Five Publicity Lessons Every Entrepreneur (Including You) Can Learn From Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

Sometime ago we published the list of Nigeria’s richest pastors and preachers which included the Head pastor and founder of Believers Loveworld (aka Christ Embassy) Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. Pastor Chris, as he is fondly called by thousands of his followers did not become popular merely by the power of his ability to heal unlike some of his counterparts like Pastor T.B Joshua. Amongst the five richest pastors we profiled there is something unique about Pasto Chris.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is unarguably the most media savvy and conscious minister and preacher among Nigeria’s esteemed preachers of the Word.

As a business person or entrepreneur there are publicity lessons to be learnt from the founder of Christ Embassy.The man is a master in the art of self promotion and massive publicity generation and every entrepreneur has something or two to learn from this man on the Art of Publicity;

1. Get Active on Social Media: About a year ago (precisely October 2010) Pastor Chris crossed 2 million followers on Twitter. How was he able to do that? He certainly beat every pastor in the country when it comes to using the power of new media. Though his follower-ship has gone down considerably his ability to reach the million mark created quite a buzz of free and far reaching publicity for the minister as various media caught onto the news and spread it. He made the list of 50 most followed twitter users in the world and number most follwed twitter user in Africa according to Twitaholic.

Pastor Chris started a contest and prize incentive for people to follow him on twitter. Next he also opened a website aimed solely at pushing his twitter followership base, The site was regularly updated with posts and prayers for his twitter followers.

He got 1.2 million followers in 5 months during the height of that promotion and hype.

Pastor Chris loved the media and was ready to jump on the twitter board to propagate his message and reach out to more of his followers. In fact it is a non disputable fact that many of his followers on twitter just joined twitter to have the chance to communicate directly with their idol.

As an entrepreneur you have little or no choice than to love and follow new media. These days traditional media alone doesn’t quite get you all the publicity. You have to be in the thick of using new media that is worth the while. Join the major new media and social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus. When you join don’t just add or make friends indiscriminately. Join, connect with and follow people who will add something to your network.

You may not be as popular as Chris or have the kind of congregation he has but you can slowly begin to make some impact and create some reputation in your field or industry by getting active with social media.

Also never underestimate the power of creative competition in social media.

2. Write and Promote Yourself If You Can: There are many preachers who may be good at what they do but Pastor Chris takes the edge when it comes to the written word. His popular, widely distributed monthly religious booklet ‘The Rhapsody of Reality’ has further boosted his reputation as a respected minister of God.

The Rhapsody book has been translated into several languages and has contributed in making him known in far away parts of the world.

In today’s world Content is King. You can always find a way to boost your company reputation by developing and distributing top quality content that endears anyone who comes across it to you or your company. If you are a security professional/consultant for instance creating good content (in form of articles in newspapers, blog, videos etc) and ensuring that these content get to as many people among your target audience as possible will boost your reputation as a professional more than any advertising will do. Whether you are a self employed professional, employee or entrepreneur producing regular and useful content in your industry will soon set you levels above your competitors.

3. Promote Yourself Through Speaking: Any professional who has unique speaking ability and knowledge about his industry will always remain in the consciousness of all that matters in the industry. As an entrepreneur you can improve the fortunes of your company or business if you are active in seeking publicity for your firm through speaking at conferences, workshops and seminars. Pastor Chris, over time, has evolved his unique way of public speaking and that has further enhanced his reputation as one of the most popular pastors in Nigeria.

4. Release Strategic Information About Your Business: In many ways Pastor Chris has mastered the art of publicity and one of them is selective release of information about his activities. From making public his intention to join twitter to releasing information about some of his business acquisitions Pastor Chris has built a larger than life image for himself in the secular and business world.

It is not always in the best interests of your business to hide information concerning your company’s activities. Like Obama, you can build more bonding with your audience by releasing certain harmless but exciting information about your business. This way you create hype and keep your business always in the front burner in the minds of your target audience.

5. Court Controversy But Do It Strategically: This last advice may well sound ironic but like a wise fellow once said, All Publicity is Good Publicity (And I may add) If Well Mananged.

Pastor Chris has never left our consciousness in the past few years. He always keeps coming into the news sometimes for the wrong reasons. We have read of homosexualism in his church. Then we read or heard of the $35 million money laundering case involving the flamboyant pastor. Nothing came of all these but the man involved has continued to wax stronger. Sometimes, as a friend once said, you never know stories that are planted and the genuine ones.

You may not need to get tagged a money launderer but you can get into the debate on some hot issues in your industry and get called names for it. After all if you get called names and people discuss how you are a good or a bad businessman in your absence it means only one thing. The world is taking notice.

You must, however be good at managing the publicity you get.

You can choose to be unknown or choose to get proactive and get people asking, ‘Who is Mr So So?’. Our man Pastor Chris and so many others like him have proven that publicity pays. Publicity makes you take a bigger pay as a consultant than you are worth. It’s the reason why you can sell a company for four times its real worth. As an entrepreneur learning how to create the right publicity will do you some good and may even turn juicy business deals your way.

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