Owning a platform will become a reality in near future for all who are serious about taking their message far and wide.
Importance of people with independent platforms will increase more as brands and marketers battle the challenge of reaching out to parts of community with unique audiences and anybody as an owner of a unique platform will be in a situation to benefit.
It is OK to have a profile on say a Facebook or for a band to use MySpace as a promotion ground. But if you are thinking long-term then you need to have a platform that you own. When people finally arrive at your platform, they should be able to find a way to keep in touch. A RSS feed or newsletter — serve this purpose well.
If you look back before Facebook grew in popularity and became the largest social network ever; MySpace ruled. It was so big that Ashley Qualls, a teenager created a million dollar business designing MySpace layouts. Before MySpace there was Friendster.
So in longer scheme of things social networks will come and go; proving tremendous opportunities to drive traffic to the independent platforms created by individuals or a group of people.
Keep your presence alive on Facebook or twitter or whatever the prevalent social network is; but stay focused on growing your own independent online presence.
Let us explore the benefits
Building an independent online presence can take time but it is worth the effort. There are many benefits of owning your platform, sharing some of them below;
Get your own audience
It is important to have a direct connect with your audience. It helps entrepreneurs and authors.
If you want to write a book, it helps if you have a ready audience. Now-a-days publishing houses also look if you have a ready audience before they sign a contract with you. Having a platform helps you in landing a book deal. Good writing should be taken as a given.
There is a long list of authors whose successful book deals were based on audience that they garnered through their online platforms — Tucker Max, Chris Guillebeau, Leo Babuata and many more. With your own platform you are not at the mercy of traditional media outlets to take your message ahead.
If you are an entrepreneur your own platform can help you launch new initiatives and products.
Your Personal brand grows
A strong personal brand can contribute to your net worth. To create a strong personal brand you need to share, connect, help people grow and deliver on your brand’s promise. An online platform helps you do all this and more. It also helps you improve on your leadership skills.
Opportunities come your way
If you want to grow fast then you need to rely on partnerships in one form or another. People are keen to partner with people who know their subject matter. A platform with some social proof is the best way to let people see you as a subject matter expert. Your true voice also can be seen on your online platform. Your voice is also present in your tweets and your Facebook posts. But there it is not packaged. We recently discussed that knowledge is easy to consume in a packaged form for most.
Your perceived worth improves
To me — as a human being you are unique and invaluable. Still the world has different parameters to value people. Some value people by looks, others by knowledge; your riches may be important for many. Having an independent online presence makes sure that you have a showcase ready for such people looking to measure your worth on their parameters. Not to say that you should be driven by the standard of others but it helps to have a living proof of your worth.
From rented to owned
With your own online platform you can post your thoughts and research as blog posts, essays, and videos. This way your contribution stays with you. Think about living in a rented place as compared to living in your own house. Now you see the difference.
Experience true independence
It will gradually lessen your dependence on a third party network. With your online independent platform whenever you want to have direct personal communication with fellow community members; you can reach out to them. Similarly when your fellow community members want to connect with you they know where to reach.
How to create your own independent online presence?
It is a simple three step process.
- Book a domain: It helps you in branding and is at the core of creating your own platform; you can buy a domain from GoDaddy (good choice for $10 domain) and Moniker (if you are looking for a premium provider). Dot Com domains are your best bet.
- Get hosting: Choose from among DreamHost, Media Temple, and Rackspace after you grow your audience and have sizeable online traffic.
- Host a website: WordPress is a good choice as a CMS (content management system) and helps you create a functional good looking website in no time. Drupal, Joomla are the other popular open-source CMS choices.
You can create your own show on the web. For showcasing videos you can start with a channel on vimeo and redirect to it from your own domain. If you focus on creating valuable content and then do a bit of promotion — slowly and gradually, soon if you are lucky – you will have a community of users that will appreciate what you share.
A blog can be the starting point. It brings your voice out and acts as your own platform. So, what are you waiting for? Start putting together an online presence. Keep relationships and mutual benefit at the core and you will be happy with your efforts.
To our success.