The word that circulated in my mind as I read Michal Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World was integrity. Ever since I concluded that I was created by God to be a writer, I have shuddered at the whole idea of marketing. It always seemed like a process that demeaned everything I stood for. Platform lifts marketing out of the used car lot and sets it on higher ground. In Chapter 1, at Kindle location 397, the author talks about the product you are trying to sell, saying, “It’s a cause you are championing, a message you are passionate about.” In other words, his topic is not how to sell more newspapers on a street corner. This book is about the way you call attention to a message that hearers will care about as much as you do. Your message is unique and uniquely you. Platform is about raising your unique, passionate message above the fray in order that the people who need your message, your product, your service, your cause, can actually receive it. Platform is a call to be your best self, not to be the loudest and most flamboyant entrepreneur in the marketplace. Writers who shrink from spending time on Facebook or Twitter, because they think such activity trivializes their work will discover a whole new perspective on these activities. Writers who have been advised to block entry to their sites with “squeeze boxes” or artists who think they need Flash images bouncing all over their blogs will breathe a sigh of relief. At last, a book on “marketing” that is not really about marketing. Rather, it is about how to achieve success in your work without compromising your principles. Yet it is simultaneously a guide to all the best available technology available to be used in service of your mission.
Platform is organized perfectly for use as a personal project plan to build your own platform. Chapters are brief and tightly focused. You will treasure the tidy lists that make it easy to tackle each recommended step. You will be grateful for the logical progression that does not require flipping back and forth through the chapters to get the message. You can and you should read Platform straight through before you begin trying to use it, because you need the big picture. You will want to start working immediately, but don’t stop. You need the whole picture first. After that first pass, you should go back and start at chapter 1, reading thoughtfully and working through each step in the process that will build your own platform. On my first pass, I wrote down a few notes that I know will be part of my project, because I did not want to lose those first, fresh reactions to the material. Still, I feel certain that those notes will be chewed up, discarded, refreshed and reshaped a few times before my work is done.
Every artist, whether a writer, a photographer, a consultant or a missionary to lepers, or any other person who lives a life shaped by the call to excellence in any endeavor, wants to connect with people who need this product. That call to excellence in your work is mirrored in Platform by calls to integrity in the process of sharing your message. In the final chapter, almost the final words, Hyatt says, at Kindle location 4050,”The key to monetizing your art without selling your soul is to offer ads, products, and services that are congruent with your brand and will add value to your readers.” In other words, build your platform with the same integrity you express in the work you offer to the world. After reading this book, I realized that if my work means what I say it means, then a platform whose strength is integrity is the only platform on which I can safely offer my work to people. I think every artist will benefit from reading and using the guidance offered in Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.
I am sure you are eager now to buy this book, but don’t buy it yet. Wait! Michael will offer some exciting gifts to purchasers during the week May 21-25. Be watching for the announcement of the special gifts.
I received this book free from the author along with a request to post a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”