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July 20, 2011
Fame as a Verb: How You Can Get There
 
Does anyone remember Sally Jessy Raphael? Yes, I know this is random. She had the second highest rated talk show for many years, just behind Miss O; everyone knew her trademark red glasses and cackling laugh. Today SJR is merely an answer on Trivial Pursuit, hoping Oprah gives her a guest spot on late-night OWN!
 
This is what happens to celebrated folks...they get the perks and then the boot. If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to know the length of that fall. But while being rich is cool, when you look at Peter Frampton, who sold 25 million records in the seventies and is now in Stevie Nicks' tour band, you can see what happened after the money disappeared and he was reduced to begging for gigs!
 
That's a kind fake fame, anyway. The real deal is something that anyone can now attain — what I call “the new fame.” A hardly known fact is that those who know you are anxious to find out more about what makes you tick. Think about it: You spend all day tweeting, statusing, IM-ing, emailing, asking questions on Facebook or FormSpring, and texting like mad, but in the end it’s probably just a lot of clever remarks, or worse, gibberish!
 
Most of us type or talk without making an impression. Why bother if it all doesn't add up to something? Doesn't matter what you aspire to — be it in business, a hobby, or a relationship — you want to be the “go-to” person who makes the moves because others let them!
 
Differentiating yourself is pretty simple, but you have to reach for something less "star-like" (don't vie for a spot on a reality show) and enact an image that is more the real you! You need to be a bit less stubborn, too. I find that the little mistakes people make when they communicate, which we're doing every minute in the 24-hour cocktail party, are what keep them from getting ahead, and being known for, well, anything.
 
Ever since kindergarten, we've noticed who is different and what sets certain people apart. Others may have noticed this about us. The fact that we know or do something that others aren't yet able to excel in is a shareable moment, time after time (apologies, Cyndi). Every single tweet, status update, check-in and blog comment must fall in line with what you want people to know; the specialty that is yours alone.
 
Often it is as simple as sharing your knowledge about topics your crowd may not necessarily know about...yet...and soon people will “follow” you because they realize that it’s a subject they need in their lives! Suddenly, you’re the sharer, the one people keep up to speed with to find out what’s next. Those people are also going to share their goods with you. Now you are a Social Media Magnate.
 
All of this is part of an evolving program I've designed called Pragmatic Notoriety that I'm sharing freely with anyone who wants it. I’ve been running a PR firm for 25 years and have worked on images for celebs, politicians, sports stars — even the eTrade chimp.
 
But if you click elsewhere and roll your eyes at this, then think of Sally Jessy. She had an opportunity to inform those around her, or her then-giant audience, that she was more than just that lady with the specs.
 
Finally, fame for celebrities is laughable. Fame in the '10s has a new attitude and one helluva brand-spanking-new definition. The reality show in our heads reveals a fact: Our public personality does not match who we think we are! Until it does, we aren’t getting sufficient fame for our buck. This new kind of faming requires action on our part, and we must choose to change and embrace better and insistent ways to shine…or “to fame.”
 
With that, I’ll go DM someone about this essay.
 
….Want more? Got ideas? Want to fight? Try me: @laermer & #howtofame

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Richard Laermer is CEO of New York's RLM pr, representing, among others, e-Miles, Epic Advertising, Yodlee, Revolution Money, Group Commerce, Smith & Nephew, and HotChalk. He was host of TLC's cult program Taking Care of Business and speaks on trends and marketing for corporate groups. You can read Laermer on The Huffington Post and on the mischievous but all-too-necessary Bad Pitch Blog. For more like this, follow him on @laermer.

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