life will never be the same.

    1. Hey Cheryl. You can start guest-posting right away as long as you have a place for interested readers to follow-up. I’ve found that writing first helped me bootstrap my later packaging and platform decisions.

      Check out MailChimp’s info on that: https://kb.mailchimp.com/article/can-mailchimp-help-me-design-landing-pages

  9. Awesome post!  I am reading Platform now…couldn’t wait for this week to come so I could grab it!  And yes, I got the extra $375.98 in bonus material! 🙂

    I have yet to start guest posting…I did one guest post about a year ago and just received a request to do one in about a month, but I have yet to actively pursue guest posting.  I am sure Mike’s book will help me put together a great strategy.

  10. loving the steps. Been hearing a lot about Michael’s book and can’t wait to read it. Think it will be a great read. 

    Hopefully my own platform will grow in the next few months

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  11. What haven’t I done to build a platform?  Everything beyond the thinking!  Like you once were I’m at the “everyone else can do it but I can’t” stage – perhaps Mike’s book (and your chapter!) will be the kick up the backside I need to get on my platform!

  12. Platform-wise, my blog-specific social network presence remains sparse. The “Post as …” options on this very comment system reminded of that, so thanks!

  13. You’re right Jeff, Michael’s book is substance and something we all could use as we’re building your platform. I love how you explained your situation before putting his ideas into action and the results you’ve gained because of it. Keep it up Jeff!

    As for what I haven’t done to build my platform? I haven’t created a headshot that I’m using between all of my planks. That’s something I need to take care of soon.

  14. Creating a platform means being consistent, and I struggle with structure. I can only do a few weeks of structure before I want to rebel, even if it harms me in the long run. I have trouble sticking to a schedule and seeing projects through. But a platforms requires long-term effort, something I need to focus on. I often justify my actions with my personality as an ENFP, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change.

  15. Jeff – as always, I enjoyed your post. Very informative, useful, and to the point. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  16. Thanks for sharing about this new book. It sounds like it would be very helpful!

    I haven’t delved into the guest posting enough. I’ve written one guest post, and I interviewed a writer on my blog, and that’s it. I haven’t come up with a strategy to do it.

    I’m also not very consistent with Twitter.

  17. I haven’t given anything away yet, I haven’t had anyone guest post on my site (I’ve done a few on others) and I haven’t engaged anyone of influence yet (and I have several personal emails of people that fall into that category). I guess I keep wondering if it is time yet, maybe its resistance. Look forward to reading this book.

  18. Thanks for distilling some of Michael Hyatt’s points down for us here today, Jeff. I’d say of the things you mentioned, I need to focus on a speaking page (I’m going to check out yours right now). I just received a request for a speaking engagement, and I don’t even mention that anywhere on my blog. I also need to invest in a quality, professional headshot. I’ve been putting that off because of the expense, but I think it might help create a consistent, professional, visual image if I take that leap.

    {and a big congratulations on the arrival of wee little Aiden! What a cutie!}

  19. Wow, what haven’t I done? I think I haven’t taken enough risks and I know I need to practice MUCH, MUCH more.  I need to work on the WOW. Part of that is finding my own voice.  That just takes time and practice. And patience.  

  20. Honestly, I am still working on figuring out what I am trying to package and getting it together. Your right, the wow factor is important. Meanwhile, I am getting a lot of my work out there, and trying to start the foundation of a platform on my blog. Still, all of this takes a lot of effort and time, and I am working through it all patiently. I hope one day to have my “brownie batter” perfected enough to even say I have irresistible brownies to even sell. 

    Working on something towards a goal is great, and I find that life fits within the process in unique ways, breathing life into and offering new outlets and perspectives. Writing is beautiful in that it fits into the space you give it. It’s flexible. I can work and be a writer, amazingly. How much effort I put into being a writer is how much of a result, often times, that I get out, but, all in all, the decisions I make and the work I put in, as you show above towards building something is never lost. 

    Encouraging post! Thanks, Jeff.

  21. Hi Jeff! Great post once more!

    So, I’ve been following every single piece of advice you’ve been giving, but I haven’t done maybe one of the most important ones. Guest posting.

    Here’s the deal. I am Brazilian and although there are many many bloggers writing about life and learning like me, around the world, I can’t seem to find potential partners writing in Portuguese.

    The blogging world in Brazil seems to be ruled by poorer versions of 9gags, and the few pretty serious writers who get a little louder end up hired by a big portal or a news website and start writing for money and for contract. Can you imagine a world with no Jeff Goins, no Seth Godin,  no Leo Babauta? And as a consequence, no platform building, no search to attract subscribers, no free ebooks, and no guest posting at all. Hired writers are not building a platform, they are just doing their jobs.

    So the challenge is not only to convince someone you don’t know to let you guest post, but also to explain what does that mean and why should they let you do it while they’re being watched by their bosses. Quite tougher or is it me?

    I know, trying to build a platform when there is not so many people doing the same does open some doors and being kind of a pioneer is pretty cool. But I am sure this cultural difference and this  inability to guest post is making things a lot harder.

    I would really appreciate to pick your brain a little bit on this one.

    What would you recommend for me to overcome this challenge?

  22. As far as my art (drawings, paintings, and yes, even writing, I’m still working on content and perfection, and enough of it to garner attention.

  23. Thanks for sharing this Jeff

    I haven’t done guest posting yet. It’s something am planning to do once I move my blog from a free one to my own URL. I am also finishing up on an ebook which I hope to give away for free. 

  24. Honestly, I have a lot of work to do when it comes to platform-building.  I haven’t done any guest posting yet, for one thing.  I don’t have any kind of subscriber list system at the moment either.  I could go on, but won’t right now.  Lots to learn and work on, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?

  25. Jeff I haven’t taken any steps to build a mailing list yet.  I think a lot of it stems from me not wanting to see it grow from 0 to 5 in 2 years…LOL

    I have 0 monetizing now or in the near future is another reason…

    Thanks for the ressource Jeff, I am tempted to get this book…

  26. Oh, this looks like a super good book!  I am sure there are lots of things that I need to learn and do (which is why I need to read the book :))

    I have a platform, I post consistently, and I think I am consistent in message but I really hate networking.  I know I should be reaching out and meeting other bloggers/writers but I chicken out.  I know I should guest post more, but I chicken out.   I am seeing in the comments about not building a mailing list.  I have lots of subscribers and have collected e-mails with my free book giveaway…but I haven’t done anything with them yet.  I really want to figure out how to manage my time the best between it all.  If I can only give building this business 2-4 hours a day what should I be doing the most of. 

  27. Well, I haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter since January… and I’ve only really posted poetry on my blog. Networking scares the bejeebers out of me, as does the idea of guest posting. So, I guess I haven’t done anything for my platform!

    Stephen G. Zoldi
    sgzoldi AT gmail DOT com

  28. What is a platform? Yes, I do need to read the book. I feel perpetually lost in a sea of social media. 

  29. I haven’t been consistent in posting to my blog or purposeful in my FB and twitter post. I have recently come to realize, with help from your blog, that not only can I be a writer but I am a writer. Although my passion is to speak, I am learning how much I enjoy just communicating in general.

  30. Jeff – I know what you mean about the “yeah, yeah, yeah” part. I have been blogging for about three years and just thought that some people just got lucky and others had connections. But, in the past month, I decided that I needed to stop blaming my poor showing on others and start finding out what needed to be done to succeed. Then yesterday I saw a twitter post about Michael’s book. WOW what impeccable timing!

    It is now time for me to read, pay attention, and build my platform!


    PS – congratulation on the birth of your son!

  31. One thing I haven’t done by expanding my reach is guest post.

    Guest posting will begin to be a crucial part of platform building and engaging in the community of writers.

    It’s exciting to know that others will share their platform for you to build yours.

    (And Michael Hyatt gives a shout out to Jeff in this section of his book!)

  32. “What’s something you haven’t done to build a platform yet?”

    I need to fortify my home base. Creating content on a consistent basis seems to be the best way to do this. Write every day, publish on a regular basis. This is the core of what I need to do to build a platform, my castle, my home base, my stage.

  33. I’ve been on step 3, Building My Home Base. Thanks for creating such STICKY good stuff! Your knowledge and clarity are going to help so many people! THANKS! -Bob

  34. I’ve been practicing and I’m executing daily. In fact, I just shared a link via Twitter with you directly that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s speaks a lot to the idea of creating something awesome and working through that process. I’d love to win a copy of platform, but for me, it’s a must read either way. 

  35. Where do I start? I was lucky to be on Michael’s Platform Launch Team and when I started reading the book, I was suprised to see how many things I could do better. I litterally have 20 pages of a notebook filled out with things I’m working on changing!

    The number one thing for my platform is working on public speaking, I’m super scared to do it! I’m jumping in head first with speaking at my very first conference next Thursday! I’m using tips from Michael’s book to help build the speaking portion of my platform, it’s another way to spread a message.

  36. I would love to have this book to improve all the things I’ve tried.  The only thing I haven’t done so far is guest post, but I’m working on that!  Thank you for this generous offer!

  37. What I haven’t done is partly technical. I’m new to blogging (I know, no excuse) and my forte is NOT, does NOT resemble anything requiring technical knowledge or talent. I need to get a “real” blog account (my Tumblr has served me well, but I need more).

    What I haven’t done is mostly… deciding/accepting just what is “my product”.

    I started my Tumblr blog to satisfy the criteria to enter a health-writing challenge. Of course, “I always wanted to write”, but have been putting it off for hmmm… many years now. I enjoyed the challenge and found I had a passion to write about health.

     I discovered only one problem: I don’t like the “idea” of writing about health & sickness for an undetermined period of time (may be that it makes me feel too vulnerable?). Also, I don’t do fiction well, but of course I’m a fan. What to do? (I know there’s a lot more out there besides fiction and health writing… maybe I’m just not ready to narrow it down.)

    I may be back to Step #1: more practice. This is something I don’t want to hear (I’m not exactly a patient person), but I’m either not accepting/being grateful for my “plight” (sounds like drudgery, huh?), or haven’t found another more-suitable plight. No, I mean – CALLING.

    Solution: I WILL keep writing; I WILL keep connecting; I WILL read Michael Hyatt’s “Platform”; and I WILL keep saying – “I Am a Writer”!

    Thank you Jeff Goins.

  38. Haven’t focused enough on the WOW factor. I’ve created content & resources, been building my brand, started expanded my reach, but haven’t all out delivered in the “wow” department. I think that could make all the difference.

  39. I ordered the Kindle version of #Platform. It was the most economical option, plus convenient (since I can read Kindle ebooks on several #platforms). However, having the book in hand is the classic option, so include me in this.

    I’m looking forward to going through the book to understand how social media and #platform helps build up an audience. Have to decide if I want to be the one having a voice or one of the audience. Right now, I’m more of a networker, knowing who to listen to and referring contacts to them.

  40. Two things: 1) Gain more confidence and 2) Comment more generously on other blogs. If I expect the world to love what I have to say, I need to take time to show some love to others. Thanks for the review. I’m excited to read Platform!

  41. My blog has finally begun to gain momentum, but I have yet to do guest posting. It is next on my agenda, although I know it won’t be easy. I’ve learned a lot from Michael Hyatt, but I’ve learned a great deal from you too, Jeff. Thanks!

    1. Dr. Brobst in response to your comment, I’d also suggest guest interviews as a terrific way of building a platform.

      I read your comment and saw you are a physician. I hope I’m
      not being too forward, but we’re a physician brand talent agency that
      develops physician brand positioning by creating a powerful platform and I’d like to invite you to our blog where you can receive specific physician brand and marketing advice for free.


      It’s great to see physicians, like yourself, learning from great people like Jeff and Michael Hyatt. We’re doing the same.


      Matthew Ray Scott
      Creative Director, FEED The Agency

  42. Two huge things I should have done…1 – I should have “prepared to launch” (no planning here, just jumped in without a clue) and 2 – I should have joined all the social networks right away. I only recently joined Twitter. Wow, I have been missing out! 

  43. I’d really like to win this book, but I’m not sure how to answer the question. I have posted regularly. I believe I’m earnestly trying to always put out quality material. I encourage my readers to comment and engage them when they do. I’ve built a sizable and active Twitter following and do my best to engage them on that platform as well. I have had many guest posts, and I’m trying to guest post as much as possible. I’ve done everything I can think of. That’s why I need to win this contest Jeff. I’m out of things to do, so I need Michael’s suggestions! 🙂 Thanks for considering me.

  44. I would love to win this book as building a platform is exactly what I’m focusing on right now with my writing career. The thing I think I failed to do was prepare to launch, specifically I lacked focus. When I started blogging years ago I just knew I wanted to engage women, but I didn’t have a clear idea of what message I wanted to send or how I wanted to brand myself. So I suppose I need to “relaunch” in some way. 

  45. Hi again Jeff, have been busy trying to figure out how to do just this: Build a platform, and this offer could not have come at a better time. Have started a blog on blogger.com (to test the waters)  get in there to  voice my opinions on the debate and possible restrictions of Freedom of Expression vs Artistic Integrity on a painting being displayed at the Goodman Gallery, which the SA ruling party want taken down, but I strongly disagree on this restriction.  SA media, all media, print, digital, etc are being muzzled, and the ANC are akin to the Klu Klux Klan. If you speak up against any of the corruption, bribery, and dictatorship that is happening, you can be arrested, or worse, necklaced which is burnt by a kangaroo court who place a burning tyre around your neck then chant war songs while the person burns to death. We have to shut up about our country being plundered  (yes really) becoming another third world country.  It breaks my heart.

    The painting is a bit radical, but as an art appreciator, this painting, The Spear, depicts Zuma, our president (SA majority’s president, not mine, as I did not vote him in on principle, not race)  as he is corrupt and a bit of an idiot. Him of the shower debate about ‘he just has a shower to avoid Aids’ and he had 754 counts of fraud and various other charges , one of them rape, against him when he was voted in as president.

    I am one of the minority in SA, and I put up a blog for the minorities as a page to voice their opinions, thoughts, ideas on the what we as a minority can do to promote peaceful relations between the different cultures, races and population of SA. Also in support of the artist Brett Murray who is being victimised because he is a white artist. My name for the debate is  ‘Is the Spear (Zuma)  mightier than the Brush (Brett Murray)’ which is a pun on the adage: Is the Pen mightier than the Sword?  I have twisted it around, so hope it makes sense to you.  Zuma’s response to the buzz around the painting was that the media are only paper revolutionaries.  So is the pen mightier than the sword?   I had just finished writing my post, and got it out, when the painting was defaced by a white male in protest to the restrictions, and then a black man defaced it as well. They were both arrested without violence, but they saved the Goodman ( is that not a prophetic name for a Gallery)  from being burnt down. As the painting had to come down, which appeased the 400 odd ANC supporters outside who were ready to Klu Klux Klan the gallery.  So in doing that a white and black worked together for good, by doing bad.  Wonders never cease.

    Sorry to talk your ear off, but take a look at my blog, here is the link:

     put it up in a rush, and now need to get it out there.   Ps am aware of the mistakes, but the message should be clear.  Would also appreciate your comments, critique, advice, and help plus suggestions  on this site.

    Re platforms, I have made a start by joining Twitter (what a lot of rules and regulations!)  I am not a marketer, and hate marketing myself, but it is part of the whole blogisphere generation, so am now on the page.  Will do a wordpress blog for my women of words blog, once I have mastered this ‘platform’ story.  

    Thanks to you and all your advice I have been motivated to ‘do my bit’ and be my true self and write about the ugly and the good, if it can save and help others.

  46. Guest blogging. I’ve done a little just because I’ve been asked but it’s dawning on me that it’s time to focus on it more in my platform strategies.

  47. Really looking forward to reading this book.

    Something I haven’t done to to build my platform yet is to really maintain my home base. I’ve got a home base and it is built, but I find it difficult to ship and to constantly be creating content and putting my thoughts out there.

    Still working on the balance between shipping my work as a career and building a platform. I know this book will help.

  48. I am still building my blog, so there’s a lot I haven’t done yet. But specifically one of the the things you me toned? I haven’t participated in giveaways–not yet.

  49. I am really looking forward to reading this.  I’ve been blogging, on various platforms, for 7 years and never seem to get it together enough to take it to the next level.  Thanks for this (well, the whole site, really).

  50. for me it’s #4. i find twitter and fb really hard to get into, aside from using it to promote posts (mine and others’) and engage back-and-forths with a few. sometimes i’m really on track with it, but when i get busy it’s the first to go. i always find it hard to get back into. also, guest posting. i’ve written a list of 10 blogs i’d like to submit guest posts for by the end of this year. i *know* it’s my next step. thanks for the book recommendation. 

  51. I have not switched from Blogger to WordPress! I’m looking into doing that, but it can be quite overwhelming if you’re not tech-savvy.  

  52. I have been just like you – interesting but it won’t work for me.  I started doing a few things and did them right, (by fluke) but am ready to take the next step.  anything to cut down my time by doing it right the first time.  so if i don’t win, I’m off to buy Mike’s book.

  53. I’m a new blogger as of January, so to answer your question, I would say, “Define my purpose.” Oh, I THOUGHT I knew my purpose when I started. But after going through your Intentional Blogging course, I see I need to define it further. Thanks for all your insights and help. It truly has been invaluable!

  54. Ok, I totally believe I’ve done all these things and it hasn’t made a difference.  Don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

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