I’m one of those guilty of neglecting one aspect of my life when the other gets hectic. For instance, I ignore my friends when my job gets demanding, and stop exercising as long as my jeans fit. As a writer I unintentionally create an imbalance between writing and building a platform. Though some argue that writing is far more important than the platform itself, finding a balance between the two is critical. I know this post is directed to writers, but anyone else looking to start a career or a business can relate to this.
First of all, let’s talk about the importance of building a platform. When writing, you work your brain’s muscles to the limits to come up with a piece of art. However, after the creative work is done, writing becomes a business, and the writer becomes a businessman who needs to pitch and sell his creations. That is when building a platform comes in. It’s like creating a market to sell your product to.
Creating this market can be performed through several venues: blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook’s personal and fan pages… All are important and efficient. However, the most important of all is timing. For instance, if you wrote a novel (or developed a product), found yourself a decent publisher (or investor), your book hit the bookstores, then you decided to start building a platform, then you are a tad too late. Not that no one will buy your book if you arrive late; the thing, however, is that you need to build a lasting connection with your readers.
Purchasing a book, like any other purchasing decision, undergoes a certain cognitive process that transports the consumer from the point of awareness of his need to point of purchase and beyond. To arrive at the purchase point, the customer needs to believe that the probability that he will regret the purchase is minimal. That’s when their familiarity with the writer (or any other professional) comes in handy. Your customers need to trust and be familiar with who you are as a writer and a person before they put money out of their pockets into yours. “[Trust] plays a vital role in almost any commerce involving monetary transactions,” says Dan J. Kim in his paper Trust and Satisfaction, Two Stepping Stones for Successful E-Commerce.
Also, many publishers (as well as investors) examine the size of your platform before they sign a book deal with the writer. Not that any book had been rejected due to the size of an author’s platform (unlike many business deals that get rejected if the entrepreneur doesn’t have a solid market platform). A decent following, therefore, is a major advantage in the eyes of investors.
Now that you know a couple of important reasons why building a platform is important, let’s talk about the balance between creating and selling. First, I’m one of those guilty of neglecting my blog on several occasions, especially when I’m too busy with writing. However, I discovered that staying active on social media was easier than I thought.
In you free time, write a number of posts for the coming week or so, and place them in a folder. Sure you will have time to post them online during the afternoon. There are also features on WordPress that helps you schedule your posts to appear at a certain time. That way you can remain active even in your sleep! In fact, this post you’re reading was scheduled to appear on your timeline from the night before. This feature can also be applied using an application like Tweetdeck for Twitter.
It’s important to know that staying connected is not just about posting, it’s also about interacting with your audience. Mingle with my followers by reading their posts and commenting on them from time to time. It’s a way of showing that you care and of saying: You’re not just a prospect buyer to me. At the end of the day, people who genuinely care about you are the ones who would support you the most. So strive to build lasting relations with those around you — even virtually.
How do you maintain a balance between doing your business and building your business’s platform?
Connect with me on Twitter: @MissBenison
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