Have you ever heard actors or singers who became “overnight sensations” explain that their success didn’t happen overnight after all?
Instead, it was the result of lots of toil, along with years in which they languished in obscurity before – after much persistence – they rose to prominence and finally achieved “instant” fame.
Building your personal brand works in somewhat the same way. You can’t expect to bolt out of the starting gate one day and end up the next morning on the front page of a major newspaper or on the set of a national TV show.
So, the bad news is that success in the publicity and personal-brand-building world can take time. The good news is, for those willing to put in that time and effort, success does happen – and often in a big way!
Case in point: One of our clients was just featured in an Inc. magazine article that focused entirely on her and her message, along with a mention of her book! That’s not a common occurrence with this publication.
But this was no overnight achievement. She’s been our client for a year, and in that time we steadily helped her build both a stronger social media presence and print media presence. Would Inc. magazine have devoted so much space exclusively to her if she hadn’t built her authority over the last 12 months? Unlikely.
I share her success story for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, this shows what can be accomplished by those who find a message that resonates with the media and who keep at it, realizing that publicity and brand-building must be ongoing.
The second reason I share her story is this: On occasion, we encounter clients who don’t have a strong media presence and yet expect this sort of media attention instantly. They struggle to understand why we don’t just call up journalists or TV producers and explain how great they are or how wonderful their product or service is. They assume the media will be eager to talk with them.
It doesn’t quite work that way.
Sorry to say, the media may not be that interested in you – not yet anyway.
But you’re in good company. The top-tier media at one time weren’t into plenty of people who later became household names. No one cared about interviewing Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook started becoming a phenomenon that couldn’t be ignored.
That said, though, there are ways even an “unknown” can start to build a media presence and promote a personal brand, such as:
- Promote your expertise rather than your product or service. As I mentioned earlier, members of the media likely won’t care about you or what you’re selling. What they do care about is your expertise. Do you have valuable information you can share with their readers, viewers or listeners? If you’re a financial professional, what tips would you offer for retirement planning? If you’re a small business owner, what advice would you give others who want to start a business? The media may not perk up their ears at your name, but they could be swayed by the knowledge you bring to the table.
- Don’t dismiss the small victories. Everyone wants to be quoted in The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. They want the Today Show to interview them or Entrepreneur magazine to come calling. That’s fine! It’s great to dream big and we help many of our clients enjoy such successes. But don’t fall into the trap of ignoring smaller media opportunities. They help establish your online presence, provide opportunities to hone your message and give the top-tier media greater confidence that you’re a credible and authoritative voice in your industry.
- Never give up. While a quick dash from anonymity to media darling could happen, it’s not the norm. You may send out pitches and get no response. You might be interviewed for an article, then be left out when it appears in print. Don’t despair. Be persistent. Sometimes it’s a matter of hitting the right journalist with the right pitch at just the right time.
If you’re starting to think this sounds more like a journey than a quick trip, you would be right. And, for those who care about personal brand building over the long haul, it’s a journey that has to be ongoing.
Once your efforts die, so will media interest – and they’ll turn to the next “overnight sensation”!
P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!