Andy Warhol famously said that in the future we’ll all be famous for 15 minutes. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I think more than ever we all have the capacity to receive recognition, but not everybody does. That is why this is not the age of 15 minutes of fame, but the age of personal public relations.
In the age of the Internet, new celebrities and demi-celebrities burst onto the scene every day. Some stumble onto fame accidentally when a video shows Charlie biting their finger, while others plan it all out. Some burn briefly like supernovas on YouTube and on Twitter while others receive more lasting attention. This doesn’t mean fame and media attention has become easy or automatic though. The age of the Internet makes it possible for almost anyone to get media attention, but not everybody does.
People often think that PR is reserved for big business and celebrities, but the media world has changed dramatically and PR is changing along with it. The channels for communication have exploded, blown into countless microchannels on blogs, social networking, Internet radio, podcasts, and videos, in addition to the more traditional media outlets. With so many new channels in the world, there are that many more places to tell your story. Being a part of the media melee is not just for the big corporate players, but for the small and nimble small businesses and even individuals. The Internet has leveled the playing field, and gotten far more of us off the bench and in the game.
While the media world has blown up, we’ve also each become our own brand, described by Tom Peters as Brand You. You are not just a box on an org chart. You are accomplishments. You are Wow! You have greatness inside and out, coming out of your ears. In addition to living Your Brand, you need to let everyone else know about Brand You. You need personal PR.
Getting noticed in the media and in the mind of the public has many benefits. If you want a job, business connections, sales, or whatever it is that you have to offer the world, you need to let the world know about it. If you’re lucky the world will find its way to you, but better than being lucky is making your own luck happen.
Since I focus on the green business world, I talk with gaggles of green entrepreneurs, and when I hear their great stories I want to grab the world by its ears to get it to listen. Every time I talk with Spencer Brown at Rent a Green Box he blows me away with his constant innovation and commitment to helping people and the environment. I meet Ben Coleman by email, and he wows me with his innovative origami bonsai creations. I talk with Thomas Ackerman and I see in him his commitment to great, green printing and design at Spirit Graphics, good for businesses, planet and the community. Severin Jan Raegger is bringing the co-creation trend into men’s shirts with Solosso, each shirt designed just for the person and designed with the planet in mind as well. Dana Lee in Atlanta is helping drivers beat the rising price of fuel with Xtreme Fuel Treatment, and helping us reduce our dependency on imported oil. The list goes on and on. There are so many stories that it makes my head spin.
You’ve got your story too, and some personal PR you can provide for yourself. But while media access has increased, so has the noise level. With thousands or millions of voices all talking, and more coming on-line all the time, the trick isn’t just getting into media. Talking is easy. Getting people to listen is hard. You need to get them to stop their texting, Facebooking, and Tweeting for long enough to absorb what you are telling them.
What does it take to get those people blogging, tweeting, and facebooking all about you instead of whatever else they were doing five seconds ago? Everyone wants the secret to going viral. I think it’s pretty simple actually. The 4 steps for Personal PR to make the story of Brand You go viral are (drum roll please … ):
- Make it simple
- Make it entertaining (or otherwise captivating)
- Make it relevant
- Say it everywhere and anywhere, and as often as you possibly can.
So rather than waiting for your 15 minutes to come to you, craft a plan then go out and claim it. It is waiting for you. You might need a little personal PR help to get there, but a billion eyes are glued to their screens waiting for you and your story. With any luck you’ll get not just your 15 minutes, but a lasting place on the stage.
I’ll see you and your story in the news, with a little personal PR helping you to get there.