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A Checklist for Building Your Platform in 2013

During this transition time into 2013, you have a great time to slow down and re-think what you’re doing to share your message and ideas with the world. If you’re a writer, producer, filmmaker, artist, pastor, business or nonprofit leader, politician, or whatever – take a few minutes right now to think about how you’re connecting with your social media followers, donors, general public, and customers. Here’s a few good places to start:

— Begin with social media. What are you sharing? Is it content that’s interesting, creative, and helpful to your followers? There are many techniques to help you jack up your followers with people who don’t really care about you. But I prefer the old fashion way – saying something interesting enough that people want to share. Focus on your One Big Thing, and be the authority in that subject. I’d rather have 1,000 followers who were really interested in my message, than 10,000 who could care less. In 2013, focus on building a tribe that will help you make an impact.

— Check your online press information. Make sure it’s easy to find your bio, photo, and contact info. The news media can’t ask for an interview if they can’t get in touch with you. Make it easier for the media (and potential speaking opportunities) to know your area of expertise, who you are, and how to connect with your office.

— Graphic backgrounds for Twitter and Facebook. You may not even be aware that you can customize the backgrounds for your social media pages. Check out mine at @philcooke on and my page at Facebook. It’s a fantastic opportunity for promotion that you may be wasting.

— Take some time to really understand how Twitter and Facebook work. FB’s Timeline is tricky for many people, so get comfortable with the format and how it works. You can’t maximize what you don’t understand.

— Check your Twitter page to see what lists other people put you on. Go to your account and look for lists, then “member of.” It’s fascinating to see how other people view you, because it can help you determine your personal brand. Remember my question – “What do people think of when they think of you?” A big part of that answer is the Twitter lists they put you on.

— Update all your social media bios and profiles. There are some social media platforms that I don’t use very often, so I forget they’re out there and let my information get out of date. But even if I’m not on them regularly, others are using them, and when my profile information gets old, it can hurt my chances of connecting with people and events. Remember all your platforms and update them as soon as possible.

— If you have a blog, here are some important questions to think about:
— How often are you posting? If you’re not posting at least 1-2 times a week, it’s probably not worth the effort. At least 3 times a week should be your goal.
— Where are the social media links on your blog? Have them at the top of the home page so people can link, but also have them at the end of all your posts so they’re easy to share. Also, add any popular social media links that may be missing.
— Make sure your have an RSS feed. You may be surprised at the number of people who follow your content through RSS.

— Finally, this is a good time to read my recent books “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” and “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” One Big Thing was just named by the Washington Post as one of the Top 5 Business Books of 2012. It will help you discover your over-arching purpose for your life. Then “Unique” will help you get that purpose out there where it can change things. No matter how great your vision, calling, or expertise, if you can’t get it on the radar of the public, the effort has been wasted.

Let’s commit in 2013 to share our message in the hope of making a better world.


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  1. Phil, this is a great checklist. Thanks for posting it. I’m going to use it to focus my blogging and social media as I head toward my new book coming out in the spring. Love the point about seeing what Twitter lists you’re on. I didn’t know about that.

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