Episode 34: Building a Platform or Cultivating a Community?

Building a Platform or Cultivating a Community?Has someone ever told you that your platform is not big enough for them to work with you? Episode 34 of Just One Simple Thing kicks off a series on cultivating a community instead of building a platform. In this first episode of the series, you’ll learn three things I love about about building a community, and why I’m okay if I never have a platform that impresses a publisher.

If you are trying to build a ministry or a business online, at some point, someone has probably told you that you need to build your platform. I’ve talked to many writers, podcasters and business owners who have been deflated by the dreaded “p” word.

In case you aren’t familiar with the term “platform”, it refers to an established media forum where an author or speaker connects with their audience. It could be a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, TV or radio program, social media, or newsletter, or a combination of all of them … wherever your audience finds your content. And of course, when it comes to mass marketing of a book, product or service, the bigger the better. But what if you don’t have a big platform? Does that mean your dream of seeing people transformed through your writing, your services or your products is dead? Not if you focus on building a community instead of a platform.

The classic example of community is the early church. My favorite verses about them come from Acts 2: 44-46.  At its heart, a community is a group of people united around a common idea or message, taking care of each other, and intentionally growing together. They are invested in each other and the success of one person in the community is celebrated by everyone.

Let me share three things I love about cultivating a community, and why I don’t care if I never have the platform a publisher could be proud of.

1. Relationships are more important than numbers.

A platform is measured in quantity … how many people are following you? A community is measured in relationships … how deep are your connections?

2. Platforms can be built on perception, but community is built on authenticity.

When we feel the pressure to build a platform quickly, we often think we have to show only the Insta-perfect parts of our world. Don’t give anyone any reason to tune us out. But in community, we can show up as our authentic selves. In fact, the things that make us quirky or different or a little undone are the very things that help people relate to us. It gives them that “me too” moment where they think, “If she can do it, so can I.”

3. A platform is something you stand on.

A community is something you stand in. There is nothing like standing shoulder to shoulder with the people in your community.

Community builds loyalty, trust, and bonds that will be the foundation of your ministry or business for the long haul. There is nothing wrong with having a large platform, and it is possible to have both a large platform and a deeply connected community. But if you want to see transformation in people through your ministry, products, or services, focus on growing a community and let the platform follow.

I have a fun This or That template you can use to see where you are on building community or a platform. Head over to my free Facebook group Plan & Pray with Do A New Thing and grab the template. Then post it in your stories on social media and tag me@doanewthing and use the hashtag #justonesimplething so I can come celebrate your community.

Esther Littlefield and I have a new resource coming to help you build a community that buys. Visit the Cultivate Your Community page to sign up and be notified when it is ready!

Book Recommendation: Moving Forward: Inspiration for the Go-Getter Jesus Girl by Me!!! (The Find Your People section has some good thoughts about community.)

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