One thing you can count on with the coming of a new year is the plethora of “lists” created to tell us what were the best, worst, biggest, most important, etc. for just about every topic imaginable in the previous year. One of my favorites is the List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness from Lake Superior State University. Not only is it a fun list that is almost always spot-on in finding tiring words, it provides a great example of how to get noticed in the media. Consider this: for 364 days out of the year virtually nobody but the folks in Northern Michigan think about Lake Superior State University. And yet, when the banished word list comes out at the end of December, the media jump all over the story—almost every TV, radio, newspaper and Internet news outlet covers it. For one day this tiny college in Sault Ste. Marie (smallest public university in the state) becomes as well-known as Notre Dame, UCLA or any of the “big name” universities in the country.
By coming up with an interesting and unique specialty, Lake Superior State draws more attention to itself than any traditional college recruiting program could possibly accomplish. That’s an amazing achievement and a great media lesson. Like Lake Superior State, you need an interesting and unique specialty that the media will want to tap into. And guess what? You have it, but most people don’t know what that is because they think about themselves in a one-dimensional way and get locked in a typical box– “I’m a ____ (fill in a job),” “I build widgets,” etc.– instead of seeing their unique gifts– “I’m the only ___ (fill in a job) who does this,” “I am an expert in the widget industry,” etc.
The motto at Media Makers Consulting isn’t “getting you noticed” for nothing. The best way to succeed in the media is being able to offer something that shines a spotlight on you. You need to find what that is and play it up– just like Lake Superior State.