As an aspiring artist/author/illustrator everyone needs a platform today. Having an internet presence is essential for any creative professional, but it doesn’t have to be fancy or scary at first. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either! Once you have your basics started I can’t recommend enough Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World: A Step-by-step Guide For Anyone With Something To Say or Sell to learn how to grow your platform and even help you complete some of these basic steps.
Step one. Establish an email address just for contacts. If you can get your firstname.lastname@example.org that is probably best, but you can use a business or nickname as well. It’s best to keep it simple.
Step two. Create a wordpress blog. I say wordpress because this has been recommended to me the most. I had my www.jackiebeyer.com blog and website for two years and never got one follower. At wordpress you get new followers almost every time you add a new post. For example, when I posted the 30 day challenge I had 6 likes in less then 24 hours?! I don’t understand how it works or how people find me to follow but it is amazing. The idea of getting 10,000 followers will feel palpable once you post regularly for a few months. And It’s Free! There are lots of tutorials on how to create your own wordpress blog. Here is a link to Michael Hyatt’s tutorial. You can add pages to your wordpress blog and have samples of your work etc all here until you’re ready to expand to a full blown website.
Step Three. Create an email capture page. Use MailChimp for free or Aweber for a small monthly fee. Your email list is your most valuable ASSET. These are people who are interested in your product or service enough that they have invited you into their inbox. They believe that you are adding significant value to their lives and giving you their time to read what you have to share. Make sure you respect this privilege by creating actionable content that improves your tribe’s lives if you want to see your success soar!
Step Four. Define your AVATAR. This is your ideal client. Is it a reader? a viewer? a listener? How old are they? What do they do for a living? Are they married? Do they have kids? Why do they like your product or service? What do they use it for? What need is being met? Be SPECIFIC. Niche it down to the most basic detail. Try to describe this person in 500 words. Who is the most ideal person that you would like to find your website? The best resource for defining your Avatar is at John Lee Dumas’ site. It’s a mere $7.00 and you will reap the benefits of knowing who your “ideal reader” is, as Stephen King refers to him. You will refer back to your avatar over and over when you make decisions for your business, and knowing your avatar can help you with those difficult choices.
Step Five. Create 5 blog posts. Yes, Five. The first one might take a day or even a week, but then the next one should be easier and shortly you should be able to create 5 blog posts in a day. You don’t have to post any of them, but get 5 ready. You might come back to these at a later time, but you might just move foward. Decide how often you plan to post and commit to that. Maybe you want to post everyday, but I think once a week is plenty. You might decide once a month is enough and you might choose 3 times a week. You can always increase later. The biggest thing is being consistent, something I desperately need to work on, which is part of why I made the 30 day challenge, hoping it will build a habit. Remember, once people find you they will probably go back and read some earlier posts so it’s important to get content building. I also know people who do well with blogs that consist of simply posting an original illustration.
Step Six. Create a minimal viable product (mvp). This can be as simple as a pdf file or a short eBook that people can download in return for their email address. It took me over a year to create this and I still don’t have it posted, but start thinking about it and rolling ideas over in your head. When it’s ready, add it to your email capture. I am STILL working on this. I don’t know why it is so hard for me?
Step Seven. Create a Facebook Page for your business. Plan to post here daily if possible for a month. Simple little valuable content with pictures if possible. This is probably one of the easiest tasks to complete.
Step Eight. Create a Twitter account. If possible, start tweeting with family. Also, start following some topics you’re interested in. This is where I would recommend reading Gary Vanyerchuck’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s one you might choose to read again and again. Its known as the Social Media 301 textbook, and for someone who still struggles to understand twitter and/or pinterest it’s very helpful. I was listening to John Lee Dumas talk about how he finally got twitter. It was after an earthquake and he wanted the most up-to-date information possible. When he realized twitter was the answer, he started going there for more information. I find when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, etc, this is a good time to check out my twitter feed. I’m kinda starting to get it …
And then get ready for more!
Eventually you will probably want a YouTube account, a Pinterest page and to join Instagram among other social media venues. You may begin to hold google hangouts, create a podcast or videocast, start posting guest blogposts, join a mastermind, and so much more.
Found this great blog post on why you need a Platform this morning: http://chrislema.com/building-your-platform-wordpress-first-steps/