Write to Create Awareness

How to use your words to change things

Frank McKinley
Jul 30, 2018 · 7 min read
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

When you decide you want to be a real writer, you see yourself changing the world with your words.

Whether you’re a teacher or a storyteller, your goal is the same. You want to get noticed, sell books, or high-traffic blog, right?

You might even want to get paid to write.

That all starts when people notice you.

But I Don’t Have a Platform

What do you think of when you hear the word Platform?

Does it mean you have a stage where people come to hear you speak, sing, or perform?

Well, yes — and no.

It’s great to have a stage. And lots of performers get famous going on the same stage night after night. Vegas, anybody? That and Broadway are the show capitals of the world.

There are other stages in the online writing world you could get on where lots of people gather. We’ll talk about that in just a minute. But first, there’s another platform that is even more important.

The platform you take with you wherever you go.

If I’ve just confused you, stay with me.

Your mobile platform is you. It’s your message. It’s the experience you bring to people no matter where you show up. Some people call this your brand. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the YOU that you bring regardless of the stage you step onto.

Who Are You?

That old seventies song from British Rockers The Who just popped into my head.

Which brings me to a story.

Did you know that when The Who started out doing shows, people would love their stuff but couldn’t think of their name. So when someone would bring them up, people would say, “The Who?”

Maybe you feel like that now. People may like what you’re doing but they can’t put their finger on who you are. And unless you have a strong brand, that can happen again and again.

I’ve got a simple remedy for you. You may not be able to fill in the blanks in one minute, but you can do it in as little as one day. And when you do, you’ll get less of “Who is she?” and “Who is that guy who said that?”

Let’s define YOU so we can build awareness about you.

Define your mission.

This is critical if you want to build traction.

What drives you to put words on paper? What makes you so upset you can talk about it for hours? What is it that if someone gave you the power to fix it, you’d take on in a heartbeat?

That’s your mission.

You can define your mission by simply filling in the blanks in this sentence.

Every ______ should ______.

Maybe it’s every young person should be able to think critically. Or every CPA should be able to give a dynamite speech. Or every writer should know how to market their work.

Whatever it is, it’s got to come from your heart. When it does, then you’ll have the energy to do the work required to get noticed and build a following.

Got your message yet? Feel free to share it in the responses if you want. I’d love to hear what you’re doing!

Now let’s get practical.

Join a writing group.

If you want people to pay attention to you, you’ve got to get to know them.

There are all kinds of writing groups out there. I have a few, and I’m a member of more. It’s hard to be active all the time in all of them, but here’s what’s important. You need to set aside time to be active some of the time.

How do you do that?

Simple.

Participate in the group threads. That’s one sure way to make sure you stay within the rules of the group. Don’t just start posting every day if you don’t own the group. Even if you do, the group is not all about you. Sure, you may be the face of the leader, but you’re there to serve first. Anything you gain is best gotten from reciprocity.

Ask questions. And answer them if you have useful information no one has given yet.

Go deeper with a few people. Maybe you follow their posts. You could talk online over Skype or Facebook Messenger. We all need friends to grow. When you listen to other people’s hopes and dreams, you can encourage them. You can also sharpen each other by giving a different perspective. You may not always agree, but if you can stay friends, you’ll find your disagreements don’t kill your relationship.

And be sure to give your friends lots of support in their efforts! They’ll do the same for you. Besides, it feels good to lift others up.

Comment on other people’s posts.

This is a great way to be seen outside your circle of influence.

But it’s not the first reason to add your wisdom. It’s a secondary effect. Again, when you serve people first, everything good you want will come to you. Businesses succeed when they serve people. Influencers build giant platforms on service. There’s really no other way to thrive long-term as a writer, an artist, or an entrepreneur.

When you add your voice to a comment, you should bring value. Think about how what you say will make that person’s life better than it was before you said anything. That’s what makes people talk. When they discover something that is a game changer, they want to tell everybody!

Hopefully, they’ll mention you.

If they don’t, don’t worry about. Keep serving people in amazing ways. Your efforts are really like dropping coins in a jar over time. The value adds up with every coin you add. Over time, you’ll have real money in there, won’t you? Then you can do the things you’ve dreamed of before you had the money or the social clout.

In the end, all your good works pay off.

Ask to be on other people’s platforms.

I’d have never thought of this before I took Jeff Goins’ Tribe Writers course.

I had made money from books and freelancing when I enrolled. But guest posting? What was that? Was that even a thing?

Turns out it is.

Many of you know this already. But listen. Guest posting can get your words and your message in front of a new audience that doesn’t know you yet. So don’t waste that opportunity. Give it your all. Add massive value. Be more generous than you think you should be.

Don’t worry. You’ve still got more wisdom to share. And you can make money by customizing it to clients.

But you won’t be able to do any of that without some social proof. Guest posts will give you that. Why? Because someone with an audience believed in you enough to give you a spot on their stage.

How do I get on a bigger stage?

If you’ve never guest posted or been on a podcast, there’s a simple principle behind getting a yes to your request.

Make it all about them and their audience.

Sure, you want attention. But nobody cares about that as much as you do. People care about themselves first. I know. That sounds ugly. But it’s true. Think about it. When you see a picture of a group that you’re in, who do you look for first?

This is where your heart of service can shine brightest.

Influencers have egos, just like the rest of us. If you want your way, help them get more of what they want. Add value that amplifies what they’re doing. The best thing to do is look at your own life. Have you tried to do what the experts say and succeeded? We already know the pithy sayings. We want to know how it works. Did you have massive success? Or is there a challenge we’ll miss while we’re caught up in the romance of growing our influence? Share what you’ve learned. It’s your experience that is the exclusive we want.

I’ve seen so many people with good intentions talk about what they want first and foremost. Then 16 paragraphs down into their writing they ask you if they can help. Maybe they’ll even mention your interests in the postscript. But by then, it’s too late.

Just reverse the order of your presentations and you can solve a host of problems. Talk about your audience first. Mention yourself and your qualifications last. Weave them naturally into their story. Then you’ll get less resistance, fewer no’s, and more attention for your cause.

Try that approach and let me know how it works!

Collaborate instead of compete.

There’s no point tearing down your competitors anymore.

Why not help them out instead?

One popular way is to become an affiliate for their products like courses, seminars, and other things. There’s money in that, but not a lot until you have a bigger audience. But the association can prove beneficial, so you may as well give it a try.

One thing I’ve done is give the stage on my Tip of the Day to other people. They’ve loved the opportunity to share their wisdom with my audience. And those who watched have benefited. That’s a win for everyone, right?

When you’re seen as friendly and generous, people will trust you. If not, they won’t buy a thing from you. Besides, it’s better to have friends than to live in isolation. We thrive when we serve people. We need people to grow and shine. Otherwise, you may as well write all your ideas in a diary and shove it in a drawer.

What will you try this week?

Pick one of these and put more time into it this week.

Maybe you’ll pitch a large publication.

You could spend 15 minutes a day commenting on blog posts.

Perhaps you can build a community where people gather to talk about ideas and refine each other.

Whatever you choose, you’ll grow most when you help other people make their dreams come true.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 355,974+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +788K followers.

Sign up for Top 10 Stories

By The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Subscribe to receive The Startup's top 10 most read stories — delivered straight into your inbox, once a week. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Frank McKinley

Written by

Teacher. Coach. Bestselling Author. Helping writers, entrepreneurs, and change agents write the perfect blog post every time. https://skl.sh/2Xp1p8d

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

Frank McKinley

Written by

Teacher. Coach. Bestselling Author. Helping writers, entrepreneurs, and change agents write the perfect blog post every time. https://skl.sh/2Xp1p8d

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store