During the Platform Conference in Franklin, TN, I took a crazy amount of notes. In the two weeks after the conference I posted recaps of all the presentations. Looking back on it, they are a bit hard to find so this, for your convenience, is a roundup of the 10 posts in my epic recap series. As I noted in one of the first recaps, this information in no way replaces the experience of actually being there. Please, if any of this information resonates with you, go ahead and make the commitment to attend the next Platform Conference or find out where any of these presenters are speaking and make it your mission to get there and interact with them. They are all delightful, caring, generous people who succeed because they genuinely want you to succeed.
All presenters have their websites and featured resources linked in their individual recap post. For ease of following them on Twitter I have linked each name below to their twitter feed. Thus the first link is the twitter feed for the speaker, and the second is to my blog post recapping that speaker. Enjoy, and please take a moment to comment here on this roundup post or directly in any of the individual posts that may have spoken to you.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income blog was the 10th presentation at Platform Conference. Tough room to work too – mid-morning, just before the coffee break, the last speaker at the conference, and coming on after the super dynamic Stu McLaren. Well, he nailed it. How? Why he did a trumpet solo of course. Seriously. It turns out that Pat played trumpet in the famous University of California, Berkley, marching band. In fact, he ended his band career as their leader. The tie in becomes clear later as he wrapped up his presentation on “Platform to Profit: How to Earn an Income Online Without Selling Your Soul.” So how did this self-described ‘marching band nerd’ get to close out the Platform Conference? Read on.
Pat threw out one word at us – CARE. To him this word is what makes all the difference in life, in work. Care in the quality of your content. Care in the impact of the first impression. Care about your audience. If you can nail this aspect with authenticity and sustainability you are probably going to be ok. In fact, the better you are at this caring approach is the better you will be at earning revenue. Pat pointed out that earnings in this business is a byproduct of how well an audience, a tribe, is served. You must always be considering how you can add value to your followers.
This recap is the penultimate in my recap series on the Platform Conference held in February in Franklin, TN. In this 9th installment I cover the presentation delivered by Stu McLaren, co-founder of WishList Member, the most popular WordPress membership site platform, and a self-described tech entrepreneur. Stu, together with the next (and last) speaker, Pat Flynn, spoke on techniques to monetize the platform that you have created if you have followed the advice of the earlier speakers. The key in all this, though, is not to generate revenue for revenue sake. Instead it is about generating revenue to maximise the impact you have on your tribe. The mantra – “multiply your profits, multiply your impact.” For Stu, he gives back through World Teacher Aid. Read on to see his outline for ways you could develop your platform into a membership site.
The focus of Stu’s talk was on the creation of a monthly (or similar) form of recurring subscription model for your internet outpost. Obviously content is king. You have to have something that others want to pay for before this even matters. However, before you get to that point, it is good to know the concepts so that you build content intentionally that supports the eventual monetization of your website or blog.
The eighth speaker at the Franklin, TN, Platform Conference was visionary entrepreneur John Saddington. John is the founder of 8Bit, a self-described band of digital rapscallions. One of their products is Standard Theme, a premium WordPress theme for publishers and photographers. If you like the layout of my blog then you like Standard Theme as it’s what I use. John spoke to us on ‘Finding Opportunity in the Ordinary’ and outlined a method for looking at the things around us that can help in giving direction on what our platform could be, focus if we already know it, and ideas if we are stuck.
As so many speakers had, John related his ‘story’ as he opened. He described being a student of engineering, breaking some rules, failing at engineering, taking two masters degrees at Dallas Theological Seminary. None of this speaks to the ‘normal’ path to net success. However, if you have been reading along on the 10 part series you will have discerned a subtle truism. There is no normal path. You have to be you, and you have to share a lot of you with others.
Our seventh speaker in the Platform Conference recap series is Carrie Wilkerson, better known as the Barefoot Executive. Carrie was the perfect antidote to the post lunch slump. Energetic does not begin to describe her. She spoke to us on Filling Your Stadium: Building More Fans, Friends, & Followers. Who knew the Wonderful Wizard of Oz would figure so prominently into this presentation? Join me after this awesome Lego representation of
Carrie described herself as almost an accidental success story. Leaving the corporate world to be a stay at home mom to two toddlers she had adopted she found that her priorities changed as did her workplace. Since then she’s has built several businesses as well as being a coach to others. Along the way she described overcoming extreme debt, losing 110 pounds and having two more children. Her big leap into ‘brand name’ recognition followed the publication of her book, “The Barefoot Executive’. Much of the advice she gives in the book comes from her own experience, but she had to be talked into writing the book as she initially felt that she was not qualified to write it. She already had a large following but was conflicted in her mind on how best to proceed. She knew that in defining her niche she was inevitably going to lose some of those followers.
Therein lies a key learning. Don’t be afraid to NICHE DOWN. Continued focus on a clearly defined niche will alienate some of your tribe that is looking for broader content. However, it will multiply the followers who are looking for targeted content in the niche. Content without the fluff. These are the followers that really care about the message and are the raving fans we all seek.