Oprah Winfrey is someone everyone’s heard of – her rags to riches story is compelling, and companies would do almost anything to get their product mentioned on her daytime talk show. Her 25 year media career isn’t over yet, and we could all learn some things about marketing from her.
Turn Yourself Into Something More Than A Person
No, I don’t mean a superhero – I mean a brand. Oprah has certainly created a strong personality brand around herself, and the fact that she has managed to do so so well is arguably a large part of the reason for her success. She’s reached legendary, almost mythical status in pop culture. The way that she’s managed to create such a strong personality brand is detailed in the other tips, but you should always keep this in mind: the cornerstone of great marketing is great branding.
Authenticity has definitely reached overused buzzword status, but there’s a reason that it became so overused in the first place – it’s important. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to air all of your dirty laundry in public, but it boils down to: don’t lie. Don’t say one thing at one point, and then say something else later. (This is also important in creating consistency – see below.)
You need to show enough of yourself that people feel some sort of personal connection with you, without making them think “Woah – that was way too much information.” This boundary will vary depending on your personal feelings, your audience, and your branding, but decide what it is ahead of time so that you don’t have to deal with a branding disaster later.
Be Consistent Across Multiple Channels
How many media channels does Oprah have ownership of? There is, of course, her television presence (formerly the talk show and now her cable network), O, the Oprah magazine, Oprah.com, and the Oprah Radio Channel. What you’ll notice if you look at each of those channels individually, though, is that the image, tone, topics, and overall branding is consistent. Consistency is important – it creates trust between you and your audience, and lets them know what to expect from you at each turn. Another lesson here is to create multiple channels for yourself, thus creating more exposure and more income.
To create consistency, write down all of the ways that you market yourself and/or create content right now. Check for consistency – did you just write a blog post about the importance of being grateful and then complained on Twitter about being out of chocolate? Bad idea! It’s a good idea to create one or two sentences that encapsulates your brand and keep that in your work area, so that you have something to check against before sending anything out. Does what you’re about to say complement those sentences, or does it negate them? If it negates them… think twice about putting it out into the world.
To brainstorm multiple channels, take your list that you created a minute ago, of the ways that you market yourself and create content. Blog? Twitter? Facebook? Double check to make sure they’re all there. Think about how you provide value with each of these – if you aren’t providing value to potential customers (or actual customers!) with these, then you need to revamp your strategy or scrap it entirely. And now, think of ways you can provide that value in a different medium – what about a podcast? Or a Youtube channel, updated with a useful video once a week? Methods like these, although they might take more effort than typing up a blog post, can gain you a lot more exposure and thus business than if you stick with one main channel of communicating with your audience.