Although there is no shortcut to success, there is a magic ingredient. Maggie Jessup, director of Platform Strategy has that secret formula which catapults her clients into the top one percent of their professions. A former journalist turned publicity maven, Maggie in her new book, Fame 101, shares behind-the-scenes strategies of entertainment industry notables, evangelists, celebrity lawyers, winning politicians and others.
In an interview in Can-India News, Maggie lifts the veil into the arcane world of personal branding and publicity secrets. Here are the excerpts:
Q. Please tell us something about yourself.
I’m a former journalist turned publicity and professional branding advisor. In 2002 I founded Platform Strategy www.platformstrategy.com to help people package and publicize their expertise so they can achieve new heights in visibility and income. We work with candidates, attorneys, business leaders, scientists, authors and others who have something remarkable going on to become their best authentic professional self and thus maximize their impact. Our goal is to help them reach not just the top 10% of their profession but rather the elite 1% where professional life gets to be very rewarding whatever the field. Every field has its Alpha Celebrities and we help people become one of them.
Q. Fame 101 is about personal brand strategy. What inspired you to write this book?
As a journalist and now as a personal branding and publicity advisor I have learned that anyone can become vastly more effective in their profession if they simply do what 99% of others in the same industry fail to do. When I speak at venues ranging from author conferences to Mensa conventions, it’s almost always standing room only so I thought I could get the message of the strategic steps people can take in their career out to a broader audience with a book. I wrote Fame 101 to give anyone a blueprint for a fabulous career and a proven step-by-step guide for building a high trajectory career.
Q. Did becoming an author change your business model? How do you think your background in Journalism has helped you in this industry?
Working in the press rooms at the Houston Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal Constitution was a great background for now helping my clients get visible with effective publicity. Too many PR people pitch their clients with ineffective press releases which reporters toss in the recycling bin or delete from their email without reading them. The best publicity advisors know that a journalist’s primary interest is informing and entertaining their audience. Publicists who help reporters come up with story ideas, that can certainly include their clients’ expertise as contributors, rather than creating a boring press release touting someone’s background make friends in the press and are super effective at keeping their clients in the news.
Q. The book talks about promotion strategies of 75 American icons ranging from Rachael Ray to President Obama, how important do you think is the role of branding?
I believe great branding is critical for them. We discovered that the 75 high-recognition personal brands we studied to gather information for our Fame 101 book were all masters of personal branding and powerful publicity; in fact these were the two common elements we discovered for every one of them. Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, and Suze Orman all catapulted from obscurity by packaging and selling their expertise in a unique and informative manner. Similarly the most successful politicians from FDR, Kennedy and Ronald Reagan to President Obama and Sarah Palin all have branded themselves along with their message better than their competition. Success and broad impact follows. Of course Sarah didn’t win the vice presidency but she’s making a big impact (and tens of millions of dollars) on the speaking circuit, with her books, and as a television commentator. Mixing branding and publicity can be very rewarding.
Q. Who might benefit from reading Fame 101? Would you like to share a few strategies with our readers about how they can elevate in their field?
Anyone interested in joining the elite 1% of their field will definitely benefit from the advice we offer in the Fame 101 book. It can work for teachers, actors, professionals of every sort, small business owners, startup gurus...effectively everyone in an industry where there are a handful of high impact superstars. Two of the many ways we share in the book to become one of those super successful and highly visible stars are:
- All superstars are great communicators. Learn public speaking and deliver your message at venues where your potential clients, customers, employers ... congregate. For instance, if you’re a divorce lawyer you shouldn’t be speaking at lawyer gatherings, you’re much better off speaking to women’s groups around the country. So become a great public speaker and then speak often. Speaking fees are surprisingly high and, once you’re well branded, surprisingly easy to get.
- The elite one percent write, often. Share your expertise by writing articles for publications read by people who can really benefit from your message. This gets your name and message out while giving you the chance to continuously improve your writing. Then, write a book. While this sounds like an insurmountable task for many, in fact there is a pretty easy way to get a book done in about 60 days. With a book out you earn Author Status which elevates your social standing immeasurably and it is an unbeatable competitive advantage in any profession.
Q. What are your forthcoming projects?
It seems a dozen projects are coming together for the second half of 2011. I am launching new books for three authors and setting up publicity and national tours for them right now. In August I’m co-producing a film in Los Angeles with a client and I have a quite a few speaking engagements for some really exciting groups from San Francisco to New York City. I’m working on a new book on attorney branding and then of course there’s the daily cool work helping Platform Strategy clients get visible and monetize the results.