#summersparks DAY 9: Building a Platform by: Tracey M. Cox

Published June 29, 2014 by Tracey M. Cox

Summer Sparks

PLATFORM BUILDING

Can You Build It? Yes, You Can!

I want to touch on something that everyone is hearing about right now. PLATFORM BUILDING. I’m going to start with some basic information.   WHAT IS A PLATFORM A platform is quite simply how your audience views you. Are you helpful in the reading community? Do you give great resources for writers or illustrators? Do you offer material for teachers or librarians? Your platform focus should be who you want your audience to be. Your platform will also help build trust between you and your audience. This will create a ripple effect to where people will look for your books, material, advice, and spread word-of-mouth.   WHO NEEDS A PLATFORM EVERYONE needs a platform. I’m serious! If you are an enteprenuer (and that’s what you are writers!!!!), then you need a platform. Your platform will help you get your word out without being so pushy. People will come to understand you and feel they know you by the material you put out. This builds trust.   WHY DO WE NEED A PLATFORM We need a platform to expand our audience. People use different venues for information. By using more than one venue, you can reach more people and have a better chance of improving your search engine optimization on the internet. Who doesn’t want to have their links at the top of the search field?!?   WHERE CAN YOU FIND A PLATFORM Platform building is found on the internet (social media), the material you put out (books, magazine, newspapers), word of mouth, networking, reputation.   WHEN SHOULD YOU START BUILDING YOUR PLATFORM Now! Yes, I said right now. It does not matter if you don’t have a book out or if you have 50 books out. Begin now. Or start over now. Get a direction you want to take and stay on course. The more you have out there (and have it consistent), the more your audience will build trust with you and your products.       So now that you have an idea, let’s think about the building process. Think of PLATFORM BUILDING as a house that your identity lives in. What do you need for a sturdy, stable house? A foundation, material to build with, things to keep your material in place, and a roof.

FOUNDATION AND FRAME WORK:

Website/Blog Yes, you need to have one or both of these. What is the first thing you do when you want to find out information about something? If you are like me, you Google it. Right? Having a website is a solid foundation to where you can place your information in one place. If you have a blog, you can make an about me page where people can get to know you more. This is where people will come back time and again to get the information they need on you. Make it interesting and useful.   BUILDING MATERIAL: Content What do you want to be known for? Think along the lines of the field you are in… Non-Fiction or Fiction. Which children’s genre? Useful information such as agent or publishing information. Maybe you have resources for teachers, parents, or librarians. Do you want to target writers or illustrators? How about helping reluctant readers? There are plenty of ways you can reach people and have a great way of communicating.   KEEPING IT IN PLACE: Social Media Outlets Nail down what and who you want to reach by using social media. There are so many outlets out there. YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram are only a few. Try a few out. What I like to do is give it a good week to see if I really like it or not. You will find out what works for you, what you like and dislike, and they best avenues to reach your audience.   ROOF: Keeping it all in place Make sure people can find you easily. I’ve done this by trying to keep my ID consistent with my media outlets. You can find me by searching Tracey M. Cox, traceymcox, or traceymcoxauthor on any of my outlets. Also if you can put all this in one place that is an added plus. Remember your foundation? Yep, I have my links on my website in the top boarder. I also have most of them on my blog.     The thing to remember is it will take time to build your platform. Those of us who seem to be all over the place? Well, we’ve been building for a while. Take it one block at a time. Update often to keep your search engine optimization up. Just keep building, building, building. Before you know it, things will come together and you will have built a great platform that is sturdy and a great house for your identity to live in. :::LEAVE A COMMENT::: Let me know which social media outlets you struggle with? Which would you like to know more about?

Tracey M. Cox

wpid-2012-01-01-18.01.43.jpg Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a children’s author, local liaison for the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI, Founder/Director of Books Love & Taters Book Festival, co-founder (with Julie Gribble) of KidLit TV, and host of SUMMER SPARKS Writing Challenge. She also offers services on critiques with non- rhyming pb ms & as a platform building consultant. She lives in South Georgia with her husband, three children, and various fur-babies.

FIND TRACEY M. COX:

Website Blog Facebook Twitter

WRITING PROMPT:

We are entepreneurs. Maybe some of us were when we were children also. How many of you had a lemonade stand? Or maybe a paper route? I sold flowers… that I clipped from my grandmothers yard… when she wasn’t looking. *I know. BAD, TRACEY! BAD!* Some of us might have volunteered too. Make a list about the different businesses children can do. Now pick three and do some research. See if it’s been written about. Can you think of a unique angle?

Tracey will be giving away your choice of one of her picture books:

ShapingUptheYearcoverart   RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]   LGHL-small   justthethingtobe8x300   ADT-8x150   Arachnabet

to those of you who PRE-REGISTERED, COMMENT on this post, and COMPLETE the challenge.
Go to this RAFFLECOPTER LINK TO ENTER into the drawing to win under Tracey’s post!

Missed a SUMMER SPARK? Don’t worry, you can find them here:

Day 1: In Celebration of Summer Magic  by Kelly Milner Halls
Day 2:  The Power of Doodling  by Alison K. Hertz
Day 3: Cause & Effect  by Alayne Kay Christian
Day 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja  by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Day 5: A Visual Writing Prompt: Begin at the End  by Julie Gribble
Day 6: The Final Word  by Jodi Moore
Day 7: Inspiration Station  by Susanna Hill
Day 8: Voice and Word Choice in Picture Books by Tara Lazar
Day 9: Platform Building Can You Build It? Yes, You Can!  by Tracey M. Cox
Day 10: 5 Ways to Hook Your Reader with Your Very First Line  by Kirsti Call
Day 11: Burning Down the House aka Revision by Donna Earnhardt
Day 12: Persistence  by Donna M. McDine
Day 13: Writing Your Way to a Spark  by Kris Dinnison
Day 14: Hope In Your Heart  by Carol Gordon Ekster
BONUS: What Songs Rock Your World?  by Claire Rudolf Murphy
THAT’S A WRAP!
Follow-up #1: TIPS
Follow-up #2: 9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Prize Announcement: Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

36 comments on “#summersparks DAY 9: Building a Platform by: Tracey M. Cox

  • Platform building is an everyday effort, even it’s just one connection with one other person it’s a step in the right direction. Great writing prompt!

  • One block at a time…good advice! I just remembered my childhood entrepreneurial experience! Great idea!

  • I have a question – if you have an account on a social media outlet, and you basically don’t use it, do you delete the account? Keep allowing people to “add you” even though you don’t do anything there? I am active on FB, somewhat so on twitter, less so on goodreads and pinterest, and barely there on Google plus. Have wondered if I should get rid of my google plus account, since I NEVER post there, and the only thing I ever do is sometimes a hangout if that is how folks are doing their group chat. Sometimes I add people to my circles if they have added me first – but only when I am “in the mood.” Is there harm in having an inactive account on social media?

    Great post, Tracey. Thanks :)

  • Hi Joanne. There are pros and cons to having an inactive account.
    Pro: You have that name reserved. This keeps your name or brand from being misrepresented.

    Con: It’s inactive. I wouldn’t include links to inactive outlets. Maybe put a post directing people to your website or blog. This way people will know where you can be found at.

    Honestly, I would keep the Google+ account. What do you do when you search for something? You “google” it, right. Google is the #1 search engine and all thong Google (including YouTube) are connected. Plus, if you are doing video of some sort, Google Hangout On Air is connected to your YouTube channel.

    I understand what you are saying though. It’s a lot! I work on things in blocks. 5 minutes for this one, 10 minutes for that one, maybe 30 minutes for one I’m improving on. The thing is moderation and leave time to write. :)

  • Thanks for the great reminder, Tracey! Your prompt is a unique one…I think my kids have tried some crazy things—like selling paper sculptures, etc….

  • Hi Tracey, great post. Any chance you could build on what you were saying to Joanne? I have a Google+ account! but like Joanne really haven’t used it much — reason being (besides time) is I’m not really certain how to use it — same with my goodreads account. Any suggestions for maximizing my time on these two sites? Thanks. Oh and I sold stones. They were painted. :)

  • I know I need to build a platform but often it feels like I’m “wasting” valuable writing time. Thanks Tracey for this post. I’ll try to remember to move forward one block at a time.

  • Teresa, I use to love painting stones! Never sold them though.
    Google+ is like fb, but you can choose easier who your posts go to. That is where the circles come in. You create those. I have work, friends, family, media specialists, plus more. I can choose to send a message to a certain group if I wish or post to everyone. (You can do this on fb too) There are also communities that you can join… book talks, writers, etc that are like fb groups. G+Hangout goes hand-in-hand with your account. You can use text or video to talk. G+Hangout On Air automatically records your Hangout to your YouTube channel. Almost all of my videos are done through G+HOA.
    Goodreads. Honestly, I’m still learning about Goodreads. What I have learned so far is that it is a good platform to network, review books, and hold contests.
    To maximize time? Set a timer. Is its something I’m doing research on, I’ll give it 30 minutes tops. Doing something for fun, 10-15. Also use a planner. There’s one on your phone. Make appointments to yourself. Examples can be research, writing, looking into Google+, set up an account, make 2 posts, go to fb and market book, and so on. Some things will take a few minutes, others longer. Now stick to that schedule.

  • Tracey: Slowly, I believe I am buidling my *house* or my platform. I agree social media is important. I blog, a WordPress, FB, Pinterest, Instagram. Google+! Yep, I am expanding my house. However, my concern is finding the balance. There are many days when I feel my time on the Internet means less actual writing time. Sure, I can learn and grow and read about the craft of writing, but it is best to just write, and write some more; then repeat and revise and edit and polish. I think I need to use my time more wisely. Thank you. ~Suzy Leopold

  • Enjoyed reading your post. Platform seems to be my stumbling block because I’m not sure how to build a platform with my writing.

  • Suzy, I’m right there with you. Writing is first and foremost with me too. That is the reason why I’m out there. It is a balancing act. I’ve told plenty of people, when in doubt… write!

  • Jenifer, Take one step at a time. Get your name out there. Start with a website or webpage. All it needs is to be something people can touch base with you. And as always write, write, write.

  • I’ve read so many blog posts from various people. Most of them contain the same general information. What your post did that the others didn’t was to honestly state how long it will take. Time is often the biggest obstacle for me. With a busy off-line life and then computer time for writing, it really is a somewhat slow, gradual process.

  • Thanks for this, Tracey! I really wish I’d started building my platform before getting published. I’m thankful to have the time now to build it up slowly before the second book comes out but there is a lot to be said for building the platform before publication!

  • Linda, It really does. I am a wife, a mother, and a writer. Plus I enjoy doing different activities. One thing I do is make a point to set a goal for the week. Then I’d ai have some down time, I work it in.
    Also I carve out 3-4 hours a day to work on my craft. Part of that is writing, part of it researching, follow up, and yes platform building. I know not everyone can do that much and some may do others, but slowly you can build.

  • Great post, Tracey! I started to build my platform years ago by setting up a MySpace, Blogger and Live Journal account and then I became a member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The BlueBoards and Goodreads as well as getting a WordPress account… but because of health issues I had to cut back and so I put my 3 online critique groups (you were in my Storytellers Roundtable one, remember?) on hiatus and cut back on my social media to just Facebook and once in a while LinkedIn and Twitter but am still not sure as to all the ins and out of using Twitter.… I still have all of them and hope to get them up and running someday… people can easily find me even if they don’t remember my name as all they have to do is look for the photo of Canoe.

  • I now have a blog!! And I’ve upgraded my website to build it up in preparation of the launch of my first picture book, Buster the Little Garbage Truck, in April! Hooray!

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