The dictionary defines a celebrity as someone with fame and renown. In the past, achieving celebrity status was enjoyed only by people who soared to the top in fields such as acting, national sports, politics and journalism. People whose faces, names and voices appeared regularly in our homes on television, in newspapers and magazines and on radio.
Traditional media coverage is no longer necessarily needed to build celebrity status. With the advent of technology and social media almost anyone can become a recognized expert — mini-celebrity — in their field. Yes, that means even you can propel yourself to stardom and fame. But it takes hard work, dedication and most of all patience.
Many people ask me how I became an expert contributor for ABC News, Fox Business, Fox News and other media outlets. I can assure you it didn’t happen overnight. It’s the culmination of many years of effort, but well worth the investment of time and resources.
Here are 5 ways you can begin building your expert status.
1. Speaking Engagements. Create an information-packed presentation(s) and let appropriate organizations, conferences, companies and groups know you are available to speak at their events. Organizations are often looking for good speakers. Keep in mind, your program must be helpful with good tips and resources for the audience, not a sales pitch. If you try to “sell” you’ll be black-listed quickly. But if you do a good job, the word will spread quickly. Not comfortable speaking in front of a group? Try starting small. Volunteer to be part of a panel discussion instead of a solo presentation. If you’re really struggling with the idea, then hire a speaking coach or join an organization such as Toastmaster’s International.
2. Blogging. A blog is an excellent way to build a loyal following and enhance your brand. Use your blog to connect with your market and establish yourself as an expert. Don’t be shy about letting people get to know your personality. Blogs are much more personal than articles, so let your voice come through. To be successful with a blog, you must define your mission. In other words, State what it is you want to say. And you must be committed to blogging on a regular basis. Share your blog posts through social media to amplify your voice, and interact with readers who leave comments.
3. Internet Radio or Podcasts. I must admit I wasn’t originally a fan of Internet radio or podcasts, but I’ve seen them work successfully for small business owners so I’ve changed my mind. An Internet radio show allows you to position yourself as a subject-matter expert. It also gives you a chance to spotlight special guests. An Internet radio show is a major time commitment because you have to prepare in advance and book your guest(s), plus it must be recorded at a specific time each week. A podcast, on the other hand is typically shorter in length — 10 to 15 minutes versus an hour. But a podcast can be recorded at your convenience. However, just as with any of the tools I’ve mentioned so far, in order to build a following, you should establish a regular schedule to distribute or post your podcasts.
4. Media Contributor. Most business owners know the value of getting your business mentioned on television or radio. But without an expensive public relations firm, it may seem unattainable. Not true. Check out HARO — www.helpareporter.com. You can register on the site as a media resource and you’ll get daily emails with queries from journalist representing all types of media outlets. I use it to find experts as well as story ideas. Social media is another way many journalists identify story resources. I often post opportunities on my Facebook Fan page and on Twitter. (www.facebook.com/susansolovic or @SusanSolovic)
5. Write a Book. Nearly every “expert” has authored a book. With the myraid self-publishing online resources today, publishing a book is easy and affordable. Wondering how to write all that content? Repurpose your blog posts. Compile your blogs and before you know it you’ll have enough material to fill the pages of a book.
Remember, as the founder and owner of your small business — you are the business. Building your celebrity status is a great way to build your brand so your business can soar to near heights.
Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, author of three best-selling books, multi-media personality and contributor to ABC News and other outlets, public speaker and attorney. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.