Recently, authors and bloggists have been writing and reporting on the importance of establishing a ‘platform’ for individuals and organizations. Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers discusses this in his new book, “Platform.” Some people would say that how you frame your message is as important as what you say.

Regardless of how much you agree with this premise, what isn’t up for debate is everyone needs a platform, no one is going to create it for you, and its importance cannot be stressed enough to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

Make sure your message resonates with your market’s interests

The biggest problem with much of today’s writing is that it needs to fight for attention simply because it is not well differentiated. If your goal is to build brand awareness or your company’s reputation, for example, you’ll need a strong context to build from. Simply stating your organization’s mission statement is not going to persuade anyone to change his or her mind or feel empathy toward your organization. Unless your message resonates with their needs.

In other words, communicating your brand message without a specific purpose, such as lead building, will spin yours and your audience’s wheels with little return on your investment. Focus is essential. Otherwise you risk talking at your audience with no real impact. So here are a few things you can do to build an effective platform.

Customize your messaging to your key audience

  • Place your messaging in the order that your specific customer prefers to view information. A great example is NOT feeling the need to alphabetize your pull-down menus! If your top seller starts with an ‘S’ put it on top to make it easy for your prospects. Make it obvious. Things that go first have more importance than ones that go last.
  • Figure out what your key audience wants to learn the most about and make that the center of everything you do. Highlight it. Don’t feel the need to build up to a magical crescendo as if you’re writing a symphony. E-communications is about making critical information easy to find.
  • Track the traffic on your website. Figure out what people spend the most amount of time looking at and push to the back areas they are less interested in, and consider eliminating them altogether if they’re ignored. Don’t keep sacred cows! In software development it is just as important to figure out what not to include, than what is. No one likes to have to weed through confusing amounts of information.

The critical mass of all of this is to develop meaningful relationships with your customers and future customers. Making it easy to ‘talk’ with you is at the foundation of a strong relationship. To accomplish, it’s essential that you build a platform they will enjoy, versus pushing your product sales messages too hard. Remember, be creative and persuasive, but not overly aggressive.