Stunt Woman: On Building A Platform

Ok, here is the thing. I want a launch party for my book.

The only teensy weensy thing standing in my way (apart from having to re-write the darn book for the third time to re-focus my audience) is a huge platform, the kind of platform that makes publishers faint and lands me a contract.

I have an amazing group of supportive friends, many who are gob smacked that my current platform doesn’t cut it. I love my friends to bits, but have given up trying to educate them on the vagaries of the publishing industry and why I need a minimum of 100,000 hits to my blog every month, 50,000 Twitter followers, and dozens of annual media appearances to demonstrate some street cred. (I have spent the last several days reading “Create Your Writer Platform” by Chuck Sambuchino and I cried buckets at the end, way more than I did for “Marley and me.”)

The one person who seems to “get it” is my cousin Jen. She’s a senior communications gal at a huge corporation, who builds customer loyalty via a social media strategy. Exactly what I’m doing, except someone actually pays her.

Here is our email exchange yesterday.

Jen: We just have to come out with a “stunt” to get your name out there! You should also start asking John to mention you in his interviews – “couldn’t have done this without my wife!” 😉

Me: Unfortunately the public has little sympathy for John. Got hate mail after his last case asking how he sleeps at night and calling him “disgusting.” Now, if I was married to George Clooney (just blue skying here) that would be some kick-ass credibility! Not that I would trade John for George (really I wouldn’t) but you get the drift!

Jen: why don’t you make a mini video series called “Lawyers’ wives”? Like “footballers’ wives”? The interesting part is that people get so angry at John, even so to call him “disgusting”. People who are married to controversial people are interesting!

Me: hmmm. I think it might come across as too self-serving, and plays into stereotypes that I want to stay away from, e.g., being “the wife” of someone.

Jen: I hate to point out the obvious, but you kind of need to be self-serving right now. Also, in the biz, it’s not called self-serving, it’s called self-promotion, my dear. You are talking about re-negotiating contracts later in life with your partner. Isn’t that exactly what all these people (not only wives, but husbands too) have had to do, now that their partner is more successful and in the public eye? That kind of changes everything doesn’t it? FINALLY, people love to hear about the struggles associated with “fame”. How much would you give to hear Justin Trudeau’s perfect barfy wife actually admit that their marriage is suffering because of his political career?

Ok, fine. So I need a stunt. Something that goes viral, and draws traffic to The Relationship Deal, gets me a syndicated column, and gets my butt on Oprah’s couch.

But aren’t you trying to build a platform too? Whether you are a writer, a corporate executive, or a consultant your success depends on having a fresh voice, and people who love to listen to it. Whether this is through your motivational internal memos, what you share on LinkedIn, or a weekly podcast your goal is to engage, learn more about yourself in the process, and become a sharper professional.

So…what are you doing to build your personal or business platform? Perhaps we can get together—virtually or over coffee (my treat!)—and swap some success stories!

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