Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lessons from the Slightly Famous

The pursuit of one’s “fifteen minutes of fame” is easier now than any time in history. No longer do the masses have to live in the shadow of the famous because they have the tools to cheaply make a name for themselves.

YouTube has been a significant driver in this effort. People are battling it out with mattresses in a college dorm, a kid jumps from a second story window on a trampoline (bad idea), a person cries out in defense of an actress taking a pounding from the media. These people become the talk of the web for a least a day or so. There are those who seeking fame for reasons other than ego and entertainment purposes and they are a growing breed of entrepreneurs.

In the old days the media drove information. Occasionally a person got his letter to the editor in the newspaper, he or she would get on the radio as the “person on the street.” Besides such scenarios, there was a huge chasm between the media and the average person. The Internet is changing all of that.

In the book, Get Slightly Famous, author Steven Van Yoder writes about the forces available online for the average person to leave his mark and to get noticed. They do so in order to set themselves apart as the expert and to get the notoriety and recognition of such. This becomes a way to attract new customers.

In the early days of the Internet people simply had a website. These domains were little more than 24 hour brochures. Now there are far more tools available.

Blogging. People create their own web platforms where they tell people their unique opinion on politics, finance, marketing, movies, and more. Whatever their passion, vocation, obsession, or all of the above. Recently an article I wrote had close to 120,000 impressions on one day on Reuters.com. An article I wrote on Neil Cavuto of Fox News and Business led to his office contacting me and wanting to find out if I would be interested in having him on my show. The reach of blogging is breath taking.

Podcasting. This includes video and audio. Audio is cheap to start, in some cases it is even free. Video costs more, but could leave a bigger impression. The web is about the convergence of media – bringing several types of media to one place. Essentially, individuals can create a media network of their own.

Social networking. Twitter, Plaxo, and LinkedIn are just a few of the tools that business leaders are using to tell others about their influence.

But the Internet is not the only vehicle available:

People are writing books like never before. With Print on demand technology, people can self-publish at a fraction of what it use to cost and not fill their garage with books that may or may not get sold. Such books are not typically being written in order to become rich, but to be semi-famous.

People are buying air time on the radio and TV. They are not buying commercials where they can be lost among the many who merely sell, buy are buying programs that demonstrate their expertise as a way to attract customers.

People are giving speeches. Most towns have numerous organizations that are looking for speakers. Chambers of commerce, Rotary Clubs, and networking groups to name a few. When you give a speech to such groups you further differentiate yourself as the expert and find it very easy to find the clients that create more business.

The only downside to such activities is that it is difficult to make your website the place to be found without traffic or to be identified as the person to give speeches. Furthermore, there is an opportunity cost to pursuing such activities. You are trading the thing you do for a living to pursue the opportunity to get more business.

There is a company I am working with that is making this transition easier for entrepreneurs called USBusinessDaily.com. They have a free white paper that is available for the asking at Info@HoustonBusinessShow.com. I strongly encourage you to request it today.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the
Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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