Author Marsha Friedman sent me a copy of her book, "Celebritize Yourself" and I read it the other day. At first, I was a bit skeptical; read a book and become a celebrity? You're kidding, right?
What I quickly discovered is that you actually can become a celebrity by using the techniques in this book. That's partially because Friedman uses a slightly different definition of celebrity than the one you may be thinking of. In her parlance, a celebrity can be anyone who is well known as an expert on a specific topic, who is then sought out to speak or share their ideas. That helped me, since it didn't mean I needed to go on American Idol to become famous.
The other thing I discovered is that you can use Friedman's techniques in other ways, as well. What do I mean? I'll break it into two levels, which I'll call Public Celebrity and Local Celebrity (these are my constructs, adapted from the ideas in the book by the way)…
Public Celebrity is the true intent of the book. Friedman takes you through the process of deciding on a domain where you can demonstrate the right uniqueness and expertise to become a celebrity in that area.
Once you know what that is, she helps you test it to make sure it's something that will stick for you, then provides some worksheet-style exercises to get clear about the unique and differentiated value you bring to the table. This is what forms the foundation upon which you will build your celebrity.
From there, there are numerous activities revolving around writing a book (an essential element in Friedman's methodology), getting speaking gigs, and promoting / publicizing yourself as an expert in your field. She tells you how to assume the 'attitude' and confidence of a celebrity - a sort of walk the talk guide for celebrities to help you project the image of celebrity to others.
These techniques stem from real-life learnings -- Friedman's "day job" is promoting celebrities, including actors, musicians, public officials, and other well-known celebrities. Oh - and that book I mentioned? It's what enables you to say, "I'm writing a book," and eventually, "I've written a book," which changes how you're perceived by others.
Not much of a writer? Don't worry - Friedman discusses thoughts on how to select and use ghost writers, freelancers, editors, and others who can help you get your ideas into print, as well as how to get the book published.
If you want to be a well-known authority on a topic (I think of my friends Rosa Say, Lisa Haneberg, and Phil Gerbyshak as examples) you'd be well-served to follow Friedman's advice, which is well-presented in a concise, easy read.
Maybe you're not inclined (or not ready) to become a Public Celebrity. That's fine, but I think you can still learn something from this book. If you want to be perceived as a more credible, more authoritative influencer by others in your company or your circle of influence, you can apply a lot of Friedman's techniques on a different scale.
Then begin using the techniques to project your image within the company. While you could still write a book, you may be able to get good results from writing papers on your topic, sharing your expertise on internal blogs, in memos, etc. Rather than public speaking engagements, you can lead brown bag lunches including instructional sessions on your topic.
Use your imagination - it's about creating artifacts to demonstrate your expertise, then creating opportunities to present your thoughts to others. You can even go so far as identifying your target audience (management, peers, subordinates, customers, etc.) so you can hone your message, the venues you select, and the delivery mechanism to fit your audience.
You can certainly become a Local Celebrity and make a difference in your organization - work, community, or otherwise.
What are you waiting for?
If you want to stand out as an authority - Public or Local - "Celebritize Yourself" provides a very concise guide to help you create your plan and your brand. I encourage you to check it out.
And did I mention I'm writing a book?