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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ever Built A Platform?

As a writer, you need to build a platform to support your career over the long run. That’s why it’s important to build it right.

Don’t jump!
Many eager writers hear about the need to build a platform and, being intrepid folk, leap right into social media with little thought.
But that’s the wrong approach, according to
T. Suzanne Eller (right), a Christian Writers Guild mentor, who wrote about conquering social media recently in the Guild’s member newsletter, WordSmith.

Build it and they will come. Right?

Maybe that worked for Kevin Costner in
Field of Dreams
, but it doesn’t work for social media. Before you start a Facebook fan or group page, start tweeting, or blogging, you need a blueprint. To create an effective social media platform that will draw your niche audience to your message, you need to answer:

  • What is your message?

  • How do you communicate it throughout your social media platform?

  • Who is Googling questions for which you have answers?

  • How do you reach that person with content and value?

  • How do you help that person find you?

  • What will draw readers and create synergy and word of mouth?

  • How much time are you willing to devote?

  • How can you avoid mistakes that will alienate potential readers?

Suzie’s right. You need a plan when building your platform.

Build it right and they will come
Because of her experience, Suzie wrote the Guild's new course, Building Your Social Media Platform, to teach writers how to effectively use social media. She is also one of the professionals who will provide one-on-one mentoring for the course.

If you need help in this area, the Guild invites you to
consider our course . Alternately, another platform guru, Randy Ingermanson, will teach a four-hour course on the same subject at the Guild’s Writing for the Soul conference this February in Denver CO.

Of course, there are other places to receive platform-building help. Find a way to make it work for you and your writing.

In what ways have you built your platform? I love Facebook and plan to start a blog next year. What tools do you use? Which do you avoid?

Michael Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. He has written for newspapers and other print and online outlets. He edited several nonfiction books, was the senior editor for a faith-based financial services and insurance organization, and is the editor of Afictionado, the ezine for American Christian Fiction Writers.


  1. I'm not sure about Google +. I have an account. I have circles, but not really active on there yet. I like building relationships on Social Media as Edie Melson mentions on her blog and in her book. So, I try to work Social Media into my life in manageable steps.

  2. Stacy

    Manageable is good. One of the things Suzie's key on top, is determining just how much time you're able to commit given the rest of the things in your life. If you over-commit, you won't do anything well for long.

    Google+ ... kind of taking a wait and see attitude on that one.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Ack! I have trouble answering those questions because I can't figure myself out. :)

    Sounds like a very helpful book.

  4. For me, Facebook has been extremely helpful. FB events, linking to articles, telling people when the book is released or sharing reviews, all peppered in with my personal stuff so it doesn't come across like I'm just trying to sell myself. I also comment on other's page and share about other writers too. There's a fine balance. Oh and people spamming other's facebook walls with ads about themselves is not cool.

  5. Facebook has been the most helpful for me as well, in both my tea party activities and writing. By establishing a following for my first interest (tea party), I have a built in following for my first publication.

  6. Good thoughts all... As Gina said, establishing that balance so it's not all about you is critical.

    What can you do to meet your readers' needs? Other than writing a great book? When you identify and understand that, you'll start taking your community deeper. It's all about relationships.


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