The Power Of Platform: How To Promote Your Product Without Being Pushy

Posted at 08:02am on 6th November 2019

As a writer, and author of books, do you ever feel - as I have done - that when it comes to promoting your product, you simply don't have it in you? The prospect of booking speaking engagements is beyond you. The possibility of standing before an audience and persuading them to purchase your book is something you'd never contemplated. Of course, it's frightening! Because the solitary pursuit of creativity is so very different from the public persona required in speaking and selling.

Or is it? Do we have to be pushy? Do we need to nail people down in order for them to become purchasers of our product? Or can we simply appeal to their need?

I was listening, recently, to a podcast about public speaking in order to sell a product and make more money. Having been a published author since 1983, when my publishers set up speaking engagements for me all over the country, as well as on radio and TV, I know that making money is not the object of the game for me. What I want, via my speaking and the books I write, is to share my story, be it fact or fiction; to broaden the minds of my readers and thus help them to solve the problems that face them; to give them hope, and a different outlook on life. But how best to do so? Here's me in Exeter Studio, on BBC Radio Scotland.


What's that, I hear you ask? From a business point of view, it is your brand; it's what defines you; it describes the aims of your product, outlines the needs of prospective purchasers, and demonstrates how those needs may be met. Crucially, like the signature you write on a cheque, it should be unique to you.

Another way of describing a signature talk is as an extended Elevator Pitch. For those who have never heard the term, this is an outline of your product and its appeal to your listener, which should be no longer to convey than it takes for a lift to descend from top floor to basement. But while brevity is of the essence in the elevator, your signature talk is an expansion of what you have on offer. So how to begin?


We were discussing the three-point arc of plotting a story at my writers' group recently, and it occurs to me that there is a similarity between episodic storytelling and public speaking. While entrepreneur Pete Vargas describes this as Heart, Head, Hand, Heart, I'd like to put forward the concept of: Empathy, Evidence, Engagement, End. What are you talking about, I hear you say.

  • Empathy: Make a connection with your audience to show them that you are as ordinary as they are. Look at the first line of this blog for an example. Then give them hope. Tell them you're going to show how you got from feeling useless to being able to stand before them today.
  • Evidence: This should be the longest part of your talk. It's all very well giving your listeners hope, but where is the evidence for it? Again, look at the trajectory of this blog to see how you need to set forth the means by which they might benefit. For instance, my latest book, Picked for a Purpose, shows that however much trauma and heartache life might throw at you, you have a purpose in life, you are a person of value. When, for instance, it took several attempts over many years before my middle daughter's request for help to come off drugs was successful. During that time, I felt unworthy as a mother. But succeed we did! And as a result, my daughter put herself through college and graduated.
  • Engagement: This is a call to action. But although it is intrinsically: 'buy a copy of my book, give me your contact details, and I'll notify you when the next one comes out,' or 'here's a free leaflet showing some of the points that might help you, in exchange for your contact details,' it needs to be woven into your story. You need to show how this will be of help to those listening to you. The point is that you want your audience to engage with you.
  • End: Empathy, Evidence & Engagement combined. This is where you wrap everything up by telling your story of success in such a way that it appeals to both tactical and emotional decision-makers. Reinforce the outcome of your achievement in a point by point manner for those who like to plan. And convey the emotional victory of what it means to succeed, to know your worth. Then you're almost certainly going to see results from the power of platform.

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