When specialize in two or more different topics, it can be difficult to create a strong enough platform base for each of your specialties. The messages that increase your base on one topic can seemingly erode your base on another. If you want to maximize the impact of your platform(s), then you want to nurture crossover attention among your topics—among your bases—because there will be people in one camp that would like what you’re doing in another camp. So, how do you go about creating a strong base for each topic while nurturing crossover appeal among your topics?
My platform has three bases. Simply put, I am a writer, an advocate, and a marketer. As a writer, I write creative nonfiction, poetry, nonfiction about writing, and speculative fiction. While each of these topics gets some of my attention, my base as a writer is fantasy fiction. As an advocate, I write about autism, neurodiversity, nonprofit management, and disabilities. While each of these areas gets some of my attention, my base as an advocate is empowering people with neurological differences. As a marketer, I write marketing materials, consultancy materials, marketing books and guides, business development books and guides, and content marketing materials, books, and guides, but my base is solopreneurs.
When I lay it all out, my platform can be kind of confusing, so I don’t expect all my readers to get it all straight in their minds. Nevertheless, I’ve experienced enough crossover potential among all of these areas that I don’t cordon off any of my topics from all of my other topics. On the one hand, I keep my home base—my website—base-prominent. I have three main pages: Writer, Advocate, and Marketer. But all three pages could act as a topical homepage, each with their own subpages, like Writing, Services, and Store. On the other hand, my social media accounts host posts about each topic. I collect parties interested in only one of my topics, but they are still exposed to my other topics. If they’re interested, they can seek out more information. If they’re not, they ignore it.
In contrast, I know a few writers who cover multiple topics and maintain distinct identities for each one. Most use the same name, but create a different brand based on their topic. They create stronger bases, at least when strength is measured by focus, but they have to do more work to maintain those bases because it takes a certain amount of work to create and maintain a platform. When you have multiple platforms, it takes more work to maintain your ground, which leaves less effort available to expand your ground. In the online world, this is further exacerbated by the fact that traffic matters, which means that your splitting your traffic among multiple sites, instead of using the all your traffic to boost one site.
Unless you have a very compelling reason to split your identities, you’re best off with a single, united platform for all of your work. In this case, a base that supports one primary topic (and, possibly, associated topics) is a dedicated subset within that united platform. You can nurture a strong base, while also nurturing crossover appeal, by structuring your platform effectively.
The steps are simple:
- Maintain a home base—a website—that encapsulates your entire platform while also providing dedicated space for each base.
- Maintain platform components—social media accounts, for example—that touch on your entire platform, while ensuring there is enough content to satisfy the audience of each base.
- Cross populate calls of action among all your platform components when one topic of interest is especially hot (like the recent publication of a book).
These three steps provide you with the basic structure you need to maintain a vibrant base for each of your topics, while also nurturing crossover appeal.