Many clients and prospective clients tell us they know what they want. “I want to be on The New York Times best-seller list,” they might say, or “I want world peace” or “I want to make a million bucks and retire.”
Worthy goals, to be sure, but usually there’s something else they want to achieve and they haven’t taken the time to really think about what that is. It’s the thing that motivates them. It’s the underlying passion that gets them excited and energized. This is the very thing that needs to be identified because it has to be the essence of their message.
Let me share a story with you about three cardiologists who’d all written books and were all clients here at EMSI. (For those of you who are not authors, pretend our cardiologists had each developed a health-care product.) You might think these three men would have similar passions, similar books and, ultimately, similar messages. Not the case! While each ultimately wanted to see his book become a bestseller, their motivations were entirely different.
One had witnessed time and time again the power of simple diet and lifestyle changes in preventing heart disease. He personally embraced this natural approach to health-care and was evangelical in his zeal to share it. His book had low-cholesterol recipes, stress-reduction exercises, and explanations of the effects of certain foods and behaviors on the heart.
The second client’s book was about end-of-life issues. It included ways to make legally binding decisions before illness impairs one’s cognitive ability. The deep-seated passion for his message stemmed from having dealt with his own life-threatening illness – heart disease.
And the third client wrote about taking care of your heart, with a focus on a simple, non-invasive test that can detect heart disease. This doctor’s drive came from having grown close to patients whose hearts were already severely damaged by the time they were diagnosed. He desperately wanted to educate people about this simple way of detecting problems early and getting treatment.
You, too, should understand your unique and self-driven purpose before you embark on “celebritizing” yourself – making yourself an expert media source to get the word out about your book, product or business. Let me help you get started by asking a few questions. Your answers will lay the groundwork for creating a plan to achieve your goal.
- What’s your vision for becoming an expert celebrity?
What will you be and do? Picture it. Is your vision to be philanthropic? Do you want to help homeless families in your community or address medical needs in developing countries? You may want to be the real estate agent everyone goes to when they want to sell their home, or the hairdresser who’s booked up three months in advance. Whatever it is, picture yourself in that role. Otherwise, you’re getting on a bus with no idea of the destination.
- What is your commitment to your vision?
How far are you willing to go? Building name recognition, getting press coverage, and working your social media networks all take time, talent, know-how and creativity. A very, very few get a lucky break and explode immediately onto the national stage. But betting on that is like betting the farm on a lottery ticket! For 99.9 percent of us, the winners are those who never give up.
- What is your unique message?
Now it’s time to zero in on that all-important message. The components are obvious: your education, knowledge, expertise and experience in your field of work or study. What’s not so obvious is that intangible thing, the one that engages your heart as well as your mind. What keeps you reading and researching to learn more? What immerses you so deeply in a project that you lose all sense of time? Maybe it’s obvious; more likely, this will take some thought.Short story: I sat next to a financial planner during a flight and we started chatting about his goals. I asked him what made him different; what was the passion that made him stand out from other financial planners. “Nothing,” he said. “I’m very good, but aside from that I’m no different than the rest.” Finally, I asked him, “What books are on your nightstand? What do you read at night before you go to sleep?” His eyes grew wide and he smiled. “How Baby Boomers can reduce their tax liabilities as they start drawing on their retirement plans,” he said. “I love to find ways for them to minimize their taxes and maximize there savings.” And I love to find a person’s unique message!
- Why will your message appeal to others?
It’s pointless to embark on this journey unless your message resonates with others – lots and lots of others. In all of the success stories I’ve seen, the individual’s underlying passion was fed by a desire to help others, to touch lives in a meaningful way. Their reward for all their hard work was not just financial, it was spiritual and emotional. (Remember the three cardiologists?) So, how will your message benefit your audience? Does it give them a tool? Hope? Inspiration? If it has no value to others, it will likely die on the vine – after draining your time and effort.
I hope these questions help you identify your unique message – believe me, you have one. We all do. Once you think you know it, write it down. Revise it; analyze it; poke it and prod it. Question it. Stretch it. If it’s sound, it’ll bounce back and still look good.
P.S. If you need more help identifying your unique message and developing a plan, there are additional introspective questions in my book, Celebritize Yourself.
P.S.S. If you need help executing an effective PR campaign, let us know. We’ve been arranging interviews for our clients on radio and TV, and obtaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines for more than 22 years. Plus, we now offer a social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please contact my partner, Steve, at 727-443-7115 Ext. 208, or simply reply to this e-mail. We’d love to hear from you.
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.