Position Your Platform Positively

By Aria Gmitter

communicationGround breaking news rattled the cages of conservative family advocates upon the announcement that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional. Like the parting of the red sea among religious groups even amidst faith lines there lay those who supported the declaration, and those who did not.

Today, after reading NPR’s social media’s blog, I sat in the hot sauna at my local gym sweating and wondering how this relates to opportunity. I’ve learned the hard way that to advocate against a group creates isolation no matter how well-intended my motivation. In walked a woman, about my age, and I could tell she probably didn’t know that today was a day that made American history.

“Hi,” I said. “Did you hear the news?”

She wiped her forehead, sat down. “No. What news?”

“NPR just posted on their website that the DOMA of 1996 was declared unconstitutional,” I filled her in. I never like to get into deep political conversations. For one, I don’t like how it makes most people feel. However, this was an opportunity for me to test the waters. To see how I can connect with a complete stranger in the midst of unknowing. I had no idea who she was. Nor did I know how this news would impact her life.

Building a platform with social media is a lot like a stranger-to-stranger introduction happening in a hot room. Individuals entering the room are mentally prepared to feel heat, experience some tension, but accept that it’s part of the process required to get that physical release. In social media, there are many times that individuals enter the cyber arena knowing that there is a lot of negative to the situation. Yet, we log-in. We sign up, knowing that there is a benefit to the drill of social media engagement.

For writers and business owners, social media is a necessary evil to inexpensively promote a message, a deal—that will trigger a sale. What’s not desired in the exchange by the business builder is a negative reputation, or to have something said innocently come back to haunt them later.

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Image courtesy of [Stoon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The atmosphere that our Tweets, Facebook and blog posts enter into may be hot and sticky creating an awareness that there is a discomfort there. However, staying in a hot sauna for 20 minutes at the highest temperatures allows the body to break a sweat that is healthy, healing, stress relieving and just plain good. When done intentionally, social media can accomplish the same mental, emotional and social breakthroughs used by the ancients for body healing to promote peace and harmony in society. The heated atmosphere, for whatever topic then becomes an ideal circumstance to promote opportunity. Then, a writer, or any person with a message of impact can connect quickly. Why? Because just like a body temperature once it’s risen is set to sweat freely, aware individuals are set to engage.

Power-Platform is all about engagement. It’s about growing a community of communication.

Let’s all agree. We writers already  know that any word streamed together that add impact and value provokes reaction. In many ways, we are taught by those who have powerful platforms that this is the way to trigger a potential audience to engage. Yet, my observations is that like all things, society is growing tired of negative impact. Yes, unfavorable reactions for some are powerful building blocks. But if you’re like me, that’s not the type of platform I want to build. Why? Because I like to grow people and passions that feels good, and that aligns with my value systems.

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Image courtesy of [Stoon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the end, powerful platform is about the builder.  A builder carefully analyzes what kind of community is suitable to live in. Where would the builder want to see his or her own family engage?

What type of neighbors are wanted? A strong house is much more powerful than a single brick wall. Sensational engagement triggered by controversy does definitely incite dialogue, but it’s a wall building endeavor. The community is speaking, but few actually are listening and really changing points of view. Heart rates rise, but senses of unity decreases. In the end what generates sales, what creates faithful advocates, word-of-mouth promoters, and people who will happily share your content are those that get a want met.

What is it that we all want most?

Love.

We want love. We want all the things that come attached to love. Acceptance. Assurance. Acknowledgment.

We want to believe in good. Good triumphing over evil. That if we are good, we will get some kind of reward. That if we are bad, we will get some kind of grace and still get a reward.

You might say, “I see other people with huge platforms built upon sensationalism and controversy.”

True fact. But the important part in building any kind of platform is ensuring that all dialogue points directly towards the person it promotes.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to be remembered most for?
  • How can my personal branding promote that message?
  • How can I fill the wants of my audience in a way that gives them a community that feels like home?

Platform-Power that has impact to create these types of realities when using social media are the kind that provide a two-fold purpose.

Purpose 1:  It encourages honest dialogue which allows you to gauge your future projects and business plans.

Purpose 2:  Makes you accessible to the end-user. To find out if you are obtaining any kind of ROI with social media, look at the level of engagement that exists. If engagement is high. Then, you know…something is working.

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Image courtesy of [stoon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When focusing on your purpose and the good in your message when using social media, you gain freedom of expression. Instead of struggling to war against the masses that may or may not agree with  you, you get the chance to encourage change with an open door.

On SeaView Radio, I interview Rick Cooper, Social Media Expert on how to create powerful impact using social media without compromising your message, or the values behind your brand. Whether you want to get political, or want to keep your content strictly business Rick Cooper and I can help you to navigate the social media changes that impact your life. —>Here are his FREEBIES to help you get started!

rick-cooperRick Cooper is an Online Marketing and Social Media Trainer. He works with small business owners who want to generate more leads and increase sales using the internet. He specializes in helping entrepreneurs leverage their expertise to attract clients online. Rick is Founder of Social Media Outcomes, based in Sacramento, California and is author of Seize your Opportunities, Marketing Magic, and Extreme Excellence. Rick is an International Speaker on Online Marketing and Social Media. He was featured in Comstocks magazine and has been interviewed by The National Networker, AllBusiness.com and the East Bay Times Business Journal.

What are you Writing?

By Aria Gmitter

nookflowersWhat are you writing? Is it a message that stems from the heart, a haunting nightmare? Is it fear? Or is it faith?

How’s that book in your head? When your thought life reads the pages, does it hear a message that is self-pleasing, or one that connects to a need or a specific need or want to a particular audience? Do you write to please yourself?  Or others? Or do you do both?

Do you write for money, or pleasure? Or a little in between? Are you a writer who speaks, or are you a speaker who writes?

Does it even matter? Absolutely.

As a person who works in publishing, I read query letters all the time. The one thing I have observed in writers is lack of focus on what they write and why. Is this detail important?  Can’t a writer write fiction, and non-fiction?  Or both?

The answer is yes. The answer is no.

Yes anyone can write anything at anytime. However, better writers focus their energy on specific writing tasks. The level of skill goes up with the amount of concentrated effort.

What sells is genre-specific, high-quality writing. If you want to be published in the mainstream market and become well-known, ask yourself when you sit to write:

Where do I want to go?
What am I writing?
Will this get me there?

These are tough questions. If you don’t know the answers to them, why not take time today amidst and make it a priority to answer them? Trust me. It will not only help you understand your purpose better. But it will definitely ignite your passion for writing, give you clarity and help your writing.

Your Platform-Power partner in publishing,

~Aria

3 Reasons Why Communities Help Professionals Learn

The self-employed life can be a little lonely sometimes. The more work you put into your business, the less it seems you can relate to anyone else. It’s not that you’re actively pushing friends and family away; it’s just they can’t understand your specific issues.

Even worse, you start to live in a bubble that eventually won’t pop. You start to think you’ve got everything down pat and there’s no room to grow. This is how businesses get stuck in ruts and start to decline. Once this pattern is set, it’s tough to crack it.

That’s why it’s vital you involve yourself in a business community as soon as possible. Not only will it help you break out of your comfort zone, but meeting other business professionals can help your learn new ways to do things.

1. Information Sharing

This is one of the most obvious ways a community can help a professional learn, but it can’t be overstated. You accumulate a lot of knowledge during your time as a business professional and you start to think you know it all. All it takes is one person – or worse, one lost client – to come along and show you how little you know.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Realizing you’re nowhere near as smart or experienced as you think allows you to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Use your colleagues and even your competitors to expand your knowledge, both locally and globally. Don’t forget: they need your expertise too, so don’t be afraid to share.

2. Different Perspectives

Besides information, perspective is something that can only be gained when you talk to other people or consult new sources. Again, after doing business for so long, you start to think your way is the only way. It’s only when we’re challenged do we see how wrong we are.

Let’s say you’ve been selling your product offering one way for years and it’s never failed you. As a result, you become incredibly confident in your methods. However, at a community meeting, you realize your colleague is selling the same service in a drastically different way — and it’s never failed her, either. The conversations you could have about that alone could be business-altering!

3. Gets You Away From Work — Sort of

Part of getting stuck in a rut involves doing the same thing over and over, all day every day. If you’re always at the office or going to meetings or working on paperwork, you’re going to hit a wall and burn out. It’s happened before and it will happen again, even to the best professionals out there.

Getting out of the office once in a while and talking to others in your same position is a great way to free your brain up for a while and relax while you still move forward with your company. You’re not pulling yourself completely away, but simply hanging out with like-minded individuals (even online) can help you step away from any problems you’re having and see them from a new perspective. Just taking your mind off of the same ol’ thing for a while goes a long way toward allowing your brain to recharge.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your colleagues or your competitors in online communities?

How to Turn the Publishing Industry Upside Down

The video below is taken from an interview that Motley Fool analyst Brendan Byrnes recently had with Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception. Godin is also a talented public speaker, marketing guru, blogger, entrepreneur, and respected thought leader.

Seth’s forward-thinking and contrarian views are critical considerations for finding success in life, business, and investing.

Click Below to See the Video (The Motley Fool)

Platform-Power Take

Building a platform, then creating your information products, is the better process for making a profit in the publishing industry.  Platform-Power has the knowledge and experience to build your platform for you. Click to find out more!

Workzone: Author Spotlights Personal Brands over ‘Generic’s

Whether it’s Starbucks, Nike or the Java Hut at the corner, just about every company has its own specialized brand these days. The way Michael D. Brown sees it, it’s time you had your own as well.

The author believes the “power of the brand” — in this case your own personal brand — can help you land that dream job, win a coveted promotion, or move from a dead-end job to one of fulfillment.

By branding, Mr. Brown means emphasizing the personal qualities and skills that make you stand out, the things you can do better than anyone else, and how they can deliver for your prospective employer or your new boss.

The last thing you want to be, he said, is a “generic.”

Read More to See How (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

The Death of Time with the Birth of Social Media

time mgmt clear

Image by Ted Goff

By Aria Gmitter

Perhaps one of the greatest threats to story creation is that of poor time management.  Family, work obligations, the need to eat, sleep and pay the bills can leave many writers little to no time to focus attention on creative project development.

In today’s fast-paced social and multimedia environments the threat is even more pressing.  Platform is an essential component to obtaining the coveted publishing contract. So, you follow the rules. Post to Facebook. Upload your pictures to Instagram and Flickr. You link up with other writers on LinkedIn. Blog and tweet random thoughts and hashtag keywords. You’re filled with hope that those Google+ circles will become the X that marks the spot and suggest your name in the cyber engine search sphere.

Perhaps you fear you’ve become a word wielding schizophrenic with narcissistic tendencies prone to bouts of brag and boast.  You’ve succumbed to “I just saw this on my drive to work…” stories and quoting beloved inspiration that has stimulated your soul. Still your Klout score is lower than a person’s self-esteem after a bad date.

So, you speed tweet faster than a sent email. More socially engaged than a teenager on a sugar rush. More powerful than a YouTube video gone viral. But alas, the day ends. All that remains are single sentences barely making one coherent paragraph. Maybe standardized testing failed you and you’re the writer left behind. Or that “great writing” note on your essays in college are accidental misprints intended for another colleague. Sure you’re writing, and friends, are “Liking” it.  But still, the only book your name is on remains pirates treasure buried in your caffeinated brain.  “A writer can’t exactly make the New York Times Best Sellers List on retweets or Facebook posts,” your imaginary friends cajole in your thoughts during the midnight hour.

Even if the truth leaves you ready to toss in your ball point pen, hold on to your ink. You’re not alone. In fact, let me assure you, Business Newsweek won’t blame you for the failing economy. Even if that book in your head falls and hits the pillow harder than the Dow on Wall Street.  You’ve got a case of poor time management. You need a powerful bailout from the new writer’s block that’s leaving you publishing bankrupt.

Creating high-quality content requires focus and discipline. A story developer is more like a long-distance runner that requires long periods of rigorous thought, soul-searching, writing, rewriting, and editing.  Today’s social media world is more suited for sprint writers who unleash concept and word-power in bursts of 140 characters a minute. The combination for writers is distraction, time loss, and lack of creative quality development.  What’s worse is that a writer can have social media engagement, a slew of followers; but, if the story falls flat or doesn’t pull heart-strings, publishers may pass on their work all together.

Switching gears breaks focus, concentration and damages a writer’s ability to dig deeply into their craft, themselves, and even their characters.  In fact, readers want characters in pain and that just doesn’t happen unless the story writer has lived through the process of personal experience or sympathetic imagination himself.  Ayana Mathis during an Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 interview  attributes her success with, The 12 Tribes of Hattie, that the art of pain, epiphany and resolution is how she connects and hooks her readers.  This kind of bone deep story writing isn’t simple and it does require time.

So, how can you effectively manage your time to write? Can’t be all that difficult, now can it? Just sync all your social media together and with one touch of a click, you’re done. Right? Wrong! Not all social media has the same purpose or audience.

Do you know who your audience is, or what media will reach them best?