In Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Thomas Nelson), Michael Hyatt offers advice not only on developing influence via social media but on monetizing that influence and turning it into a sustainable, long-term career. Hyatt was CEO of Thomas Nelson for six years and now serves as its chairman. He blogs at www.MichaelHyatt.com.
What’s your definition of a “platform”? What does it mean to have a strong one?
A platform is something you stand on to be seen and heard. Until about six years ago, having a platform meant having a radio or TV show, a newspaper or magazine column, a bestselling book, or celebrity status. Today, a platform is about leading a tribe of engaged followers.
What do you think the role of social media is in business management today?
Social media enables you to leverage your communication and influence in ways that are unprecedented. Suddenly, everyone has a microphone and everyone is connected to everyone else. This is a mixed blessing. If you have a remarkable product, word travels fast and can help you succeed. But the opposite is also true. If your product leaves customers disappointed, word also travels fast and can lead to your downfall.
What’s your own platform for this book?
Primarily my blog. I currently have more than 300,000 unique visitors a month, including 65,000 who subscribe to my daily posts. About 120,000 follow me on Twitter and 20,000 on Facebook. In addition, my podcast is downloaded by more than 25,000 people a week.
How could business books be better?
They need to be more practical and specific. So many business books don’t translate the information into “news you can use.” That’s one of the things I tried to do in my book. At the beginning of the project, I decided I would not write about anything I had not personally done in building my own platform. I chronicled my own failures and successes, and laid out the steps to get from where you are to where you want to be.
What advice would you give someone who has a brilliant idea for a product but no idea where to start? What’s the first step?
The first step is to create a written proposal. You need a clear and compelling pitch that you can use with gatekeepers, potential partners, and your own tribe. You can’t succeed alone. And your proposal should be short. People are busy. If you can’t state it briefly, you aren’t yet clear about it in your own mind.
What is the relationship between creating a great book and establishing a strong platform?
Content is king, but platform is queen. To succeed in today’s noisy world, you must have both. Authors can’t afford to leave the platform-building to their publishers. Those days are gone. If they want to maximize their impact—and control their own future—they must connect directly with their readers and grow their tribe.