Here’s a basic framework to begin to create a personal publicity plan. As I often say, there is a formula to fame and while individual media tactics may differ, the foundational steps are the same. Consider these 5 “big” questions as you chart your course.
1- What is Your Goal?
Before you take a road trip, you need to map out where you want to go. Start with your current level of visibility and the media tools you are using. Then, think about where a personal publicity might take you. How do you want to be known? Define what you stand for and what problems your expertise can solve. What is your story? What’s your dream? What would “fame” in your field look like for you?
2- What is Your Message?
Your message is the central theme from which your media “fame” will grow. Tap into your passions. What are your main areas of interest? What in your personal or professional life makes this topic important to you? (This will be part of your media story. )
For example, my professional arena is media. My story is: I spent a lot of years working in traditional radio and television news and information programming and loved it. What evolved in the early 2000’s for me was a passion for the emerging field of online media (called “new” at that time). That led to a desire to use my professional knowledge, experience and skill to help experts and entrepreneurs use digital media to develop a polished presence, build a media expert platform, get known and grow their business.
Think about some well established media authorities. For example, Richard Simmons and his passion for helping obese people lose weight and Suze Orman who offers no-nonsense personal finance advice. Their over-the-top personalities don’t appeal to everyone and what they say is information you could probably get from others in their field. Yet they’ve packaged their passion in a way that sets them apart. Their personal story and empowering “you can do it” message attracts legions of fans.
When you are clear on your message, care deeply about a subject, put your unique spin on it and express it consistently across media platforms, you stand out from the competition.
3- Who is Your Audience?
Do you want to make a splash and draw a crowd locally, nationally, internationally? Do you want to attract members of your own profession or get in front of a particular demographic such as baby boomer women or entrepreneurial millennials? Maybe your audience is people working in government locally or nationally. Perhaps your audience is in a very specialized community such as tattoo artists, comic book collectors or artisan bakers. Define the audience you want to serve in as much detail as possible.
4- What Do They Care About?
When you niche down and understand your specific audience fully, you can research what they want to hear, why they would appreciate your message and deliver what they want! Set up google alerts on the topic. Read and scan niche magazines and newsletters. Ask within your circles! Send a brief survey to your email list or social media contacts. Talk to friends and colleagues in the niche about what thrills them in their industry, what issues bug them and what they’d like to see done.
Use this data to think about what you can say or do to educate and enlighten your audience…and perhaps most important…motivate them to action. (ie- want more from you!)
5- Where’s Your Audience?
Now you are ready to find an audience to express your expertise in a way these people want to hear. This article on The Buffer blog has lots of ideas and tools for tapping into a community online: Find Your Audience and Build a Community
There’s more work to do to produce a strategic personal publicity plan, including some objective assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, but this is a good start.
Once you have a clearer vision and framework to make yourself “famous,” it’s time to craft the Action Plan. I’ll talk about that next week!