You’ve probably heard the term “author platform” before. But you may not know what it means. Basically your author platform is how and where you show up online. Whatever you do to connect with your audience and distribute your content–that’s your author platform.
Usually this refers to a website or Facebook page, but there are actually 5 specific elements your author platform needs to have. Those elements are your:
1. Author Message
Every author should have a message, something you stand for and feel the world needs to hear. This is true regardless of what kind of writing your do, fiction, nonfiction, etc.
The way you spread this message is through your content.
This is going to be your “home base” online. It’s the core of your author platform.
It’s the place people can go to find out more about you and get access to the content that you create (whatever that may be–books, blog posts, videos, etc).
3. Email List
This is the best way to stay in contact with your community and to give them awesome, valuable content on a consistent basis.
Just make sure you use a professional email marketing software, like MailChimp (it’s free up to a certain number of subscribers), so that way you don’t have to manually send emails out to each person or keep track of who’s on your list.
Also, legally speaking (though I’m not a lawyer), people need to have a way to unsubscribe from your list, the pro software has that option built in.
4. Freebie Opt-In
You may not have heard it called this before, but I bet you’ve seen several of them. A freebie opt-in is just something free that you give away to entice people join your email list.
The freebie can be an eBook, video training series, workbook, checklist, cheat sheet, MP3 recording, whatever you can come up with.
The goal is to give your audience something valuable that they actually want.
5. Social Media
This is the final piece of your author platform, and I put it last because if you didn’t want to be on social media, you could ignore this step completely and still be a successful author in the digital age (although you will be cutting off connection to a large number of people).
Social media is the icing on the cake, but it’s not the whole cake nor is it the most important part of your platform. The reason is because you don’t own the social media sites, so you have no control over changes they make or things they choose to do.
Your social media can consist of your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… whatever sites you’re on. I always recommend starting with one or two sites, then being consistent and growing a following on there before adding more.