Picasso was a great artist. But art was not his only talent. Picasso also thoroughly understood the cult of celebrity and how to get known. Small business owners need to understand this, too, and learn how to become famous in their own right.
Why? Because as consumers, we view some people as “worthier” or “more expert” than others, just because they’re better known. These people may not be any more talented or better at their jobs than someone completely unknown, but we assume that they are just because they’re more famous. Their names are currency in themselves. We like to point out that we have a garment or a window treatment designed by a famous name.
Very few will ever become as well known as Picasso. But it’s still important to do what you can to add some sparkle of celebrity to your name. The payoff is direct—the more famous you become, the more customers or clients you'll draw, and the higher the fees you'll command.
See if there are a few strategies for you on this list of ways to become known.
1. Get on TV
The beauty of TV is that viewers see you in action, and they start to think they know you.
The most effective version of this marketing strategy is to have your own TV show. Think of what HGTV has done for the careers of Mike Holmes and Chip and Joanna Gaines, for instance. Think they have any trouble getting all the business they can handle?
Start simple. Many programs, especially news shows, are looking for guests for expert segments. You can also buy your own TV time, creating ads or infomercials about your products or services.
How to get started: Search for TV programs that regularly feature guests and might see you as a suitable candidate. Then find out who the right contact person would be and make your pitch for a guest appearance.
2. Get on the Radio
Being a guest on the radio is an oft-overlooked way to get your name out there.
The key to making it on the radio is to be an entertaining guest. Be over-friendly, over-excited, wildly outrageous, flirtatious, funny, morbid—something that the audience won't expect. And do it in a big way. You have to overdo in radio for the emotion to get across the airwaves. You also want to give the producer or host something to offer their listeners, something exciting enough to give away on the air.
How to get started: Seek out radio programs where you would be a good fit as a guest and contact the producer or host with your pitch.
3. Write a Book
Being an author tends to confer instant expertise and a certain amount of instant celebrity, too. And the great thing is that literally anyone can produce a book now, thanks to the variety of self-publishing tools available.
You don’t have to write a full-length novel, either. Shorter books and e-books are becoming increasingly popular, opening whole new vistas for showing off your expertise. A restaurateur might put together a booklet of favorite recipes, for instance, while a realtor might create a booklet showcasing tips for people who want to sell their home.
There is absolutely nothing to stop you from producing a book except time. All you have to come up with is the concept. There are plenty of underemployed writers around who will be glad to ghostwrite your book for you for a fee.
How to get started: Focus on your expertise and come up with ideas for possible titles. Then choose one or more of these titles and write a chapter-by-chapter outline. If this looks viable, you can turn it into a proposal for a publisher or just start writing your e-book.
4. Create or Sponsor an Event
Publicly supporting charitable causes isn’t just fashionable anymore—it's de rigueur for savvy businesses. Charity events are always great PR, but they're also a chance to sway influencers toward one company’s products or services over another.
While large corporations can afford to sponsor many different events, one of the best ways for a small business to employ this marketing strategy to get known is to select one charitable cause and connect its charitable giving to an annual event. You could be one of the main sponsors of a walk or drive, or even start such an event of your own.
How to get started: Choose a cause that you believe is important and see if any annual fundraising events for that cause already exist in your community. If they do, find out how to become a sponsor. If not, start brainstorming for a fundraising event and how you can get others involved.
5. Give Lessons
Offering lessons to the public related to your product gives you the opportunity to form a relationship with potential customers and kindle their interest in your products. And it can be a great way to get famous; if you're good at what you're doing, you'll quickly become a local celebrity. The next time your “student” wants to know something about your topic, you’re the one they will contact—or refer to friends.
How to get started: Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm what kinds of lessons or workshops you could present that are related to your products or services. Then choose the idea you are most comfortable with and plan a lesson or short series of lessons.
6. Work for Your Community
Nothing will seed and grow goodwill for you better than to be seen working hard to make your community a better place. Regular donations to your food bank or other local charity, serving on town committees, doing volunteer work—all the positive things you do will feed others' positive thoughts about you and your business.
Do as much to help your community as you can, and remember that there's nothing wrong with letting people know about the work you do.
How to get started: Choose a cause or causes and get in touch with the organization or charity involved to see what they need and what you can do for them.
7. Create a Newsletter
The newsletter is the workhorse of self-promotion. Sending a newsletter to your customers or clients lets you contact them on a regular basis and, if done well, lets them form a connection with you and your company.
The kind of newsletter you send out should be less a product pitch and more a sharing of useful information. You might mention a special offer or product, but the bulk of the newsletter should be articles or tip lists. The keys to a successful newsletter are readability, usefulness, and regularity.
How to get started: Collect the email addresses of customers (and potential customers). Design and write a sample newsletter and decide on a publishing schedule.
8. Write Articles
If you can write well, writing articles can be a great way to get famous—or at least establish you as an expert in your field and draw more business your way.
The trick to getting known this way is to get your articles published in the right places. Websites, blogs, magazines, and ezines that your ideal customers or clients have a good chance of using are all good places to get published. You also want to be sure that your articles tell people where they can go to learn more or connect with you.
How to get started: Research to find the right places to send your articles. Examine these sites, magazines, or blogs and brainstorm suitable article topics that would interest their audience and relate directly to your business.
9. Create a Website and Use Social Media
Many people who try to use this marketing strategy to get known fail. They make the mistake of creating a website, blog, or Facebook page about the wrong thing—themselves. Sure, your potential clients want to know the basic information about you, such as your name and contact information. But frankly, they don’t care about your vital statistics or your personal life.
What they care about is your expertise, and that’s what your web presence has to showcase if this marketing strategy is going to work for you. So make sure that your web site and social media pages display your expertise and give your web visitors a way to sample it. You can do this by providing articles, tips, or videos about subjects related to what you do. You might also include a visual portfolio and testimonials from satisfied clients, or even take and post questions and answers from site visitors.
How to get started: Design a website focused on your expertise or hire a professional to do it. Buy a domain name, get a web host and publish your site. Market your website. Create a social media plan, and begin establishing your presence on various platforms.
10. Join the Right Organizations
Some people make the mistake of separating businesses and consumers in their minds. They seem to think because they’re marketing to consumers, they don’t need to bother with other businesses, except for supplies. Wrong! Other business people are consumers, too, as are their families, friends, suppliers, and customers—all people who might be interested in what you have to sell.
That's why it's important to join organizations specific to your industry or field, as well as other business organizations, such as your local chamber of commerce, business association, or networking group. And by participating in these organizations, you also contribute to the well-being of your business community. Some even offer financial benefits, such as discounts on insurance, to members,
How to get started: Pick the organizations that interest you and find out how to join. Start with only one or two at a time, as you want to be able to participate as fully as possible.
The More You Get Famous, the More Money You'll Make
Yes, it’s going to take some effort, and you won't become famous overnight, but this is one marketing strategy that will amply reward you for your efforts. And don’t forget, you can always shorten the process by hiring a publicist if you wish.