It was mid-May when I went on a talk with Diane Hinds, How to Promote Your Book. As I was leaving, I was wondering what it takes to be a recognised author and professional. It’s one thing to be featured in the press. But then I started to wonder: is it all that it takes? I started digging deeper into this and realised that in era of accessible information and social media, PR is not going to cut it.
Popularity & Traditional Media
Although advertisement in newspapers, radio and TV is often seen as untrustworthy, being featured in these traditional outlets is not. Newspapers and magazines are still seen as an authority of all press, often seemingly higher positioned than online magazines. Traditional media provides a third-party validation and verification, is viewed as an authority and shapes public opinion. If an editor of a magazine calls you an expert, then you’re probably one, isn’t that right?
Favoured By Public
Not so easy, though. Diane briefly talked about social media, too. After the event I checked her profiles on Facebook and Twitter. She has up to 50 and 300 followers on each platform, respectively. It surprised me the number of her followers was so small. Even despite the praise and promotion of her work in magazines, newspapers, radio and national TV.
Social media is possibly the most measurable way how favoured by public you are, and probably for the first time in our lifetime we can measure popularity so clearly and transparently.
Not that there was something wrong with it. I’ve had experience with that too. Although I was featured in the biggest Czech and Slovakian newspapers, my following has not grown. In my experience attempts of “offline to online” promotion doesn’t necessarily produce great results.
It takes time and work to build up the number of followers. I don’t have a huge following on social media, either. Yet when I started teaching blogging three years ago, some people didn’t take me seriously because I didn’t have at least 1,000 followers on each platform. It takes consistency, and everyone is at a different times at different level. However, I realised something when I recalled these comments from the past.
If ordinary people can relate to you and what you do, you get an approval and validation that takes you as far as traditional media. Saying that, social media is possibly the most measurable way how much the public loves you. For the first time in our lifetime we can measure popularity so clearly and transparently.
Leadership & Creating Something Bigger Than Yourself
Millennials seem to be saying this all the time: “I want to make a difference!” or “I want to make impact!” Being one myself, I can completely relate to this. And I know I’m not the only one.
It’s easier to say this than to do it. It takes leadership to make a difference. If you want to make impact, you will need to create something much bigger than something that will make you happy. It goes far beyond yourself. What I want to accomplish is that all children in the world will be growing up knowing that they can accomplish all their dreams. And it’s probably no secret I will never accomplish that alone.
If Ideas Were Enough
Last but not least, there is one component without which any kind of publicity doesn’t make any sense. Without action, your words are just empty statements. The message that is bigger than yourself needs to live in reality. Those are usually products, services, or speeches and talks.
In my case, I wrote a book that gives access to children to discover that they can accomplish all their dreams. But without the book, there would be no way how those children could experience it. Contrary to the popular belief, products and services are no longer a “capitalist way for making profit”. The way I see it is they merely resemble scalable value of leadership.
Now, with social media so accessible to everyone, it’s never been easier to turn popularity into leadership. The question is: are we ready to take on that responsibility?