My adventures at Platform University

How a change at the Platform University online community reinvigorated my passion for online marketing.

Have you been stuck like me?

So, how many of you have a website, but have struggled with knowing what to do with it? I have, for years. My website has often veered from being a blog where I write about things like theology and poetry, to being a portfolio of my graphic design and motion design work, to being a strict business site to sell services. 

It’s been hard for me to stay focused and make up my mind. But last year, I stumbled upon this online community led by Michael Hyatt called Platform University, which is an online learning hub and community centered on helping people launch their platform. I had listened to Michael’s podcast, bought a few of his books and figured it would be worth getting, since I’ve always struggled with what to do with my website. Plus, I’ve always wanted to create an publish eBooks and online courses, just for the sake of having done it. So I bought a subscription, and started working my way through the “5 Stages of Platform Growth”, which was a starter guide for working on your platform.

Where I hit a snag

One of the first steps in the “5 Stages of Platform Growth” was to survey your audience. So I setup a survey on SurveyMonkey and waited for responses. And I waited some more. Finally I started asking people and I felt embarrassed, as though I was begging people, “Please! I’m desperate for your opinion.” It was like trying to know a website’s performance on Google Analytics, but the website doesn’t exist yet!

Also, I changed jobs and getting adjusted to the new schedule was hard. So my platform sat on the back burner — to the point where I’d given up.

Then I got the bill for the annual subscription. I decided I wasn’t going to just throw money anyway so either I’d use it this year or cancel. So I tried slogging through the stages again, only to still get stumped with surveying my audience and working on email marketing. I was so disappointed with myself, because I kept asking “All these other people can do it, what’s wrong with me?” 

Changing up the curriculum 

Several months ago, I saw on Facebook that Platform University was changing format and creating a core curriculum: 13 modules designed to act as a foundation for building a platform. When I checked out the first module on brand identity, I knew something had changes and felt like I could actually get through launching my platform.

I also started to see that this would not only help me, but also help local businesses with their content marketing. 

What I’ve learned so far

How to better clarify my brand

Probably the biggest improvement with the new curriculum is helping me craft my vision of what I want to do with an online platform. I’ve also been able to nail down my voice or archetype, that I’m a fellow struggler that’s learning as I go and wanting to share tips and tricks with fellow strugglers. Also, I’ve been able to refocus my value proposition, that I offer creative tips for marketing local businesses. 

Establishing my home base

Platform University will walk you through setting up a WordPress site. I already had a site setup, so that didn’t help much except to check to see if I missed anything important. However, it gave me a list of pages that I really needed to set up, such as an about page, a services page, and in the media page. When it comes to the about page, the course gives a good outline to fellow so you can explain to your audience why your website exists and what they can expect.

Creating content consistently

Jeff Goins shared his three bucket method of how to consistently create content, in particular writing for blog posts:

  1. Create ideas
  2. Draft those ideas
  3. Edit those ideas and publish them 

Simple huh? If you were to just spend 30 minutes per day on one of those steps, you could have 2 blog posts per week. Following Goins’ method has helped me write a bunch of posts in advance that I could schedule to publish.

Another great tip of advice Goins gives is to not compare your growth to others. Just be consistent and show up.

What’s next?

Here’s the next several modules in Platform University’s core curriculum that I’m studying:

  • Establishing and growing an email list
  • Setting up social media channels
  • Conducting audience research

I plan to write a follow up after completing them. If you’re interested in knowing more about Platform University, visit it here:

*In case you’re wondering, no, this is not a sponsored post. I don’t get any affiliate commission for promoting Platform University, but I’m just sharing a resource I think you’d find handy.