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1. What is your Platform?

Who are you?
What is your expertise?
What do you have to offer?

A writer's platform is his or her talent, expertise, renown and style: the qualities that draw, retain and satisfy an audience.

Your platform is "the brand that is you." Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, Dave Barry, Suze Orman, Oprah Winfrey: these people have become brands in their own right. People buy their writing not because of what is written but because they wrote it.

In today's difficult writers' market, being a competent writer is not enough. You must differentiate yourself with a unique platform. You must become your own brand-name.

Who are You?
Newspapers and magazines allow you a byline but little more because they seek to promote the publication's brand, not yours. Your work contributes primarily to the value of the publication's brand, and to your own in only a minor way.

When you self-publish online, your work builds your platform and promotes your own personal brand. Brand promotion is essential to success. You can't afford to be shy.


What is Your Expertise?

The foundation of your platform is your experience and expertise. Without these, you are the same as anyone who travels and wants to write.

Your experience is not just the things you've learned on the road. It includes your knowledge of your audience, your sense of what they want and need to know, and your skill at communicating and entertaining. If you've been writing for a few years, you have a unique perspective and set of skills. These are the bases of your platform.


What Do You Have to Offer?
Why should travelers come to your website? How can you help them better than others? Define this, and you'll have the purpose of your website: your mission statement.


Next: Your site's purpose.

Previous: Where Do I Start on a Travel Website?

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Tom Brosnahan