I’m continually amazed at the wealth of opportunity the internet provides anyone – from butchers to bakers to candlestick makers – who requires an audience to make their dreams come true.
Today, anyone and everyone with a resonant message and a willingness to work at marketing themselves has a shot at celebrity. If you’ll recall, it wasn’t always thus.
The internet didn’t become widely accessible until 17 years ago, when we got home dial-up connections through companies like Prodigy. (Remember that one?) Before that, we relied on newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, “snail” mail, the telephone – usually tethered to a kitchen wall – and word of mouth for communication. If we wanted to know about new beauty products, we bought fashion magazines. For books to read, we turned to the New York Times best-sellers list in the Sunday paper.
Conversely, if you wanted people to know about your zippety-doo new hair gel, you paid mega-bucks for ads in those fashion magazines. If you’d just written the Great American Novel, you scrambled to get an agent and a big publishing house interested. If you didn’t have a lot of money or extraordinary connections, chances were slim to none you’d succeed without help.
Back then, EMSI provided that assistance through our connections in radio, television and print by arranging interviews for clients across the country.
Trouble was, once the interview was broadcast or the story ran in the paper, that was it. A shot of publicity was just that: one shot. Today, thanks to the internet, it can live on and on and on online. And you don’t need money or connections – the old-fashioned kind, anyway – to continue to use it to build your audience.
Whether you’re a butcher, a baker, a retiree with a first novel or a college kid who’s designed a cool new app, you can – and should – be gathering and sharing links to your media coverage on your website. Sharing those articles and interviews tells visitors you have the implied endorsement of traditional media. You have credibility, and that makes you and your book or product stand out from the crowd.
So, where do you begin? I’ve put together some tips on making what I call “marketing gold” work for you.
- Prominently display your endorsements on your website. You don’t have a website?? By all means, develop one! Being on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn is no substitute. Your website is where people go to learn more about you and your book, company or product, and where they will most likely make a purchase. It’s also where you should display your endorsements, whether on the landing page or via a “Media” tab at the top of the landing page. It helps to have a logo from the news outlet. For instance, if you made an appearance on the local CBS affiliate’s morning show, you can post the CBS logo with the words “As seen on CBS.” Turn the logo into a clickable link to your video.
- Always get your own copy of your interview or article. Most radio and TV stations, newspapers and magazines have some form of archive online. It’s fine, even good, to link to your interview or article in that archive because taking your web visitors to the source of publication adds a bit to its credibility. But always be sure to get a copy of the podcast, video or article for yourself – quickly – if you can. Some stations and publications seem to hold their archived content forever. Others purge it periodically. Some of the big news websites, such as MSNBC, clear certain articles every 30 days. If your article was published online only, grab a screen shot. To do that in Windows XP, simply go to your article and press the Print Screen Key (labeled “PrtSc” or “Print Screen”) on your keyboard. Next, open the application where you will paste the image. Paste it by pressing the Control key and the v key at the same time.
- Attract visitors to your site by continually posting new, useful and entertaining content. Many people blog on their site. Some add news links, polls, photographs, tips – whatever they can use that has some relevance to their topic. Keep building contacts and allowing people to get to know you by interacting on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites, so you can attract new visitors. And keep looking for opportunities to be an expert source for TV, radio and print. Marketing yourself is a bit like peddling a bike to generate electricity and power a light bulb. Once you stop peddling, the bulb eventually grows dim.
I know this sounds like a lot of work. It is! But remember what I said at the beginning? Opportunity abounds if you have a strong message that resonates with your audience and if you’re willing to work at marketing yourself.
The internet opens up all kinds of possibilities; it creates a more level playing field than we used to have. That’s good because it gives everyone a chance. It’s bad because that makes for a lot of competition. Use every tool you can to stand out from the pack.
“As heard on Sirius XM,”