We hear this a lot from potential influencers:

I want to get into public speaking FIRST, and then I’ll build my online presence.  

And this:

Of course I’ll start blogging, but I want to write a book first.

And even this:

I’m hiring a PR firm because they’ll get me publicity.  

It’s not that books, public speaking or PR firms are inherently bad — not at all! — it’s that books, public speaking, and PR firms are inherently useless if you don’t have a platform to convert your audience.

That’s where Flow comes in. Flow engineered a process designed to help influencers build their digital platforms, which in turn, elevates their expertise. All of this for the purpose of bridging influencers to more opportunities such as book sales, speaking engagements, and industry recognition.  

If you forget everything in this article, remember this:

 

Authors

Put yourself in the publisher’s shoes. Why would you agree to do a book if the author doesn’t have a fan base? Authors need digital platforms for 3 reasons:

1. Publishers want to see a receptive audience for future books. It gives them confidence that the book will sell. They need reassurance that your advance money won’t be wasted.  

2. A digital platform will do the heavy lifting of marketing your book. The majority of books are bought online. Digital platforms are quickly becoming an author’s most prized piece of marketing real estate because future fans want to know they can trust your message before buying your book.

3. Self-publishing is also a great option and even if your strategy isn’t about book sales, but rather handing out books to demonstrate authority, you’re going to want to convert those readers to followers, subscribers, and future customers.

Without a strong digital platform, authors miss out on publishing opportunities, book sales, and future fans.

Speakers

Imagine you’re an event organizer. You want to hire a speaker who will engage the audience, right? More importantly, you want PROOF that the speaker can engage and connect with an audience.

So why would you hire someone to woo a crowd if they can’t woo an online fanbase?

Sizzle reels are table stakes for speakers. But that’s not what event organizers or speaking bureaus are looking for. They want to know what value you can provide to their audience and that value is hard to ascertain in a sizzle reel alone.

By creating surround sound online and constantly creating valuable content, it not only tells organizers and agents that they should hire you, but that your value is higher than other speakers.

Higher value equals higher speaking fees.  

Industry experts

You’re all about pioneering new ideas and innovative concepts. You monitor industry trends. You’re the “go-to” person in your field … or at least that’s who you want to be. How do you expect people to reach you if they can’t find you? How do you expect people to believe you have little or no evidence of your experience and expertise?

Media mentions don’t do justice. While it’s great to publish articles in niche magazines, you shouldn’t depend solely on “borrowing” real estate from other platforms. Those articles can provide short-term spikes in awareness, but what good is that if you can’t convert them?  

People are searching for the wisdom you have locked inside your brain. You need a digital foundation so that they can find you.

That’s what Flow does. We work with you to establish a foundation for your expertise. We call this your digital platform.

 

Platforms: Past & Present

A platform is simply a vehicle to reach people, quite literally: “a raised floor or stage used by public speakers or performers so that they can be seen by their audience. A platform is permission to make your message heard. It amplifies your voice and gives authority to your ideas. In other words, influence is only as strong as the platform it stands on.  

In the past we called platforms of influence “stages,” “publishing deals,” and “media contracts.”

But that was then. This is now. Your platform is online, and your ability to reach the highest level of success as an industry expert relies heavily, if not entirely, on your digital presence.

Just like a speaker elevates themselves on a physical stage, an influencer elevates their message on a digital platform. These platforms play a foundational role in influencing others.

building your influence

Here’s what you need to know about how they work.

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Digital Platforms: The 5 W’s

WHY A Digital Platform:

Why do digital platforms matter to you? Consider the FACTS. A strong digital platform will:

  • Create visibility: Get seen by people who need to hear your message.
  • Convey credibility: Show wisdom in your area of expertise.  
  • Connect possibilities: Earn the attention of raving fans who will open doors.

WHAT Is Your Digital Platform:

Your digital platform is your website, your blog, your social media profiles, or even your email list. You can build a platform from scratch – such as buying your own domain name and creating your own website – or build your platform into an existing network.

Every niche has a platform and every platform has a niche. Just glance at this graphic and you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about.

digital platforms
(Image source)

WHERE Is Your Digital Platform:

‘Where’ represents your greatest opportunity as a digital influencer: your platform goes WHERE-ever your audience is.

Physical factors relegate traditional platforms of influence to specific times and to specific locations. Digital platforms are everywhere at any time. The only limiting factor is your ability to build one and to correctly locate your audiences’ ever-shifting attention.

Consider this: the average person will scroll 74 feet of internet every day. That’s 74 feet worth of opportunity for you to reach your audience on a daily basis.  

WHEN Are You On Your Digital Platform:

Your 74 feet worth of opportunity must stay fresh and maintain contextual relevance. Does that mean you post twice a day on Instagram and blog 3 times a week? Or blog 3 times a month? How many Tweets per day?

As an influencer, the ‘when’ of your digital platform should revolve around consistency rather than frequency. You’ll know what frequency is right for you AFTER you’re able to set and follow a consistent schedule. Then you can decide to increase (or decrease) frequency.  

To give an idea of what you’re up against, take a look at the average internet minute of 2017:

  • 120 new LinkedIn accounts were created
  • 46,200 Instagram posts were made
  • 4.1 million YouTube videos were viewed
  • 156 million emails were sent

Without a regular stream of content & activity, digital platforms grow stale and we all know Google prefers new content over old content. However, we understand that entrepreneurs don’t have the time to produce content like this at scale. That’s precisely the problem we solve.

Become an influencer

WHO Owns Your Digital Platform:  

With barely zero barrier to entry, digital platforms are for everybody. Even doggie influencers. That said, authorities and influential (human) figures should OWN their digital platforms instead of RENT space on someone else’s.

When you own your digital platform, you own the intellectual property. You’re able to control the content you publish and choose how to represent yourself along with running advertisements for your own products and services. Renting space on digital platforms, such as established media outlets – Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc., Quartz, first requires pitching yourself. Then it requires maneuvering through gatekeepers — agents, editors, publishers — who don’t necessarily have your best interest in mind. And they’re making ad revenue off you instead of you using the ad space for yourself.

PR firms can help get you published on rented platforms, but doing so without your own media as a home base is like swinging a bat and running for the hot dog stand. It’s a wasted effort that frankly doesn’t make sense.         

Your Next Steps

Whether you use Flow or not — that’s not the purpose of this article. The purpose is to destroy any misconceptions you have about digital platforms and encourage you to build one. Your voice can reach much further.

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