Building your platform – Part IV
In the previous post, Building your Platform – Part III, we discussed why building a mailing list is as important as building a site. In this article, we’ll dig into some advanced techniques where you can link together the key facets of your platform to push things to the next level.
Pages vs. Posts
I’m going to assume we are talking about WordPress here. Let’s also assume you have picked up the task of blogging with a certain frequency and posting links on social media channels. Blog articles are known as posts. They are typically displayed in a chronological order and also carry that sense of belonging to a certain point in time.
Pages are other locations where you can write content, but there isn’t the same sense of time. In short, pages of content should be written to be timeless. And if needed, you can update the pages over time. For example, check out my page for Learning Spring Boot.
When I started blogging, I only had one book with that title. This has now expanded to two books and a video. For marketing reasons, it’s best to pull this content under one page, and expound upon it. I have also updated LOTS of articles to point at this cornerstone content to help it rank on Google.
In general, I recommend that you create one page per book you write. (In my own case, I’ve consolidated multiple editions under one page). If you check out Sara Turnquist’s site (see the screenshot), she lists all her titles on the sidebar, and you can see their published status.
Click on the first one, and you can immediately see its status (published).
But if you look at the link in the browser, it just has the title of the book, making it easy to hand that link out to anyone. This is known as editing the slug.
BONUS: Edit the “slug” or the name of the link to be the title itself, but make the description anything you want like this and this.
For other key things you do, other pages can be quite handy.
- A Bio or About Me page (either /bio or /about-me)
- A Contact page (/contact) where you put a Contact Form so people can reach you without giving away your email address
- A Mailing List signup page (/list)
This is generalized stuff. I have one friend that is writing children’s books. She has created some puzzles to print out and give away to kids at various shows. I gave her the tip to post it on a page. If you stop and look at that page, you’ll see that it’s cute, fun, and includes a little web link at the bottom so this generation’s Internet savvy children can say, “Mommy, I want the Skippy the Skunk book at mrbarklee.com.” Disney aren’t the only ones capable of product placement!
An important thing to realize, is that your platform is fluid. It starts with one blog post and one page, but as you post more content, you come to understand that posting more stuff in more places extends your platform.
For example, visiting various Facebook groups once/week and posting new content helps get your name out there. I posted this particular meme for Learning Spring Boot on Twitter and about half a dozen groups on Facebook, and saw a meteoric burst of traffic to my site.
All the experts recommend having a schedule set up to post to various groups to keep generating interested. Don’t assume one posted graphic to one group does the trick. People come and go.
Another tidbit: visuals are quite handy. If you look at my “Learning Spring Boot/Elf on the Shelf” image, I included a zoomed in shot of Amazon + my book, a dialog bubble indicating key content, and a link to the source at the bottom. A cute graphic to catch attention. Now it’s added to my platform.
I hope you have learned a lot more about various methods to build your platform. If there’s one thing I hope you remember it’s this: it’s not YOUR platform unless YOU own it lock stock and barrel. Building up a site with breadcrumbs on social media ensures you stay in control.