What Would Oprah Do?



Anyone who cares has heard the news that Oprah is ending her network TV talk show in 2011.  It will certainly be a long good bye, but she won't be gone forever.  It's reported she'll move to her own cable network, a joint venture with Discovery Communications, called the Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN.   (I love the play on words. Reminds me of the song,"God Bless the Child Who's Got his Own.")

Oprah has been a trailblazer in her medium.  Some blame her for the start of the tabloid, ambush journalism TV talk shows in the 80's.  In the early 90's, she shifted her show to a more uplifting, inspiring path and her audience grew.   Not everyone loves her style, but her fan base is loyal and huge…. and best of all, they BUY what she likes, uses and recommends.  She has the Midas Touch for advertisers.

Oprah became a marketing machine.  Books she featured flew off store shelves.  She developed into a multimedia star acting in and producing films, starting her own magazine and creating a satellite radio network.  Getting on Oprah (the TV show) or into O (her magazine) became the ultimate dream for many publicity seekers.  A  cottage industry of PR consultants, training programs and books sprang up to show people how to get on Oprah.

It seems to me Oprah's move away from traditional TV signifies two things:

  • the audience for network TV is eroding and she sees growth and innovation on cable.
  • owning every aspect of your business including the distribution arm gives you more power and control (not that Oprah lacks either one right now, but more is good, right?)

So what lessons can we mere mortals take from this high level move?   Here are my thoughts. Even at the top of your game, keep your eyes open for new opportunities and ways to capitalize on changes in your industry.  Strive to become a multimedia star in your field, even if you are just the biggest fish in your own little pond.  

While it's great to get your expertise featured in traditional print and on radio and TV, today you don't have to wait for them to tell your story.  You can do it yourself online.  The tools and technology available there can help you reach a global audience and there are new communications avenues opening up everyday at very low cost.   New Media makes it easier than ever to follow Oprah's example. OWN the products and services you create, spread the word yourself AND deliver them yourself to expand your business both horizontally and vertically.

Maybe you won't ever have the influence of Oprah, but you can still make a name for yourself and profit.  Start now and before Oprah says her big good bye, you could be sitting atop your own multimedia empire.

Photo Credit: stock.xchng/holger

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Janet Vasil

On-Camera, Speaker & Media Coach/Trainer at Vasil Media Group | Your Media Moment & Beyond
Communication Coach, Media Trainer & Founder Janet Vasil is a former award-winning, EMMY®-nominated TV Journalist who helps rising and future business leaders communicate with courage and charisma on-camera, and off. Contact at http://bit.ly/Talk2Janet

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