What Oprah Can Teach Businesses About Getting Publicity and Building Authority
Oprah didn’t start out as a nationally recognized, incredibly popular talk show host. She started out part time at a local black radio station in Tennessee. From there she went to another local station as both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. It wasn’t until 2 jobs later that she was discovered by a Chicago station that invited her to come work on a talk show, which soon lead to what we all know as The Oprah Winfrey show.
We might never have heard of Oprah if she only had her sights set on getting hired directly on a major network show, and wouldn’t consider anything less. Instead she began part time, at a local station and kept stepping up into bigger and more visible roles.
This method can work wonders for getting publicity.
It’s important to not to overlook local or smaller opportunities because they often lead to other opportunities. You may be missing out if you’re overlooking opportunities, and holding out exclusively to land the big one first.
Starting smaller offers multiple benefits
Think big. Create a big hairy audacious goal- a BHAG. I am sure you have been encouraged to do that at some point. The truth is that thinking big can hurt you in the short term when it comes to everything from job hunting to seeking publicity and more.
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It’s great to create that big hairy audacious goal and to think big, however if it’s not put in perspective, it can actually hurt you when it comes to getting results. Especially when those goals require third party involvement such as building authority, getting media coverage, being a radio show guest or getting book reviews.
Prospects sometimes come to me stating their desire to be featured in Entrepreneur magazine, The New York Times or in the ultimate outlet – Oprah magazine. Those are great goals, however, sometimes you have to start out in the minor league, before the majors take notice of you.
Benefits of starting smaller or with lesser known media outlets include:
- It’s easier to get opportunities – local media likes local stories, and there is often less competition seeking them
- You can practice and polish your skills – better to flub in your small town paper than in The New York Times….
- Larger media outlets, producers and book reviewers often scan local media or smaller blogs for story ideas.
- The media mentions or reviews you receive are great content to fill your media room or press kit with.
If you are waiting for the big one, it may happen, it just may not be the first publicity you get. Oprah got her break as an anchor on the news because she was willing to work at a small local station first.
So when it comes to getting publicity, being a guest on a podcast, getting your book reviewed and many other desirable outcomes, having some experience, even if it’s not from the top network or leading company has value.
Describing what journalists look for in a source, Dawn Reiss, freelance journalist /writer for various national outlets said,
“A lot of the major outlets will do a Google search on people to see where else they’ve been published.”
So being published, somewhere, counts. And can lead to more publicity.
If you steadily and consistently build your authority and showcase it properly online, those big opportunities will come. To find out how to build your online authority, read my recent post How to Create Instant Expert Positioning here.
What opportunities are you overlooking because you think they are too small or insignificant?
A Lesson from Oprah on How Thinking Big Can Hurt You