How to Become a Semi-Celebrity (and Use It as Your Springboard to Global Domination)

by Kevin Delaney

Attaining full-blown celebrity status is a rare and awesome thing. The person with millions of adoring fans enjoys a range of possibility and opportunity unfathomable to the anonymous commoner on the street.

International superstardom should head the list of everyone’s long-range career goals. But just because the world at large hasn’t yet taken notice of you doesn’t mean you have to suffer in obscurity. You can become a semi-celebrity today — or at least a lot sooner than you think.

What’s a “Semi-Celebrity?”

A semi-celebrity isn’t yet a household name, but they’re poised on the precipice of becoming one.

To be famous at any level means that a large number of people know who you are. Some even like and respect you.

To be a big-time celebrity requires the attention and cooperation of major media. A semi-celebrity, however, can do it all by him- or herself. Today, thanks to the Internet, anyone can be heard, and can start building a powerful perception in the minds of other people.

Finding Your Message

The key ingredient in capturing the public’s attention is having something to say — ideally something offbeat, challenging, interesting.

Start with your opinions. You probably have lots of them. Which of your viewpoints sets you apart? What makes your voice unlike any of the others out there?

Your keynote message should be straightforward and simple. The most effective messages are ones which are instantly grasped. People shouldn’t have to take a long time to figure out whether they’ll fall in love with you (or despise you).

Select your message with care. In the minds of your audience, what you say and who you are fuse into an indivisible whole. Your message should reflect your persona, embody your unique approach to your subject, and make indelibly clear your special take on the field you’re about to conquer.

Harnessing Technology

Once you discover your magic message, shout it from the rooftops. Better yet, get a website. Also sign up for Twitter, Facebook, and a good email marketing service while you’re at it.

Blogs are excellent tools for self-promotion. With a blog, you can rapidly develop a large following: readers can subscribe to your blog, comment on posts, and share entries they find especially appealing with their friends.

Even if your message is one that can’t be put across easily in words (you’re a musician or a graphic artist, for example), you can still use a blog to connect with and grow a fan base. Blogs can contain video, audio and images, and people enjoy stopping by regularly to see what someone they’re interested in has been up to lately.

The Power of Social Media

Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are an essential part of your marketing campaign. Make it clear that anyone is welcome to connect with you. Include links on your site and in your emails to allow this to happen.

The announcements you publish should consist of two elements: 1. news, including events and happenings that you’re involved with (as well as updates to your website or blog); 2. a window into your personal world: an ongoing report on what you’re thinking, seeing, experiencing.

Be careful with #2: Your readers need to know that you live an exciting life, one they can daydream about and aspire to. Include enough mundane stuff to make it clear you think you’re a regular person. Your fans and followers, however, should feel that they know better.

Building Your Email List

As potent as social networking websites can be, they pale in comparison to the power of a strong email list. Everything you do should have the ultimate goal of getting people to sign up to receive your email newsletter.

An email list is a highly targeted group of interested subscribers. When people really like you, they register for your email list. Thus the missives sent to your list can have a much greater and more direct impact than what you communicate via other means.

If the social media sites are radio and print, your email list is television. Relentlessly encourage people to opt in; let them know that they’ll be a part of something special if they do.

How Much is Too Much?

People often ask how much they should communicate with the people who follow them. How many messages in a day, week or month are appropriate?

No exact guidelines are possible. My advice is to err slightly on the side of too much communication, rather than too little.

Unless you’re really overdoing it, most people won’t mind hearing from you frequently. After all, they chose to follow you — a decision they can undo at any time.

If they become irritated, let them drop you. You want enthusiastic fans, not folks who tolerate you.

Moving On Up

Once you’ve established your presence and built up your following, you’re ready to invite the mainstream media to the party.

Don’t wait too long before taking your message to larger outlets. Sometimes just having a website or blog on a particular subject can be enough to get you interviewed or profiled.

The media is always looking for experts and unusual people to do stories on. Welcome all coverage — even stuff that portrays you as a charlatan or kook. What’s important is that your name, persona and message (however distorted and diluted it might get) is being put out into the world.

Now is the time to supercharge your personality. Your message attracts your fan base; your persona gets you on TV and keeps your presence alive in the public’s consciousness.

Going for the Gold

Semi-celebrityhood is a temporary stop, a way station along the path to large-scale recognition and fame. Your mission should be nothing less than world domination — or as close as you can come to it.

If success on this level seems too ambitious for you, you probably lack the determination and chutzpah necessary to be a celebrity, even on a modest scale.

To become famous, you need only a relatively small (but dedicated) following. The general public does not have to love you; they must, however, be aware of you. Who you are and what you stand for must mean something to them.

When people are reading about you, talking about you, thinking about you, you’ve got it made. You’re right where you need to be: you’ve passed the threshold, you’re inside people’s minds. From here, virtually anything is possible.

From a business & marketing perspective, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

the famous nemo September 27, 2009 at 7:40 am

wow this was a great blog, thanks

Anne September 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Great article, Kevin and very timely as I am preparing my campaign for world domination over the coming weeks 🙂

I’ve got my message and it’s all about JOY, I’ve got a small list and a new radio show enerJOY-the energy of JOY. I’m on my way.

PS – I’m thoroughly enJOY your perspective in your articles.

cheers, Anne

Kevin Delaney September 29, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Thanks, Anne! Keep me posted about your project & your success.

Best,
Kevin

Bonnie Engel Lee September 30, 2009 at 4:59 am

Hey Kevin,
What a great article and timely for me as I am launching a podcast series for parents. If you are interested, you can find it at speechdoc.podbean.com
Still following you on Twitter!. Thanks again

Rhonda Cort September 30, 2009 at 7:10 am

Great post Kevin!

I couldn’t agree more. People should follow your insight on finding their message first. This is something that takes time and one shouldn’t rush to do it. Once you become clear on that, everything else will flow.

Another point you make that I love is adopting the attitude about not caring if people “drop you”. It used to bother me if I saw someone opt-out of my list, but it creates space for many more who love what I have to say. So it’s a good thing! Who wants to be tolerated? We should only want die-hard enthusiasts and fans.

As a mentor, speaker and soon to be author who teaches entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals to unleash their magnetism, I really connected with you.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Rhonda
@MagneticWoman

Alicyn Packard September 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Another point I would make is that you really need to know why you desire to become famous. I’ve seen many people fall into the trap of desiring fame for the sake of trying to fill a void within themselves.

When you’re truly connected to your path and you know what you have to share with the world, this process is a natural extension of your life. Know who you are and share your bliss!

xo
Ali

Oswald J ,Sandy September 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Thank you Kevin for such timely info.Your previous Blog about the 3 types of prosperity was great & now how to become a semi- celebrity even greater!!I’ve also been following your tweets on twitter. Stay on my wall & in my face..lol…Got to white book this info..Great impact!!

Kevin Delaney September 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Alicyn: I agree totally! Fame is only an advantage insofar as it helps you to get your message out into the world. It’s a lousy way to get back at your parents for not buying you a bicycle when you were 10.

Best,
Kevin

Joni Fisher September 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I agree Ali & Kevin. The purpose of pursuing celebrity has to be based on the right reasons…a sincere and passionate desire to share knowledge, information, tools, tips with nothing expected in return. To truly make a difference sincerity in making a difference, helping a cause, a person….whatever your personal grail may be is contageous; that passion and honesty cannot be manufactured. Celebrity, based on self-serving or manipulative motivations, lacking this premise will prove to be hollow & short-lived. People follow based on integrity and out of respect for accomplishments or insight.

Regards,

Joni Fisher

Tom Megalis September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Another quality piece that digs in deep and gets us to think. Nicely done Kevin. I agree with a previous post. It is very important to want to be “famous” or known for the right reason. For your work. Not just for being you. It seems so many internet celebs or reality TV celebs these days are so shallow it’s not even funny. It’s tragic.

Perhaps it started with Bill and Monica; at least on a high level. I heard somebody say recently that Andy Warhol started the whole “fame for fame” idea. Not true. He was a very gifted artist who was also a marketing wizard. He fused into his art. He became a brand like the soup cans he painted. Not a bad thing really.

You are the person who creates the art, why separate the two? Bottom line, work on your craft, take it to a high level, then promote the hell out of it. Otherwise, how will anybody be able to find you in the horrid clutter we have created.

Peace,

Tom Megalis

Natalie Sisson October 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

Love the first paragraph of this article and energy and humor that got me engaged. Perfect timing on this article as I was just doing a small intro video last night for my blog and want to start a weekly series of these.

I believe short, entertaining videos along with great articles that share your experiences and passion will help you engage more with your fans.

Looking forward to reading more

Natalie

G. Keenan October 31, 2009 at 5:45 am

As someone who has recently dominated the world, I can say that this man speaks the truth.

But, Kevin, I am disappointed to say that you left out maybe the most important step of all: Death Rays.

(Thanks for the post, buddy. Good read!) 😛

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