Wednesday was the last day of Platform Conference. I decided to attend, forgoing my annual trip to the American Rental Association trade show as these both overlapped. I am so glad that I made that decision. I have been so inspired by the speakers. I know also that the decision was the right one for my fledgling blog, and my businesses. The content delivered by the speakers was priceless, as were the connections made over those two days in Franklin, TN. I initially thought that I would do a full recap post to pass the information on to my readers. This would also serve as a personal record for future reference of the key points that moved me. However, with around 50 pages of notes that idea has had to be revised. I am going out on a limb here, bravely stepping out. This post will only be on the conference opening session by Michael Hyatt. I will then publish follow on posts covering each speaker in the order that they spoke, providing the weblinks that they gave where appropriate. I plan to turn back to these posts often for the guidance I know they will give me and I urge you to do the same. Keep in mind, though, that these notes are in no way a replacement for actually attending this conference. So much content is delivered and you simply cannot replicate the relationships you establish while chatting and breaking bread with fellow attendees and presenters. Enjoy my recap of Platform Conference Session #1 with Michael Hyatt.
Michael Hyatt produced the conference along with his longtime business partner, Ken Davis. His presentation was: Platform: Developing a Framework for Success. The presentation was quick a walk-through the key areas of the Michael’s book ‘Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World’.
In ‘As You Like It’, William Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage.” In a modern-day interpretation provided by Michael we can consider that all the world is filled with messages, websites, blogs, advertising, and branding. If we are in the business of having our business, product or personal brand heard, we have to consider how we will cut through the ‘noise’ of all those competing for the attention of the world on the same stage, or ‘platform’. YouTube alone has more video content uploaded in 60 days than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years. Add to that over 165 million blogs, millions of websites, Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other digital options and suddenly getting your content noticed becomes much more challenging.
What is the solution?
ESTABLISH A PLATFORM
A platform is a virtual stage from which your message can be transmitted. How will it help? Michael outlined four ways that a physical platform helps a real person. These have equal application in a virtual or digital world. The four are:
- VISIBILITY - A platform will get your head above the crowd,
- AMPLIFICATION – A platform will give you a megaphone, enhance your voice,
- CONNECTION - A platform gives you bilateral intimacy with an audience, feedback essentially, and finally,
- OPTIONS - A platform when developed gives options for what to do next including a new career, more income, and subject authority.
Having established that a platform is needed, how do we get there? Michael next took us through the five key steps that must be followed if one is to have a reasonable chance of success. Most of these steps were then amplified by the successive speakers. The five frameworks are:
- Start with WOW. You must have enthusiasm, splash, zing, energy. This must be transferred into your product. Without it everything else that you do is going to be irrelevant. You will develop your product for the benefit of no one and it will ultimately fail. You must exceed your audience expectations. To do this of course you must be very clear on what the audience expectations are. Spend the time to understand your audience and what they want. With wow comes sharing. Share generously. Also, don’t hold anything back. Don’t save the best for later, you may never get another chance with your audience. Give your all to achieve the WOW. On the flip side you cannot wait so long for everything to be just right that you never get to start. At some point you must ship as Seth Godin says.
- Prepare to LAUNCH. You have to get your mental perspective and mindset right. Michael noted that this is one the most important skills to gain. By this he means that you have to accept personal responsibility for your success. No one else will be there to make you or your brand famous. You must think bigger. To grow you must take risks. Set goals and make sure you date them. Fewer than 2% of people who set life goals set dates on them. As you get ready to launch, assemble a pit crew. You need people around you who can help you accomplish your goals. Find those people and ensure that you nurture a relationship with them. Focus on what you do best and see where your pit crew can assist with other non core areas. Delegation is the key to acceleration in any business and acceleration is the key to growth.
- Establish your HOME BASE. You must build a social framework to allow for the conversation and the amplification to truly happen. Why? Well consider that a home base is your blog or website. You essentially have total control over it. No one will come along and change what you are allowed to put up on your site. Its yours. However, you know that your audience has to find you so you need a presence in non-controlled locations such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These sites you can consider your embassies. The branded presence that you establish in these locations is not fully within your control but they assist you in reaching your audience because that is where your audience is. Finally, you must monitor your audience, your product and your name using a service like Google Alerts. This is an outpost that you have no control over whatsoever, but it feeds information back to you at your home base. You can then react to or correct this information at home base or at your embassies. A key principle is that home base and embassy sites should cross link, with the key objective being to bring your audience back to your home base.
- Expand your REACH. Traditional marketing is dying. We are now living in a permission based advertising world where any member of the audience must invite you in via a subscription or a membership. Without that they will tune you out as there are so many other options available to them. Consider if selling was repositioned as sharing. Would you consider that a valuable proposition? What is your expertise? What if you shared that with the world? Social media rewards generosity. Be generous and your reach will expand as your audience members share with their audience acting as a trusted referral on your behalf. This authentic reach beats any traditional media reach hands down and must be carefully cultivated.
- Engage your TRIBE. The concept of the audience as a tribe has been well described by many including Seth Godin back in 2008 in his book of the same name. It is vital to understand that a tribe, your audience, is not constrained by geography, age or income. It is limited by your niche focus, a limit that you must set and clearly define. Be very clear on your focus and you will define very clearly your tribe. Once defined and growing, you must nurture your tribe of followers. Learn from them through their feedback and suggestions. Be honest and open with them. Ensure that you build on the relationship. This is a responsibility you bear as the leader of the tribe. Be present. Be engaged. To abdicate that responsibility is to set yourself up for failure.
Michael wrapped up with a few illustrations of the commitment needed to get to the goal.
- In Andy Andrews, now a bestselling author of over 12 books, he cited the tenacity needed to get the first publishing deal he had. 52 rejection letters came in before he finally succeeded. So many people quit right before they are about to succeed in their dream.
- Attending a Tony Robbins event Michael related how he found himself walking on hot coals in an exercise along with the group he was with. You know what he did? He took the first step and kept walking. He stepped out bravely. Mainly he started trusting that he would get to the other side ok. And you will too, but you must start. You must ship your work. I would add here a related quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ”Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
I hope you find this recap post helpful. I highly encourage you to read Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World‘. If this initial recap of Platform Conference has you interested for more please consider signing up for the next session in Dallas, TX, November 3-5.
My next recap post will be on Session #2 delivered by Michael’s business partner Ken Davis. He presented on ‘Creating WOW’ and his insights truly were. I hope you will come back and read that post. That will be followed in order by recaps of sessions by Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Cliff Ravenscraft, Andrew Buckman, Carrie Wilkerson, John Saddington, Stu McLaren, and Pat Flynn. You’re going to want to read these!
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Finally, keep the conversation going. What are your thoughts on the framework outlined here? Am I serving you, my audience, well by doing these in-depth recaps? Let me know in a comment if you have the time. And thank you for yours for reading.