Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets


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Platform Inventory Worksheet

Platform Inventory Worksheet, reduced size

Last weekend at the Midwest Writers Workshop, I offered a workshop on author platform building. Part of the workshop included 5 worksheets to help writers take an inventory of their platform (as it stands today), and also brainstorm how to better grow it.

Good news for you: I’m making my platform worksheets available for free.

Click here to download (PDF).

Below I’ve offered an explanation of each worksheet.

New writers may think they don’t have a “platform,” but everyone does. It might not be big or dramatic, but you do have one. These worksheets help you think about that platform from multiple angles, and for those who are advanced enough, you can also put some numbers behind it.

Note: If the term “platform” is new to you, in short, it can be defined as whatever gives you visibility and an ability to connect with readers. I gave some fundamental advice about developing platform in this blog post at my Writer’s Digest blog: The Hardest Part About Developing Platform

A brief guide to the 5 worksheets

  1. Content. This worksheet helps you brainstorm all the content you currently own rights to, and prompts you to think of ways you might repurpose it for different mediums or channels.
  2. Website/Blog. This worksheet is especially helpful for fiction writers or poets who aren’t sure what to blog about. The checklist acts as a prompt/creativity tool to get you thinking beyond “I’ll just write about my own work.” I’ve also included a checklist of questions about your site’s purpose, and how to maximize its impact. Note: USP stands for “unique selling proposition”—and if you can’t fit the USP into the space provided, it’s probably too complicated or unfocused.
  3. Social Media. This worksheet takes stock of your social media presence, and prompts you to think about where your audience might actually hang out (rather than just where other WRITERS hang out).
  4. Relationships. This is the invisible fuel of just about everyone’s platform. It’s hard to make progress if you’re working alone. Most people are (pleasantly) surprised when they really start to think of the number of people and organizations they know.
  5. Actual Reach. This worksheet can be especially helpful if you’re putting together a book proposal, or doing a 6-month or annual inventory of where and how you seem to be succeeding. It is somewhat limited and could be crass, depending on who you are (numbers don’t tell the whole story, not by a long shot), but metrics can be essential in being more efficient with your efforts. (Note: Book sales and downloads are also part of your metrics; add those if applicable to you.)
Do you have questions about platform, or about the worksheets? Please leave a comment!
  • Gabriela Pereira

    Love these worksheets! I will definitely be using these again and again as I build and develop my platform. Thank you so much for sharing these!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    A pleasure!

  • Joy N. Hensley

    Thank you!!!

  • Mindy

    Jane, I love the platform worksheets. I was so looking forward to meeting you this coming weekend at the Willamette Writers Conference, but I’m stuck in Seattle and can’t make it after all. I’m teaching a class this fall about platform and would love to use you as the guru my students should turn to. I’ll sign up and take your WD class since I can’t make it to Portland (my home town) this weekend. Hope to connect sometime soon. Mindy @  mindyhalleck.blogspot.com

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent! They are made to be shared.  ;)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Sorry to hear I won’t see you at Willamette, but look forward to seeing you in the WD class (or at a future conference)!

  • Michelle Griep

    How encouraging and empowering! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffcrafter Jeff Darling

    Thanks again Jane. As I have said before, you take such good care of us.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Thanks for dropping by!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :) I try.

  • http://twitter.com/jonathanfields Jonathan Fields

    Great resources, Jane! Thanks so much for sharing. It’s one thing to watch your “numbers” grow on a day-to-day, real time basis, but these really help you step back and see the forest

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  • Ross Lampert

    Terrific worksheets, Jane, even for non-writers. I’m struggling to bring a group of non-profit organizations into the social media world and they’re having trouble with just about everything associated with it: many of their leaders are “digital dinosaurs,” not even “digital immigrants,” and on top of that, marketing is a foreign–and frightening–concept to them (they’re mostly ex-military). These worksheets could give them something to start from. Would you mind if I tweaked the worksheets to fit into their world better, with full credit to you as the original creator, of course?

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  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Exactly! (Sometimes watching daily changes can drive you crazy.)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I agree—these worksheets can be helpful to anyone or any organization who needs an online marketing plan. Feel free to tweak & share.

  • Karen Lawrence

    Thanks Jane, these are super.  They will be used and passed on to my clients!

  • Midwest Writers

    Once again, your genius shines through.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Very kind. Thanks so much!

  • Marly

    Hey, Jane!
    Thanks for the worksheets – I’ll be using them over and over again. 

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Yay!

  • http://www.targetedtrafficstrategies.com Tami Smith

    This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing and for all the encouragement you provide!

  • Texanne Kelly

    Thank you, Jane!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    A pleasure!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :)

  • http://www.carynsullivanscribe.com Caryn Sulllivan

    That’s great, Jane. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sammie Justesen

    As a publisher, I look forward to sharing these worksheets with our authors. Thanks so much! 

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Absolutely!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Absolutely!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Absolutely!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent!

  • Ross Lampert

    Thanks!

  • Ross Lampert

    Thanks!

  • http://www.joannamarple.com Joanna

    Thoroughly practical and valuable resource, Jane. thanks for your service to the writing community.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Appreciate the comment! Thank you.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Appreciate the comment! Thank you.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Appreciate the comment! Thank you.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :)

  • elizabeth newton

    Thanks, Jane! This is generous and helpful :)

  • Terry

    These are great worksheets, Jane. But I think you are probably our greatest resource!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Very kind, Terry. Thank you!

  • http://aamasters.com Allison

    Jane,

    I just want to thank you for these. It helps me focus. I have to admit when someone uses the term “platform” I cringe (due to my lack of knowledge) but with these it feels doable. :D

  • http://aamasters.com Allison

    Jane,

    I just want to thank you for these. It helps me focus. I have to admit when someone uses the term “platform” I cringe (due to my lack of knowledge) but with these it feels doable. :D

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I know! I wish “platform” could be a more inviting/welcoming term. I’m glad if this can help get you over the hump.

  • http://twitter.com/Bevova Peter Ramirez

    I’m looking forward to playing around with these. I also will be sharing them with my writing group. Thanks!

  • Yvette Porter Moore

    Thank you for sharing.  Saw this on Debra Newton-Carter’s blog…This is a must use worksheet.  

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  • Debra Newton-Carter

    Just letting you know I mentioned your blog in today’s Follow Friday post. Hope you’ll stop by! In Black and White: Cross-Cultural Genealogy

    http://ibawcross-culturalgenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/08/follow-friday-connections-come-when-you.html

  • http://twitter.com/JonathanGunson Jonathan Gunson

    Phenomenally useful Jane. It’s all about author visibility.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Great to hear!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Yay! Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Much appreciation!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Yes! Thank you.

  • http://shoestringaustin.com Laura Roberts

    I had a question about the website page: are the content items on the checklist all stuff you’re SUPPOSED to be doing, or are any of these the kinds of things you’d warn writers NOT to do? I’m wondering since the first one is “personal thoughts / ramblings / unfiltered day to day stuff,” and another on the list is “pictures of my pet / family / children / garden / etc.” Would you recommend keeping that stuff off your writing blog, or does it help show your personality if used in moderation?

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    EXCELLENT question! It would not be wise to attempt all the suggestions on the page. I offer it up as a brainstorming tool—and also to help you consider whether your blogging is too unfocused to gain a meaningful following.

    Personal thoughts & ramblings work great for the really-famous authors (celebrities). It works less well for the rest of us. But there are exceptions to every rule—it depends on how much of an “interesting” person you are.

    Pictures of your pet, family, garden, etc, can be a fun element and might even distinguish you (if these things prove truly “interesting”). 

    Bottom line, all these things turn into “content” once you put them on your blog, and you should think about what content you want to be known for, and what content best builds your overall platform.

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  • Anonymous

    Brilliant! Thank you SO much! Just what I need ATM. Many thanks for your generosity!

  • H.E. Dinsmore

    I can’t wait to get started, this is what I have been struggling with…it couldn’t have come at a better time, thank you Jane!!!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  • Mitchell461961

    I have recently discovered your blog, and I find your posts timely and incredibly helpful. They have also contained new ideas that have helped me tremendously expand upon my own actions for book marketing. These platform sheets are awesome!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Thank you!

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  • frenazrahman

    Thanks for the advice, Jane. I hope you dont mind if i a leave a link of my blog.
    http://www.frenazrahman.wordpress.com

  • StephBethNickel

    Thank you so much for making these available, Jane. I look forward to going through them.

  • Laura J. Davis

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing these.

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  • Victoria

    Jane, what an incredible resource for newbies — and even those who’ve been on the block awhile. Thanks for sharing!