|Hyatt’s basic thesis is that: “A good product does not stand on its own anymore. It is foundational, but it is not enough” (xvii). He defines a platform as: ”the thing you have to stand on to get heard” (xvi). A platform provides visibility, amplification, and connection (xviii). He writes: “This book is all about attracting [an] audience, turning on the brightest lights you can find, and building passionate loyalty so your audience stays with you through every line, every scene, every act” (xv).
Platform is divided into 5 parts: 1. start with wow, 2. prepare to launch, 3. build your home base, 4. Expand your reach, and 4. Engage your tribe. Before these parts is an introduction which declares that “All the world is a stage” (William Shakespeare; xv). After these parts are some helpful items: complying with FTC guidelines, post ideas for novelists, a list of online resources, notes, acknowledgments, a writer’s bio, an index, and contact information. Hyatt’s scope is comprehensive; his details are thoroughly researched.
For example, in chapter 35 entitled generate more blog traffic, Hyatt talks about how he was able to increase his traffic (measured by unique visitors) by 81.3 percent in a single month. After changing to a professional blog theme, he blogged more frequently; we wrote shorter sentences, paragraphs, and posts; he started optimizing his posts for search engines; and he became more engaged in comments (134). He then goes on to summarize his ten recommendations on increasing traffic—a focus most bloggers identify with.
What is interesting is that in chapter 36 he goes on to argue that increasing traffic is the wrong focus. The correct focus is on increasing the number of people who follow and promote your blog. In other words, keep your best customers happy and they will keep you happy (137). Here in his list of 7 strategies on how to grow your list of followers it is clear that Hyatt sweats the details. My favorite is suggestion 4: offer an incentive for subscribing. In Hyatt’s case, he offers subscribers a free copy of one of his e-books.
Hyatt’s Platform is a helpful book and a good read. Authors, speakers, and other professionals in the public eye will want to take a look because the rules for success in professional life are evolving so rapidly. While many professionals will not be stepping up to a national platform like Hyatt, his advice should scale well to the local platform where most of us live. In my case, I have already given my blog a makeover and have developed a long to do list based on his advice. I suspect you will too.