The Overnight Success Myth of Media Fame

Media_Star_single_star_labelThere is a formula to fame, but many are unwilling to put in the required time and effort to achieve it. Becoming  an overnight success can take years.

Drive and strategic planning can mean the difference between someone with enormous talent who sits back waiting for the world to beat a path to their door and someone with potentially less talent who takes the initiative with consistent focused action to reach their goals. 

Success is never guaranteed, but generally the uber-talent with no drive and no strategy will go nowhere while the lesser talent with a burning desire and the attitude of "the show must go on" will do what it takes to "make it happen." 

Here's a good article from the Philadelphai Inquirer about the roadmap "Cheap Chica" followed to create her media moment:

Mirror, Mirror: 'Cheap Chica' Lilliana Vazquez Sizzles in New York

Note her steady brand building process rolled out over several years and a blog was her initial vehicle to getting noticed.  She did not instantly land on national TV talk shows or get a book deal "overnight."

National media likes the perception that they "discover" experts, but TV producers are too busy to go out scouring the country looking for worthy unknowns to feature. Sure, they may stumble upon a gem but usually big media appearances are the result of hard work behind-the-scenes by an agent, a publicist or the expert/author pitching their story like crazy. 

And when the expert gets an opportunity, they better be media-ready to shine in the spotlight and get results. If they are not prepared with a complete visibility strategy calibrated to extend their moment in the sun and keep the momentum going, they're unlikely to get another shot. That hard-won media hit will be a one hit wonder, with bragging rights only valuable to their family and friends.

If you have read this far, you are probably interesting in finding out what it will take to raise your visibility, credibility and build a personal media brand.

Let's look at a typical list of professional activities to create a comprehensive Magnetic Media Expert Platform:

Message – This is the foundation and must be clearly articulated in everything you do.  It will carry you through adversity, setbacks and detours in your media climb. What is the essence of what you want to say?  Who do you want to reach with your message?  How are you going to reach them?

Website – a good-looking polished home base is a digital asset/Internet "real estate" you control. Consider both a business site and a personal brand site with your name as the domain name.

Articles/blog  – vehicles for establishing your authority and spreading the word to enhance your expert status.

Social Media – Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social networks are tools to find and grow your audience and continually connect with fans and followers. Consistent online media presence sharing engaging content is an easy, affordable way to carve out a personal brand and get a platform going.

Write a Book – Nothing says authority like the word "author" in front of your name.  A traditional book contract is a great achievement, but self-published  is not a dirty word anymore.  You can position your expert brand with your own book.

Speaking – appear at conferences, present to groups, host book signings. You'll likely do these gigs for free at first but eventually have the stature and experience to get paid for speaking.

Media Publicity – Legacy newspaper, radio and TV coverage still carries clout and online media publicity is cost effective.

A strong digital presence+ speaking + writing + media appearances (either  traditional or online) are core visibility components but everyone's goals are different. Maybe you don't want to be on national TV. Maybe your goal is to make a name for yourself locally.  The steps are customizable and scalable.

Your list of activities beyond the basics might focus on products and services, coaching or training programs, authoring more books, mostly public speaking, strictly online media, etc.

if you're thinking, "Whoa. Who has time to do all that?  I hear you. There are a lot of moving parts. Look at Hollywood celebrities. They employ a staff or their agent or manager does because it takes a village to build and maintain big-time fame. (Think Entourage, but without all the dysfunctional cable show drama). 

No individual can do all these things (and more) consistently and well, but help is available, whether you sign with an agency or assemble your own team of employees and/or outsourcers.

Your fame journey is personal and the reasons for wanting more visibility are varied.  Decide what spells success for you and what you are willing to do to achieve results.

If you invest in yourself and do the work, practically anyone can build a Media Expert Platform, but it won't happen overnight. 

What are your plans for getting more visibility in 2014?  Please leave a comment.



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Janet Vasil

Media Interview and On-Camera Trainer at Vasil Media Group | Your Media Moment & Beyond
Media Trainer, Executive Speaker Coach and Video Storyteller Janet Vasil is an award-winning, EMMY®-nominated TV Journalist who Helps Leaders Communicate with Impact On Camera, On Stage and In the Media. Contact at

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