Correct me if I’m wrong, but you spend a lot of time figuring out the best way to market your business. If you don’t you’re either extremely lucky, and have clients busting down the door to get to you… Or, you’re short sighted and hoping for the best.
Since most of us aren’t that lucky and weren’t born with a big client list, and I assume you aren’t short sighted (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this), I’ll assume you’re always looking for the best ways to bring new clients into your practice.
So you’ve no doubt at least looked into online marketing, and you’ve probably seen the term expert platform. But you might wonder, “What is a platform?” Or, a question I hear a lot in different formats, “What’s the difference between a platform and a website.”
I can see why the question is asked. The variance seems subtle. However, the difference is critical because while a platform is vital to your success as an author, coach, consultant, or service business, a website on its own won’t make you a dime.
To discuss the difference, we first need to go back to basics.
What is a Website?
A website is a collection of pages sitting on the Internet you can browse to from your home, office, coffee shop, etc. You’re reading a webpage now. This is one type, a blog post, but it could be a sales letter, about us page, home page, or any other collection of content written for the web.
By itself, a website sits out in cyberspace waiting for people to arrive via a traffic generation strategy.
What is a Platform?
A platform on the other hand is your entire pulpit. It’s where you get the message you are promoting, from your head, into the hearts and minds of your audience or tribe.
Hundreds of years ago, famous personalities spoke from stages, and those became their platforms. Today, there’s a much more accessible means, the Internet.
This accessibility though, comes at a price. Because the cost for entry is so low, millions of people are shouting from millions of street corners causing millions of distractions to your readers.
That’s why, more than any time in history, building your own platform to communicate with your tribe is so important. Without it, you, and your business with it, will fade in the crowds and the noise.
Platform vs Website?
All online platforms are websites, but not all websites are platforms. In the online marketing world, your platform is the anchor at the center of all of your marketing. For most consultants, this means their company website and / or blog.
Many professionals try, and some even succeed, building their platforms exclusively on social media, or other people’s platforms. I don’t recommend it. Doing so is launching a career on someone else’s stage, and hoping it sticks around and they let you keep using it.
You never want to build your business relying on someone else’s platform, because it can be taken away from you any time. You want to build and keep your own platform.
Specific difference between a website and a platform are….
- Unlike a website, a platform is more dynamic. It’s your pulpit for serving your message to the masses, so you need to keep it current.
- Your platform needs to be interactive. A website preaches to the audience while a platform encourages 2 way communication.
- A platform is not any one thing, but is a network of various communication mediums, modalities, and technologies.
In other words, while your website is the anchor of your expert platform system, it needs to interact and allow you to communicate information and value in many ways. This may include blog posts, videos, audios, podcasts, social media posts and conversations, downloadable information, membership rights and much more.
For anyone building a coaching, consulting, writing, or service provider business, a platform is the difference between standing out ahead of your peers, and fading into obscurity below all the noise we’re all bombarded with daily.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be lots of work, so the sooner you get started, the greater your success.
I strongly recommend an expert platform website as your anchor because it gives you control. Let’s face it; control over your destiny is much of the reason you chose to work for yourself. But you want to work with someone who builds platforms, not just websites, since how they're built and designed differ.
The difference between a platform and a website is a subtle but vital mind shift between just giving information or sales pitches, and actually proving your value by talking to your ideal client in a way they get to know, like and trust you. Every day you delay in starting is a day of momentum you’ll never see again.