Build a Platform…They Will Come

Build a PlatformIn September of 2012, folks have plenty to yap about. We’re lucky enough to live in the information age, where opinions, stories, charts, interviews and breaking news are shared instantaneously through our various social channels. Raise your hand if you followed Hurricane Isaac on your television last month? Not too many people I imagine. For most of us, we followed this harrowing storm through our mobile weather.com apps, through Facebook updates and tweets and through breaking news via the internet.

The same distribution channels (re: social media) apply to this year’s upcoming Presidential election on November 6th. My Facebook newsfeed has gone from status updates of engagements, weddings and photos of vacations to my friends and acquaintances spouting off about political drivel.

In my mind, an impassionate political Facebook post or video captured and distributed through YouTube is a disservice to the sort of message one is trying to convey. Facebook serves as a pipeline for much of the information we receive and curate on a daily basis, but for those who want to make an impact in the political sphere, I urge you to avoid the mud-slinging on Facebook. My message to you: build a platform.

Sure, building a platform to share and grow your ideas takes work. Let me repeat, it takes honest, hard work. But I promise you that the end result will help your ideas “gain legs” and that your political Facebook rants won’t filter down someone’s newsfeed, never to be seen from or heard from again. Creating the platform is not as complicated as you think. Here is a brief, over-simplified version of how to create a platform that ideally will turn into a healthy, well-nurtured community further down the line:

1. Buy the domain name

2. Host the website - Our recommendation: Host Gator – this hosting platform plays nice with WordPress.

3. Build the website -Our recommendation: WordPress.org – this platform is search-optimized and offers clean, intuitive designs.

4. Start writing content — Ensure that your content is search-optimized

5. Share your content via social channels

6. Improve your site’s organic listing & Page Rank - Page Rank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents. This is an important algorithm for Google in how it ranks your site. By publishing content on a consistent basis, guest posting and sharing your content, you will find that your site ‘s natural organic ranking improves over time (I must stress, this takes time!).

Too many people are willing to spout off on a platform that already exists. Problem is, this means that your content and opinion are going to get buried pretty quickly. On a site like Facebook, its mere seconds before your post falls “below the fold.” Sonia Simone published a great post on digital sharecropping in August, 2011, entitled “The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts.” In this post, she explains how building your business on “someone else’s land” is a “recipe for heartbreak and failure.”

Although most of you are not looking to build a business, her ideas do apply to the upwelling of political commentary that has bottled up Facebook in recent weeks and months. If you have an idea and want to share it with others, why not build a platform? You have absolutely nothing to lose. Stop yelling on Facebook and expecting that you’re going to make a difference in this upcoming election with your half-baked idea.

When you own your own platform (which is easy these days), you get more control over when your content is published, how this content is published and how/when to distribute your posts. You gain instant credibility and are able to craft your site in the manner in which you would like to be portrayed. Once you’re publishing content regularly, you will find that readers navigate to your site more often, spend more time on your site, and eventually interact with your site more often. Am I dreaming, or does this all just make too much sense?

Build a platform and start churning out content…you’ll be surprised at how quickly you are able to draw an engaged audience through your front door.

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