This post was originally published on Live to Write – Write to Live where I blog about writing and publishing with a diverse group of literary friends. 

This is the fourth and final installment of the Writer’s Platform series. So far, we’ve talked about the philosophy of having one, the concept of what goes into one, and the tactics of building one. Today, we’re going to touch on what to do with your writer’s platform once you’ve got it.

“In the hands of the wise, poison is medicine. In the hands of a fool, medicine is poison.”
–    Giovanni Casanova, 18th century Venetian adventurer, romancer, and alchemist

A platform is a powerful tool, but – like all powerful tools – its usefulness depends upon the operator’s expertise and wisdom. Here are four important concepts to consider as you start working with your platform.

Integration: The value of a 360 marketing plan is integration. The success of your publicity and outreach will be exponentially increased if you leverage all your channels in an organized and cohesive manner. For instance, when you publish a new blog post, you should tweet about it and also share it on Facebook. If you’re booked as a guest on a radio talk show, write a blog post leading up to and/or as a follow-up. Each opportunity you have to share your story and your work should be repurposed across your whole platform. This isn’t to say that you should publish the same content everywhere; tweak it for each format. A blog post about a speaking gig at a local conference might become a 3-minute highlight reel on YouTube. A blog series might become an Ebook. You get the idea.

List Building: One of the most valuable aspects of marketing online is the ability to “capture” the contact information of people who are interested in you and your work. Although there are many benefits to getting out in the Real World for some good, old-fashioned, face-to-face contact, the ability to establish long-term connections (via newsletter registrations, blog subscriptions, Facebook likes, and Twitter follows) is an invaluable asset. On the surface, building your audience numbers in each channel gives you some level of instant credibility. More importantly, you can now reconnect with fans, keeping them up-to-date on what’s happening with your work, where they can meet you, when your book is going on sale.

Once you’ve captured the interest of your audience, the fun really starts. A platform is definitely part stage, but it’s also part round table. The social Web gives us so many wonderful tools for creating two-way dialog with our audience. Use these tools wisely, and interested readers will become die-hard fans who then grow up to be evangelists for your brand.  Answer comments on your blog, respond to tweets, share what other people are saying. Give away your stage by inviting members of your audience to share your spotlight. Listen, respond, pay attention to the details.

Networking: Through the power of blogs, twitter, Facebook, and forums, you can connect to almost anyone – other writers, fans, mentors, even people in high places. Pay attention to where people are hanging out. Look at who’s following who on twitter, who’s commenting on which blog, and who’s partnering up on projects. Be a network sleuth – see the connections between people and figure out where you want to join the conversation. Think about doing some guest blogging (a topic for another post) for some exposure to other people’s networks. Would you like to do a teleseminar on a specific topic? Check your network to see if there’s anyone out there you might like to work with.

This is a very high-level overview of four important concepts that can make or break your writer’s platform. Each one deserves much more exploration, but we’ll save that for another day. I hope that you at least now have a sense of how you can put your platform to work for you, and how much fun you can have with it.

Now, go forth and build your platform!

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who, among other things, works as a marketing strategist and copywriter. She helps small businesses, start-ups, artists, and authors with branding, platform development, content marketing and social media. She also blogs. A lot. She is a mom, a singer, and a dreamer who believes in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Look her up on facebook or follow her on twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

Image Credit: theswedish on stock.xchng