Branding guru spreading the gospel of self-promotion to Pittsburgh

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After a run at becoming a blockbuster screenwriter and actor only resulted in a full-time job as a Hollywood cabbie, in 1999 Clint Arthur found himself jaded by dreams of celebrity.

Determined to refocus his energies and put his Wharton Business School background to use, Mr. Arthur turned his personal quest to maintain a raw food diet into Five Star Butter Co., which he brands as the world’s only wholesaler of certified organic, portion-controlled gourmet butter.

More than a decade later, the New York native has used gourmet butter, presidential politics, New Year’s resolutions and the business of branding to propel himself into the limelight of local and national television cameras more than 60 times.

While the journey to overnight celebrity was more of a six-year claw from small-town television shows to featured segments on NBC’s “Today” show, the bulk of Mr. Arthur’s appearances these days take place in front of entrepreneurs hoping to follow his footsteps to fame.

“Anybody on television is a celebrity,” said Mr. Arthur. “There are more than 300 million people in the United States, less than one one-thousandth of them go on television. If you make it on television, you are doing something special and unique and that makes you a celebrity.”

Hoping to spread the gospel of self-promotion to Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurs, Mr. Arthur will address the “No B.S. Marketing” event today at the Sigmas Conference and Event Center on Babcock Road in Shaler. Guests will join a list of hundreds of others who have taken Mr. Arthur’s online webinars, which includes the $10,000, 90-day “Celebrity Launchpad” program and the $1,995 “Instant Local Celebrity” package.

Based on his self-published guide, “Break Through Your Upper Limits on TV,” the event is meant to give guests a window into a process that he said has helped more than 200 of his student promoters book 1,045 television appearances over the last two years based on topics ranging from auto advice to in-home funerals.

The key, said Mr. Arthur, is not only to identify what topic your business can best address but to explain that topic in ways that make your opinions outshine others.

“Take a look at your specialty and at what makes you an expert at what you do. Find out how you can help people improve their lives, and focus on that,” he said.

Working from a six-variable equation, Mr. Arthur said entrepreneurs need little more than a recognition of their own strengths, a winning pitch, a Web page packed with photos and videos, and persistence to work their way up from “Pittsburgh Today Live” to the “Today” show.

For Dave Striegel, owner of Elizabeth-based Elizabeth AutoCare, Mr. Arthur’s guidance has already paid off with two television appearances in Tennessee booked as soon as he learned to apply the model of getting concise messages out early and often.

“I came in with my own ideas of what I wanted to do as an auto repair shop owner and what I thought would get the media’s attention. He rewrote the entire thing and the very next morning I cold-called a producer and booked myself for my first appearance,” said Mr. Striegel.

But even if the chance to jump into Pittsburgh’s medium-sized television market is available, Mr. Arthur cautions entrepreneurs to get their footing in terms of television appearances with the smallest markets possible.

“If you live in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh is the last city you want to go on. When you go on television in your hometown, you want it to be amazing, and that’s only going to happen with practice and experience,” he said.

Deborah M. Todd: or 412-263-1652. Twitter: @deborahtodd.

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