Mike gave two keynotes. In the first, he shared his professional and writing journeys. The second was focused on his book “Platform” which was released in May and soon became a New York Times bestseller.
“Best time to be an author”
Mike gave 5 reasons for this opinion, all of which are based around the overall position that the “power has now shifted to you” (the author). Previously, the power was very much in the publishers’ hands.
So the 5 reasons:
- Easier than ever to do the writing: tools, conferences, research, support groups all easily accessible.
- Easier than ever to do market research: to identify what will sell
- Easier than ever to get into print: self-publishing, ebooks, etc
- Easier than ever to build a tribe: social media, etc
- Easier than ever to build a business. He cited Ted Dekker as a really good example of this.
“Platform: thing you stand on to be heard”
Mike’s second keynote addressed the 5 key elements to building a successful platform. He’s speaking from his own experience. He’s done it with both the release of the book but significantly earlier in the development of his blog, MichaelHyatt.com, the newsletter to which now has over 260,000 subscribers. He demonstrated by way of a chart that this growth has been especially significant since 2008.
“Build a platform before you need it”
That’s what he did with his blog and so already had a large captive audience for Platform. I wasn’t the only one in the audience who cringed a little on hearing him make this last statement. But as Seth Godin is known to say, you only really need 1,000 followers, not fans, to sell a significant number of “anything”. A follower is someone who will both buy what you’ve got to sell, but also pass it onto others and so the compound effect of 1,000 giving to a second 1,000 who give to another 1,000 and so on and on soon escalates.
Okay, so to those 5 elements which I will summarise very briefly:
- Start with ‘wow’ – consistently exceed your customer’s expectations and particularly in this case with the quality of your content. Further, your willingness to include them in the process and continue to “delight” them
- Prepare to launch – accept responsibility for the outcome. As mentioned above, we, the author, are in charge. So we are the Chief Marketing Officer of our content. But Mike also emphasised the importance of a Pit Crew. We can’t do this alone; we need others.
- Build your Home Base – in Mike’s case this is his blog. He draws all of his audience back to this central point.
- Expand your Reach – get out in the marketplace. Be generous with your time and sharing of yourself.
- Engage your Tribe – it’s a dialogue.
“Think of your blog community like you’re hosting a dinner party”
I like that idea. A blog shouldn’t be a monologue. Well it probably is to start with, like mine is at present. But engage by inviting comment and participation from the community.
“Take the Next Step”
Yes. One of the key things I’ve learnt over the past little while is the importance of just starting. I put off doing this blog for two years, mostly out of fear. And here I am, three months before launch with a very small tribe.
So, I’d encourage you with whatever you’re thinking about doing, just start. Yes, it won’t be perfect to begin with, probably far from it, but you will learn as you go along. It takes time to “find your voice” and the only way you will find it is by starting, trying different things and then eventually you’ll become comfortable within a particular groove.
I’ve started Mike’s book and I’d encourage you all to grab a copy of it.
That is my final post featuring the ACFW Conference. But if there is anything else that you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to note it in the comments below.
Enjoy your weekends and be blessed.