If someone asked you to name the most famous magician from the past, what’s the first name that comes to mind? If I were to guess what you were thinking (and let’s be honest, that’s my job), my guess would be Harry Houdini. While Houdini was an illusionist and stunt performer, he is best known for his memorable escape acts.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that Houdini was more than just an incredible performer. He was also a master of self-promotion. It’s true that he was able to spark the fascination of his audiences with his near-death performances. But his talents went far beyond what was seen on the surface.
Houdini sought promotional assistance from a variety of traditional outlets such as radio broadcasts and public platforms. He even worked closely with the police by including them in some of his performances. His ultimate goal was to get maximum exposure for his act. By reaching out to media outlets and incorporating the police, Houdini knew that newspapers would have no choice but to write about the “Amazing Houdini.” He encapsulated PT Barnum’s mentality that he needed to get his name out in the world as much as possible.
Houdini was an original viral marketer, which allowed him to promote himself and his art to an extremely large audience. Every Houdini video, photograph and magic prop that we’ve seen is due to his own efforts to ensure he had visual records of his work.
On top of this, Houdini was also an actor, historian, film producer and pilot. It must have seemed like he was everywhere, which only added to his fame, similar to the Beatles during the 1960s.
Like Houdini, many of us have one mission: visibility. No matter what profession we pursue or dream we follow, we all have to go the extra mile and promote ourselves. How badly do you want to succeed, and what can the great Houdini teach you?