Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a solid guide to building a brand and using social media. Due to the range of subjects covered, I would say that this book would be useful for all experience levels, but most useful for beginner and intermediate platform creators.
Platform is divided into five parts: “Start With Wow,” “Prepare to Launch,” “Build Your Home Base,” “Expand Your Reach,” and “Engage Your Tribe.” Hyatt begins by describing the product/brand creation process: how to select a name, how to garner attention, and how to create a “wow” experience. As the book progresses, he moves into advertising and marketing, utilizing social media, and starting a blog and growing its following.
Within each section, Hyatt begins with the very basic procedures and then works his way up to more technical realms. For instance, Hyatt provides step-by-step guides on how to create Twitter accounts and blogs, then expands on how to use them strategically, and eventually, how to track one’s statistics. While this structure is useful for a beginner, it can be a bit redundant for more experienced social media users and marketers. Therefore, I would encourage experienced individuals to read the book in a non-linear format in order to avoid wasting time on simplistic chapters.
My main criticism of Platform is that Hyatt deems it “A Step-by-Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell.” He claims that the procedures work for companies, products, and individuals. However, as the book goes on, he gets less focused on this comprehensive model and more into the individual aspects. Admittedly, social media and blogging are somewhat more geared toward individuals than companies. However, I still feel like Hyatt was not true to his premise in the way that he actively focused more on individuals than products and companies for the bulk of the text. (Of course, as someone who read Platform for individual branding purposes, this does not bother me personally.)
Structurally speaking, Platform is strictly organized with lists, graphics, and certain font styles. This is both a positive and negative. On the positive side, it creates continuity between chapters, makes the content easier to absorb, and helps the reader memorize the tips. On the negative side, the format does begin to feel tired and the predictability becomes a bore after a few dozen chapters. In short, while the structure may be a bit boring in fashion, it is necessary and helpful in function, which is clearly more important.
Overall, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a comprehensive guide to starting a brand and using intelligent and creative marketing to grow it. Platform is accessible to beginners while still being useful to intermediates and experts. If you are looking for a place to start your platform, or strategies for expanding and analyzing your traffic, this is the book for you.
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