It’s inevitable that to make your way in the world you have to build your platform. As a full-time producer, I’ve been having a lot of discussion around this recently. It was precipitated by a blog post that was written by a major publisher (I forget who it was now, several weeks ago). I appreciated the article as it addressed the issue by an irate guy who stated, “so what you’re saying is that you won’t take me unless I’m already famous” to which the publisher said, “yeah, pretty much.” The publisher then went on to explain that into today’s highly noisy culture and the ease with which you can publish your own content, it’s makes it far more difficult for a publisher to make their content rise above the rest if that person doesn’t bring some fans a long with them.
You might be wondering why in the world I’m writing about this. Platform building is equally applicable to any media production efforts. I liken to to bands. Bands spend years writing music, picking up fans at little shows on the weekends and working their butts off to get that bigger fan-base, sell more records, have better shows, etc. Say I was a record label exec and I had the option of signing one of two bands. The first is being the band who’d worked their butts off for seven years and the second a band that just got together and recorded a demo. All else being equal, I’d probably sign the band that and established fan base. I would do this not because they deserve it after all their hard work, but because as an exec, it makes my job easier and the chances of success much greater. The have a built-in, core audience already established and a proven track record of working as hard I would for their success.
But that’s not the point of my post. The point of my post is that building a platform as a Christian is a tenuous thing. Because as a Christian, you’re not out there to ultimately build your platform, but you’re out there to build Christ’s platform. The tension there is that, yes, you have to build your name or your platform to get heard but you’re also at it for a greater purpose. This point is where I think the publisher’s post fell short.
But before you can even approach that conversation, you need to wrestle with whether or not what you have to say is important or unique enough to warrant platform building. The only way to determine that in my opinion is in the same way a Christian should live out his or her life, in community. The input of individuals from outside ourselves is what will validate or invalidate our work and help us decided whether or not to take that next step of platform-building.