The Kind of Platform You Should Be Building

A couple years ago, I left the country. With 19 other people, I spent five days traveling through Guatemala, serving local NGOs that were improving the lives of those living in poverty.

The Kind of Platform You Should Be Building

Halfway through the trip, I looked around in awe. We 20 strangers gathered together for a purpose bigger than ourselves to do work that wasn’t about us, leaving each person changed through the process, including me.

How did all this happen? One word: Platform.

This group of people had connected to each other and to me through a blog, and then a book that I wrote a few years ago. And now we were in another country, doing things we never would have imagined: sleeping in hostels; taking cold showers; touring the city dump and embracing the sick, diseased, and downtrodden. All because of a platform.

The experience rocked me to my core and gave me the perspective I needed to appreciate what a platform is really supposed to be about.

What does this mean for you?

Everyone has something to say. I believe that with all my heart. And in a noisy world full of distraction, we need a way to way to get heard, a way that is not completely about us. That’s called a platform.

A platform is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a stage on which we stand to share our message. It’s not an end to itself (i.e. “Hey, look at me and how great I am!”). But rather, it’s a means to an end.

We don’t build a platform so the world thinks much of us. We build a platform so we can change the world.

Or at least, that’s why we should.

For a long time, I didn’t understand this. I had a blog nobody read. Nobody was changed by my word, and no one thanked me for my words. After years of failure, I threw my hands up in frustration and wondered, What was I doing wrong?

Don’t make it all about you

People are smarter than most marketers think. They can tell when you’re trying too hard or when you’re presenting a cleverly-presented pitch that helps you more than it does them. And that’s what I was doing with my first foray into social media.

I was making it all about me.

My blog was about getting other people to like me. It was about attention and accolades. I would chase fame, no matter what the cost, sacrifice or compromise anything just to be known. It was pathetic, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. And no surprise: the blog failed.

It wasn’t until I quit my blog and started over that I learned the ever-important lesson of focusing the attention away from myself. And that’s when things began to change. Turns out, when you make your platform about other people, they’ll make it about you.

And when you build an audience sharing a message that matters, you can change the world.

Here’s your challenge

We all are building a legacy. With our words and actions, we are making our mark on the world, one way or another. So why not create a legacy that will endure, one that gives more than it takes?

Whatever stage you’re building — be it a blog, a business, or a butcher’s shop (sorry, just had to keep with the alliteration) — make it about someone else.

You don’t have to be huge; you just have to be helpful.

Ask questions, offer solutions, see what a difference you can make. Because the truth is we don’t find our purpose in life by looking in the mirror, staring at ourselves. We find it by looking out the window at a world in need.

So, dear friends, it’s time to open up our eyes and decide what kind of platform we ought to be building. If you need help getting started, check out my free guide to launching a blog. Just click the link below (it’ll take you through a step-by-step tutorial on launching a self-hosted WordPress blog on any budget).

Click here to learn how to launch a blog that can change the world.

And if you already have a blog, it’s time to share! Leave a comment below with a link to a blog post you’re proud of.

How are you using your message to help others? Share a recent blog post in the comments.

125 thoughts on “The Kind of Platform You Should Be Building

  1. I must say – and this comes directly from my hart; this is one of the best and most refreshing articles I’ve read on the subject networking (or building a platform).

    I had my “networking glasses” on while reading – hence my mercantile angel here. I’ve must have read hundreds of articles in newsletters, books, eBooks, magazines, blogs, white papers and on LinkedIn about building platforms – smart networking this and connecting strategies that; “Top 10 tips for networking”, “3 must do strategies for connecting”, “How to build valuable connections”, “Content is vital if you want your network to grow”, “How to brand yourself” etc. etc. etc.
    And it is truly tiresome. Exhausting in fact.
    Networking is really hard work – if one want’s it to have a function beyond “niceties”. I know that. And input on any subject is necessary to get more knowledge. I know that too. But I was getting very near a case of total information overload on this subject. Almost didn’t open the newsletter with this article.
    But I am so glad I did! No jargon. No hype. No words or statements you need to Google first to get the true meaning of. Just refreshing common sense! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Thank you for the post. I’ve noticed a lot of blogs turning off comments too, but I always thought that part of the reason for having a blog is the interaction with the readers. I want to serve the people who read my blog and the best way to do that is by getting to know them. Most of my readership never leaves comments though. Instead they tend to email me back directly when I send out my weekly email. Here’s a post I wrote recently that I’m very proud of:

  3. Jeff,

    This might be your best post ever.

    Serve serve serve. He who is last shall be first. Simple, Godly wisdom, as we’ve come to expect from you.

    The irony of that teaching is that no matter how hard we try to advance ourselves, serving others is more effective 100% of the time. The less we strive to promote ourselves, the harder it becomes to keep up with all the opportunities that a servant lifestyle presents to us.

    My most read post was a letter I wrote to an entrepreneur who emailed me in frustration and said, “I’m not getting anywhere. I think I’m going to hang it up.”

    I wrote back about what to do when you want to quit:

    Thank you for another reminder of what this is all about.

    You’re changing the space, one great post at a time.

    God bless.


  4. Hi Jeff

    Been reading your blog and I have been inspired by your words. I was inspired to write this post after reading your eBook on the Secret of Success. Please do check the post when you have the time.

    Reading this post today, I was so inspired and amazed because you gave me hope and my blog theme is based on creating a platform for people to make a difference. Thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration

  5. Your post reminds me that I need to blog more often. That space is where I express what’s on my heart, which includes helping people and stopping pain, yet I don’t do it often enough because I’m so focused on the business of writing. Thank you for the inspiration. Here’s one that I actually wrote a long time ago, but reprinted on my blog because I think it’s so important: How to Stop Slavery in Your City or Town:

  6. Thank you for reminding us that it’s not about us, but to serve others. My blog is about family, faith and special needs. Not necessarily in that order. I have been wanting to write a book for several years about our journey with my son who has Down syndrome and autism. Because of his dual diagnosis, i have often felt like we don’t belong in either “camp” but there are more like us than most realize. I want special-needs parents to know they aren’t alone. But so often those who do not special-needs children tell me, “I had no idea,”” and thank me for sharing our experiences. Here’s my most recent post:

  7. Hi Jeff! Givers get! By giving and speaking directly and personally to our avatar we can build connection.

    I believe in great writing and continual growth but I don’t think perfectionist should stop us releasing out words. Imperfect action is better than imperfect inaction.

    I’ve recently started blogging – – and I’ve authored and coauthored a few books.

    And I’m in love writing and I’m so excited about finding my calling at long last.

    I just discovered you via a friend (Keith Griffis) sharing your new book offer on Facebook. (I’m in Australia.) Now I’m feasting on your blogs and podcasts!


  8. Thank you, this is great. I’m recently having to rebuild my audience, and this is super important to make it about the audience. 🙂

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