Michael Hyatt – Building a PLATFORM at Catalyst 2010

I’m very excited to be getting ready to take notes on this guy, who I follow on Twitter & I read his blog without fail – always worth it www.michaelhyatt.com. He’s chairman of Thomas Nelson publishers. Just met him a few minutes back and found him very personable and friendly.

Also just bumped into two guys from UK, one of whom I’ve known a while – and got an invite to a Leadership Network social even later – nice people!

Links for the talk are at http://bit.ly/cate2010 for Michael’s slides.

Michael began by sharing about his life and his love for his wife and family. His career has been in corporate publishing. Been CEO for 5 years. Thomas Nelson started in Edinburgh in the C19th.

recommends – ‘Unleasing the idea virus’ by Seth Godin.
SOCHURCH – church communication software.

The real reason good writers can’t get published? No platform.
His primary platform is his blog.
If you change the content regularly it will draw views.

How he built his platform:

How YOU can do it –

Michael then gave a breakdown of a typical American family, with many devices all going at once. So much distraction, so much technology – But they are BORED.

People still need DIRECTION; Purpose.

Read Fake Steve Jobs.
‘There is a hole in your soul…that can never be filled. The products we create can only provide temporary relief. The magic always goes… digital morphine… electronic medicine.’

People need leadership to mobilise them. Because their life is short. How do we reach them? Good leaders influence their audience.

Platform is all about influence. Great ones influence the world.

A platform is NOT a pedestal! Fame is a corrosive influence few can handle.
The best platforms are built by a growing tribe not a single individual.

How do you grow it?

3 Ways.
(This is simple – but not easy)

Establish a command centre
Set up embassies
Develop an intelligence agency

– Could be a blog. A place YOU OWN & CONTROL. He recommends WordPress. A hosted website. Try blogging and see if its for you. If so, go to their self-hosted option. Go to WPbeginner.com and they will set you up. Typepad is also good (Godin uses this), or Blogger – owned by Google. the most important thing to do on this? Write on it!
Embassies – places where you have a regular presence but don’t own or control. Facebook & Twitter might go away. Myspace pretty much has! This is where you engage with your building tribe. He uses Hootsuite.
Intelligence Agency – to monitor what’s being said in the marketplace. There is a an online conversation going on about YOU and your organisation, right now. What’s being said – and how can you get in on that conversation. Google Alerts. Set that up – easily. So you can step into that conversation & be aware of what’s happening, Get by RSS feed.

Why social media and not traditional media? Because it taps into people’s God given desire to CONNECT. Here is where you can connect with people where they are at – in their virtual world; lost in their devices.

How do you engage?
How do we change those people who are looking for purpose in this hyper-connected world?

Think about a leader. He lives next door to the average family. He’s concerned about alleviating child hunger. He wants to do something about it.

Q – how do I? He decides to start a community garden. How does he get help? How does his idea become a movement? He’s not great with technology but wants to reach out. He starts a blog. This is his idea platform. Engages, teaches and learns in dialogue. FB and Twitter connect him too. Some online relationships become real ones! His neighbours connect through Facebook, and end up working alongside him as people engaged with one another because this leader had a vision to use the technology – to do amazing things faster and better than ever.

These days, the playing field is level. Anyone can do this. If you have vision, passion, initiative – because ideas travel quickly.

The people are listening – waiting to be enlisted. Looking for something more. There are no excuses.

What are you going to do?

Slides are at http://bit.ly/cate2010

How do you attract traffic to your platform?

The number 1 thing that will draw people is great content! Great content is the new marketing. Doesn’t have to be written – why not try a video blog? Also, comment on others blogs.


How do you nurture people you engage with?
Seth Godin isn’t open for comments. At least that’s clear! But be ready to engage.
End your posts with a question – that starts the dialogue.

How do you write regularly?
Godin has a bank of posts stacked up into the future. The more you write the better it is. Stick with it.

Don’t let the best be the enemy of the good. It’ll get better. Recognise – the posts you think will be great and everyone will connect with don’t make a splash at all, while there are unexpected things that take off.

How focused/specific should your blog be?

Starting 30 blogs isn’t a good idea. If you blog is your own name, you can pretty much do what you’re thinking about. If your blog is called ‘Leadership’ then you’d better focus. But the most important thing is to be interested in what you’re writing about.

Isn’t it narcissism?
Not really – it can be the opposite – just sharing yourself with others. Pull the curtain back on the real you.