#6 What Is A Platform Really?

[alert type=”success”]Win $100 To Sweetwater Here: http://freemusicgift.com[/alert] What is a platform?? Really. It’s a big buzzword these days and we’re going to explore what it means.

We’ve got a little bit of the philosophical, and a little of the technical today.

And of course we send you off with some action items…

That’s today on TIM Talks episode 6.

What Is A Platform Really?

I got a little sappy in the last episode, and I’m about to get sappier….

I’m the most excited about helping YOU. I named some of you by name in this episode. I have you in my mind when I write up these scripts, and sit down to record a new episode.

Because at the end of the day, It’s all about serving you – the independent musician.

And this really ties to what we’re going to talk about today.


A platform is just a stage.

What is a platform really?

I touched on this in episode two, “The Four Pillars of The Indie Musician Online“.

You have to have a platform. Without a platform your music won’t get heard by other people.

As I’ve said before, a platform is simply a stage. It’s a way to get up above the crowd with all the noise and the hype and get in front of people. And this is what the new music business rewards…. artists who already have some kind of platform.

So in this episode I want to talk about a strategy that I think is THE best way to begin building your platform. And I may say a few things that might surprise you…..

I’m warning you now. I run the risk of possibly confusing a few people in this episode…. so you have to pay attention, because what I’m going to say is slightly nuanced.

Let’s get right to it:

Your blog is not your platform….

With my strategy, having a blog that you are regular on is a given, but contrary to what many might think of, your blog is not your platform.

You will need your own website yes, but having something online for people to find out about you doesn’t equal platform.

I think a mistake that we could make when it comes to all this online business stuff is we can get fooled into thinking like Ray Kinsella – Kevin Kostner’s character in Field Of Dreams – that….

“If you build it, they will come.”

There have been so many times when I have put so much work into a blog post or website design, and recorded and produced some music and uploaded it to SoundCloud or (Myspace at the time).

I then would just get on social media and send out a tweet or a status update and then sit back and hope that there’s a response.

Of course it was always a little discouraging.

And especially with blogging….

you can get everything up and going and put your heart and soul into your content, only to hear crickets after you hit the publish button.

I said this in the last episode, but you have to realize that when you start out, most people have no clue who you are.

And people think that “if you simply build it, they will come…..”

And it’s just not true.

To go back to what I already said…. you need a way to get up above the noise.

A new blog when it starts is usually “just another wordpress blog” to quote the good people of WordPress….

News flash:

“There around 100,000,000 active blogs on the internet.”

(According to http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/)

So yes, WordPress is right. Unless you develop a marketers mindset, you will be just another WordPress blog.

So it’s basically like being one of the people in the crowd shouting about their thing amidst all the noise. You need to get up on a stage to get noticed.

You need a platform.

So what would be a good definition of “platform” then?

I like “web-presence”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a platform. It could just mean you have a lot of activity online.

We get closer to a good definition when we think about a “fan-base” or a “following”, but at the end of the day what it comes down to is the number of people who know, like, and trust you.

That’s a platform.

I think the most tangible way to measure the size of your platform is the number of people on your email list.

We’ll be getting extensively into email in episodes 11 through 14 on TIM Talks which I’m very excited about, but that’s a great way to practically measure the size of your platform.

How many people have actually given you permission to share your message with them?

It’s not about followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. It’s about people on a tangible list that you own.

So I think your platform starts there.

From there you can draw some circles around each other and begin to branch out into other digital spheres where you can have reach.

This would obviously include your blog and website, and from there move into other public channels and social media… but to get an honest assessment of the strength and size of your platform, look at your email list size….

But not JUST size.

Size is nothing if you don’t have loyalty.

If you have 500 highly engaged and loyal fans on your email list, that’s MUCH better than 13,000 people who never open your emails.

So the quality of your list then determines the influence of your platform.

If you can focus on growing both of those areas, you’ll be set.

1) Loyalty of people on your list
2) Number of people on your list

But now let’s look at a common objection when it comes to some of this stuff. And this would tie in to my shout outs in this episode!

Is It Too Late To Build Your Platform?

Some might say that the internet is too noisy. That it’s stupid to try to build an audience online anymore with this flooded, information-overload culture that we live in.

They might say something like this:

Having a blog and working on growing an email list is something that doesn’t work anymore.

And this is true….

Having a blog and working on growing an email list is something that doesn’t work anymore, BUT ONLY if you are focused on yourself.

And this, my friend, is where most people give up because it seems too challenging for many.

Especially artists.

Let me explain:

When I started out this podcast I listed a handful of REAL people who have signed up for the TIM Talks email list. Each and every time I think through the content I’m working on, I always go through the acronym WIIFT.


What’s In It For Them?

If you can clearly articulate how your music, story, and message, will not only inspire people, but actually HELP people, then you have everything you need to build a real platform.

Blogging, social media, advertising, business, marketing strategies ALL come and go.

Yes we live in a noisy time, but in many ways it’s always been noisy. It’s just that there have been different kinds of channels that have come and gone. Different kinds of technologies….

You know what never goes out of style?

Helping people solve REAL problems. Helping people find solutions to REAL pain points.

Do this and you’ll be successful. People will share the news of your “thing” with their friends. Word of mouth will do it’s thing, and you’ll have serious leverage in your marketing.

It all comes down to this question:


In my case it’s helping indie musicians think through their digital marketing and getting more exposure for their music. This is a tangible thing.

How will you, not only as an artist but as a person with several gifts and talents, contribute some kind of value to the world that HELPS people?

Think about it.

WHO is on the other side of your music? WHO is at your show when you’re playing live? WHAT are their names?

It’s all about people, people.

If you get good at defining your ideal listener and getting out there and looking for how to serve them, you’re going to crush it.

You will. That my friends is how a real platform grows.

Action Items For Your Platform

Here are the action items I talked about in this episode:

  • Connect your strengths/skills (from episode 5) to how you’re going to serve someone
  • Connect with people in those areas who already have a platform and see how you can contribute to what they’re already doing
  • Guest posting, conducting interviews
  • BOOK: Platform by Michael Hyatt

I’d love to hear how this goes so please leave a comment for today’s show notes letting me know, not only your thoughts about this episode, but also how you plan to implement these action items. Let me know in the comments below!

Next Up

In the next episode of TIM Talks we’re going to talk about the old buzzphrase “direct-to-fan” and what I believe is the most effective way to have true direct-to-fan in your business model as an indie artist….