Houdini was an Amazing Publicist for Himself Back in the 1920’s, But How Would He Feel About Today’s social media and Other Free Digital Publicity Methods?

The Downside of Digital

We’ve all heard the negative side of social media, where because of how someone represented themself or others portrayed them, leading to outcomes like suicide, reputations ruined and even trouble with the law. Social media is a touchy thing. On the one hand it provides an opportunity for promoting people or products, while on the other hand it can turn on you quickly in ways you might not expect.

Simpler Times?

Houdini did what he did during a very different time. Essentially there was one media, the local newspaper, and one way to succeed as a performer: get booked in bigger and bigger theaters. Although he did have negative press at times, overall, the method of gaining an audience was a pretty basic one. He would do something to attract the public to come out in throngs to watch him do a publicity stunt.

Get ‘Em to Tonight’s Show

Publicity stunts he did for an ever-growing crowd included escaping from a straitjacket while hanging upside down, he would do a publicity stunt locally, such as hanging upside down in a straitjacket hanging, escaping from it as the crowd gathered. And once triumphant, getting out the word he would be appearing at a particular theater that evening.

Everyone is the Media

How might Houdini use digital media if he was alive today. Some say he would take cues from influencers but innovating beyond that making it his own. He would probably use all the tools, hire others to do them for him but watching them very closely. And so on. There are those who believe Houdini would have a hard time of it today because now everyone has access to being the media themselves. How could he compete with that?


In his day only certain people who did outrageous and compelling things like he did would get written up in a newspaper. There was only so much room. He would get the publicity while others would not, so he rose up above them. I personally believe he would innovate. Come up with approaches that transcends whatever people are doing to promote themselves on social media.

Houdini Could Probably Give Us Some Tips on “How”

Houdini embraced technology. Which makes sense since he wanted access to whatever was necessary to make his performances and publicity better.

As we have explored elsewhere, it would be interesting to see what Houdini would do with digital marketing. There was no question he was a master marketer, so how would he use, say, social media to promote himself?

We will never know. But one thing is for sure which is that promoting is key to the success for many, and one such example is a new marketing strategy. Houdini is still influential today.

That word just written “influential” might have made you think about those influencers on that video channel. I know it did me. Influencers, because they have influence that causes many to buy what they are told to, have an interesting path to gaining that audience.

One of the ways that makes Solve Aim quite unique as a mood changer, is that it is not just of the mind, but is also external, doing the kinds of things that influencers do. Actions like getting fans, keeping them, convincing them to buy and so on.

The question comes up, are you down for that? A positive is that you can do it like most influencers do, from their own home. But the downside is that you are out there in the world.

Like fame. Well more than just kind of, because what you are doing is growing your audience, adding them to already existing followers, so you can get them to purchase any and everything.

I used to want to be famous when I was younger. First as a magician, then filmmaker then a marketer among other things. When my personal life improved, I found that the need for the spotlight, began to diminish. But look, wanting to be under the bright lights and on the carpet, is not a bad thing necessarily.

In Publicity Stunt Marvel Houdini’s Time, there were no such Things Technologically as these Low or No Cost Promotional Tactics

Using Technology that was before Houdini’s Day and Age

As we have said many times, Harry Houdini, the escape artist and conjurer extraordinaire, was unbelievably good at self-promotion. He is an inspiration to those who want to make a difference in their community while promoting their career or business.

In America, those who embrace Capitalism often do well. They understand that providing products and services is nothing more than a value exchange for money. In fact, a slightly revised version of the old adage, really is quite true:

  • One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Therefore, for the best results when you are offering something, be sure to get it in front of people who perceive it as treasure.

Hence, there are three basic steps to succeed as a business online.

  1. PRODUCT sales, in order to work, means that you must be selling something that, from the point of view of a specific group of people, is a product or service that they really, deeply, need. And, in the best-case scenario, you are the only person or business who can fill this need due to possible expertise or acquisition. This of course means they have to go to you to get that thing they need.
  2. AUDIENCE is the group of people who are most likely to buy what you are selling, plus, you need to reach them at the exact moment they are ready to purchase what you are offer.
  3. DELIVERY means having a customer friendly and easy for them to do mechanism to get what they buy from you. If it is a digital product, the delivery can be immediate, whereas if it is a physical product it needs to be shipped. Services can be delivered online, such as via Zoom if you are offering consulting. Plus, certain kinds of businesses may require being in-person.

Downside of what it Takes to Get Your Ad in front of the Right Consumer

Here though is the problem. At this point in the web world, if you want to target a specific demographic it is tough to bypass purchasing ads from search engine and social media entities. This is by design of course, because search and social sites are developed as platforms to sell ads to customers. Websites like these, devise something they can give away for “free,” in exchange for you giving them your personal information, including your name, age, hobbies, home address and more.

What is Done with User Information on Social and Search Sites

Info consisting of your private information is collected because, as covered in the social media or search engine’s “Terms of Service” that you sign off on when you are starting up your account. This means that you are essentially giving them permission to do whatever they want to with your personal information. There are still some people who do not read the fine print, or even know that they are a part of a demographic which is sold to those buying ads on the site or is likely also being sold to other companies for their use.

Social and Search Platforms Make It Harder and Harder for Businesses Being able to Get Free Promotion

Because search and social sites were created in the first place to sell ads via demographics they collected from users, it does not behoove these entities to allow businesses such as yours to be able promote via their platforms without paying for it. Hence, search and social sites make it increasingly more difficult for entrepreneurs to be able to promote themselves therefore not having a choice except to buy ads.

Again, the reality is that search engines and social media websites were not created for the good of humanity but have capitalistic agendas.

Of course, you could develop your own social site that does something users want such as a means of communicating among themselves, and those who, like you, want to reach certain members of the public to sell to them.

“Free” Ways to Promote Yourself or Your Business

So, what can you do for free to promote yourself or your business? There are essentially three basic ways to do so including groups, SEO and video.

  1. GROUPS Some entrepreneurs join social media groups or participate in online forums with a topic that relates to what they are selling, then position themselves as an expert in the collective, hoping the result will be get business from members.
  2. SEO You can also of course do SEO, Search Engine Optimization, but unless you already know how to do it, your options are paying someone to do it for you or learning how to do it yourself.
  3. VIDEO If you have the motivation, or maybe even enjoy the process, you could get a channel for free on the most popular video site in the world today and create videos daily. If you do videos that promote yourself as an expert while teaching people how to use whatever product or service, are that you offer, this might be right for you. But to build an audience of members and viewers takes time and you must do videos daily to get traffic coming to you.

Some of the Other Pretty Much “Free” Ways You Can Do Marketing

Of course, there are also blogs, affiliate marketing and so on that are other options to build an audience and sell to them, but unless you already know, or are willing to learn, you will need to hire someone to help you.

Sell with Emotion

In order to make sales of your product or service you must be able to present it in such a way as to emotionally resonate with the prospect. Studies have shown that people make purchases more out of emotion than logic. You need to present what you are selling in a way emotionally that is most likely to sway them.

Know Your Prospect or be One Yourself

Since prospects buy more from a place of emotion than rationality, this is why you need to understand those who you are trying to reach and sell to. What are their triggers? What will reach them on a level that plays to their feelings. Get insides their head and understand why they want what you are selling, then go with that information. If you are a customer yourself for what you are selling, this will be easier, because you can think “What would make me buy?

Why Data is Important

Data is important as a guide, because even if you inherently understand why your customers buy from you, audiences can change based on a number of different things such as the pandemic. This changed the lifestyle of customers so certain kinds of businesses closed, mostly those in retail because customers no longer would come in-person to their place of business. Came to their stores. And many online-only businesses did well because people spent more time on the web.

Be a Problem Solver

It cannot be stressed enough that the role of your business is that you and your business are problem solvers. You offer a solution for those who have the need for what you are selling.

Needs Can Vary

As we learned in 1943 from Abraham Maslow with his “Theory of Human Motivation” needs can be seen through a lens of hierarchy of 5 kinds of needs, starting with the most immediately pressing to those that are more abstract. It can be a useful exercise, for those who are promoting themselves or their business.

  1. PHYSICAL is the need for air, water, food, rest and health.
  2. SECURITY is the need for safety, shelter and stability.
  3. SOCIAL is the need for being loved, belonging and inclusion.
  4. EGO is the need for self-esteem, power, recognition and prestige.
  5. SELF ACTUALIZATION is the need for development and creativity.

Your Business and Marketing Needs

You may have already experienced Maslow’s work over the years, but it is worth taking a second look at his hierarchy in conjunction with his “Theory of Human Motivation.”. This is because you can find out where your business stands in relation to human motivation which is vital for your Business and Marketing.

When you really think about it, this is an extraordinary resource for understanding where what you offer falls in the spectrum and therefore can provide you with information regarding steps to promote yourself or business.

Here are 4 Important Things You Must Have to Succeed Long Term with Your Online Business

These are aspects you already know, but none of us should forget.

  1. VALUE Because you want those who see what you are offering as being treasure.
  2. QUALITY Because although they see perceived value, if what you are selling is junk, you will have issues.
  3. CUSTOMER SERVICE Because if they need help but receive poor treatment, you lose.
  4. DELIVERY Because delivery without problems must be the norm or you will have a lot to deal with.

WizNYC (The Wizard Of New York City) presents a Preview of a Project Under Consideration: Houdini’s Marketing Secrets Unlocked for Magicians and Mentalists Only

Hello and welcome magicians, mentalists and curious members of the public…

Due to Oaths Taken as a Member of a Magic Society, WizNYC Wants YOU to Know that No True Secrets Can Be Revealed in this Email, 

I wanted to be very upfront about the fact that no magic or marketing secrets are going to be featured in what you are about to read. The truth of the matter is that there will likely be those who are not magicians or mentalists who will see this page. That, in tandem with this being only for magic or mentalism entertainers, means a certain amount of holding back secrets, respecting the oath many of us took as a part of being sworn into our magic or mentalism societies and organizations. But it is not our aim to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Hasn’t Harry Houdini Already Been Analyzed Enough in Terms of his Marketing Secrets?

Yes. Absolutely. Many magicians and magic historians have taken a look at the methods that Harry Houdini used to publicize and advertise himself. He did so by using an ever-evolving methodology that was so effective, that even though he died on Halloween in 1926, he still the most famous magician in the world today. So, if others have already looked at his life and work from the standpoint of him having been a brilliant marketer magician, what can there possibly be left to talk about?

How did He Do it?

How did he get so much attention? Why has his celebrity remained intact and is and is still flourishing in these modern times?

He Had Fewer Marketing Tools

In order to market himself, Harry Houdini did not have at his disposal the internet, search engines, social media the metaverse and much more. Yet he succeeds beyond expectations.

So, with All of Our Latest Tools Being Available, why is Houdini Still the Most Famous Conjurer in the World?

Okay, okay. We have to give props to David Copperfield, because he comes closer than anyone else has in recent times. He is not only a great performer, but like Houdini, Copperfield understands the importance of honoring achievers of the magic arts and its creators. Just as Houdini had a vast collection of magic memorabilia, so does David. His new book “David Copperfield’s History of Magic” is now available and features Houdini items and more.

Will the Globe’s Best-Known Prestidigitator Please Stand Up

Otherwise, it is slim pickings when it comes to finding a deserving entertainer who could be called the “Most Famous Magician. This is in part due to how many magicians, although though having skills and talent, tend to imitate rather than innovate. The problem is that Houdini’s publicity strategies when utilized by most magicians, is done so in a literal way, by imitating Houdini’s publicity stunts including remaining underwater for long periods of time, have been buried underground for days, or remaining visible for days in a box many stories up in the air. These wizards, rather than looking at the underlying principles of what Houdini did as a showman, merely mimicked him.

Original Thinker

Houdini was an original thinker and creator. He was always one step ahead of his contemporaries who also sought to promote themselves. Houdini recognized the importance of technology as representing present day trends of great interest to the public. His interaction with technology included being secured on the wing of a flying plane before they were common place, appeared in motion pictures when they were just emerging, and much more. He spotted early on trends that were gaining momentum, then rode the waves.

Here’s a question: “If Harry Houdini was alive today would he be able to promote himself up to the equal fame he had back in time?”

My answer is “yes” I believe so. Because if he was someone accumulated in the elements of what we have presently, there is no doubt in my mind that he would innovate and be a step ahead of all. My guess is that he might not even with escapes and such. He would spot the trends, get in early and make a stupendous impression.

What is the Purpose of this Post?

It is the preview of a project under consideration which has not yet been determined it will be made public. It is intended for magicians and mentalists only. Though, there is a possibility that, if released, it will be accessible to other trusted entertainers and entrepreneurs who would be sworn to secrecy. If the project continues to evolve offstage and we are comfortable about others seeing it, may lead to publishing it.

Stay tuned, because if new news occurs, we’ll be talking about it. Either way:

Magically Yours, WizNYC.

“Houdini Day” Says that Busting Fake Psychics is Just One of the Reasons Houdini is Famous

He is Still a Household Name

Harry Houdini escape artist and magician is one of the most famous, or the most famous, magician of all time. Some wonder why he is still a household word now even though he died nearly one hundred years ago. One thing is for sure, this man had a passion for magic.

“Why is Houdini so famous?” is a Question asked by a Houdini Fan

In the early 1900’s far before there being tool to promote with such as social media or even video streaming, a young man, calling himself Harry Houdini, captured the public’s imagination. Houdini acquired an international stature that even now nearly one hundred years after his death on October 31, 1926, continues.

October 31 is a Part of the Houdini Legacy

October 31st is known to many of us as being Halloween, but it is also known as National Magic Day or as seen on a United States postage stamp, “Houdini Day.” We here at, take great pride in being the official website for Houdini Day. So, we felt that if anyone was going to try to answer the question “Why is Houdini so famous?” we were obligated to do so. You will note that we did not ask “How did Houdini become so famous?” but rather “Why is Houdini so famous?”

Internal and External

There is a big difference between asking “How?” and “Why?” This because when you ask “How?” all you really need to do is to put together a collection of elements or in this case a chronology of steps. Steps that it took for Houdini to achieve fame and then evidence that years after the original fame breakthrough, evidence that his fame continues. “How?” as a question tends to be an approach of gathering components that are looked at externally. Whereas asking “Why” is not external at all.

Why is He so Famous?

When you ask “Why?” you are seeking to uncover something that is not external but rather internal. And posing the question of “Why is Houdini so famous?” consists of trying to unravel why the name “Harry Houdini” is just as relevant today as it was a century ago.

You Can Learn a Lot by Reading Books

Clearly, we cannot conclude here in a short blog post as to “Why is Houdini so famous?” as it is an overly complex subject and one that writers have tried to get to the bottom of in hundreds upon hundreds of books, articles and more. And over the years I have read many of those books, articles and more.

A Fan of Houdini

So, I am being a long time Houdini fan will try to analyze why I am a fan of Houdini today and why I first became a Houdini fan at age 8 which was a little over 50 years ago. I figure that by figuring out what has kept me a fan of Houdini for over 5 decades may give some insight into why others are fans as well. Because even if you do not join a fan club of a celebrity or public figure, you can be a fan.

Keeping His Name Alive

I believe that fans of all kinds whether they are fans because they inspired in a positive way about a person or are gripped by a fascination for someone from the dark side, this continued and renewed fandom going from generation to generation is vital to keeping a name like “Harry Houdini” alive.

Father Figure

So why am I a fan of Houdini’s who is the only celebrity I have ever been and continue to be a diehard fan of? It started at 8 when my parents decided they were hippies and moved myself and my 3 siblings into a very cramped traveling hippie truck. One of the keyways that I was able to cope with this chaotic and inconsiderate action when it came to us kids, was by reading biography after biography about Harry Houdini who in many ways became a father figure for me taking the place of my biological, bullying, and uninterested in father I was stuck with.

Houdini had a Father Figure Too

I saw a kinship with Houdini when reading about him because in many ways he too seemed to see as a father figure someone other than his own biological father. Before Houdini named himself “Houdini” he became first interested in doing magic through reading about the famous French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin. In fact, it was by borrowing from the last name of Jean-Eugène the name “Houdin” which upon adding an “i” became “Houdini.”

Houdini and His Fascination with the Occult

But even if it did not start as seeking a father figure, people all over the world have their own personal reasons why they are drawn to Harry Houdini today. Some say it was because Houdini was a real live superhero who could escape from anything he was bound with. Still others are intrigued by the very understandable fascination Houdini had with wanting to be able to communicate with those who we love who have passed. For Houdini, because he was a magician and understood how tricks were done, desperately wanted to believe that afterlife communication was possible and even offered a large reward to any spirit medium was able to do so. No one collected the reward because Houdini, through magic tricks, was able to duplicate any feat that a medium did who claimed to talk to the dead.

Magic Tricks

A through line for Houdini was his own mother who when she died left a big gap of sadness for Houdini driving him to want to reach her from beyond the grave. This never happened and no psychic was ever able to collect the reward because any examples of their so call spiritual powers were achievable by Houdini using the principles of magic tricks.

A Fascination

I now live with my wife and our daughter a few blocks away from where Houdini’s wife spent the rest of her years after her husband died. The incredible thing is that I did not know this when we bought our condo. Also, I am now a member here in New York of the specific club that Houdini was the president of that is part of an international magician’s organization. And even though I have since learned that Houdini was probably not the nicest person to be around, he remains an inspiration to me, and I imagine he always will.

The Marketing of Magic and Community

Houdini’s Impact

There is no doubt that Harry Houdini is the best-known magician in the world, even many years after his death in 1926. How did he become so well known? What was his promotion secret?

The Secret of Marketing

How did Houdini become an international escape artist and magician? He was a superb, world class marketer. He had an intuitive knack for conjuring up publicity stunts that the media of his time and the public could not resist. He would design and implement magical and death-defying experiences such as gathering tens of thousands of audience members, outside in a metropolis. They were drawn by such stunts as the visionary escape artist in a strait jacket, hanging upside down, somehow able to escape followed by the cheering of the crowd. And of course, at such events publicity assistants would mill around while passing out flyers announcing Houdini’s live theater performance coming up later in the day. These kinds of awareness building approaches would inevitably lead to sold out crowds for the evening’s show.

To this day, he remains a household name, and why?

WORD OF MOUTH. Tactics to build word of mouth through grabbing the attention of the public and taking them on a spectacular and emotional ride, leading to them wanting more of this wonderful feeling. This resulted i the viewers desire to see Houdini’s live magic and escape shows. In following this formula, Houdini inspired awe to such a degree that word of mouth was the logical outcome. This included people talking about the miraculous journey they had undergone first seeing his outdoor escapes and then going to Houdini’s shows. And the sharing extended to year after year of family telling family, as well as friend sharing with friend, their intrigue of this performance artist, Harry Houdini.

Post Death Promotion

Even after death, Houdini continued to receive ever building word of mouth. A prearranged wonderful and attention getting publicity stunt was carried out by the late performer’s wife, Bessie. She was seeking out psychics, asking them to divine through their mystical abilities, a code word arranged with her then living legendary husband. Although he had debunked many so-called psychics during his lifetime, Houdini still wanted to believe that mediums were real even though he could recreate any “cosmic” cosmic” demonstrations made by spiritualists to prove their powers were real.

Yianni Stamas Talks About the Significance of December 28 in Relation to Houdini Day and the 4th Day of Christmas

All Hallow’s Eve

I am on a Holiday and should not be writing this, but I am doing so anyway. Cannot help myself, I guess. There is no question that Halloween is my favorite Holiday. Not because of the ghosts and ghouls but because it is “Houdini Day,” the day that the greatest magician of all time passed to the great beyond. Honoring Houdini on Houdini Day is important. But today is still 307 days until Houdini Day (October 31), so for the sake of this post we are going to want to explore other aspects of the meaning of today’s date.

It is for the Birds

Today is also the 4th Day of Christmas, the day of the 4 calling birds. The funny thing is though, when you dig into is a bit deeper you uncover that all these years you have been singing “calling birds” when the reality is, it started out as “colly birds. A lot of times when depicted on holiday cards the 4 calling birds are being warm and fuzzy when they began as being crows.

Looking Forward

Well, at least in this noticeably short post we have explored something festive in keeping with the holiday spirit. But I still look forward to a day upcoming that its distance away if measured in months is exactly 10.0931. Happy 2021 everyone!

Celebrating Houdini Day

A Day Soon Upon Us

Yes, it is 2020 on a Wednesday, looking forward Saturday which is Houdini Day. It is an honor to be writing for the official Houdini Day website and blog, if only because of our name. The photo above shows Houdini in the center, as he always. Although some did not like the magician, no one ever questioned his place in the very center of American magic.

Channeling the Master of Magic

On Saturday evening we will do what we always do which is try to communicate with Harry from beyond the grave. Hopeful that we will make that contact, we move forward. Even Houdini while alive doubted the existence of supernatural powers, yet there seemed to always be a part of him that wanted to believe.. If we believe, will we connect with him, the day of his death October 31st?

Houdini Would Not Understand

Apparently Houdini was not a very nice fellow. There are stories of him competing and name calling he used to somehow further his fame. And it worked for him. His name lives on all over the world. But let’s take a look at what it must have been like to have had to deal with him. I am honored to be a member of the first chapter of an international organization, for which he was president for several years. I know I’ve gone into this before, but it is a great paradigm for living with criticism, meaning those who had to interact with him at meetings.

I’ve been a member of the same chapter for only three years, but during that time everything was copesetic. There have been fights for power to become president that I  was in the loop for. A resolution was achieved for the moment but the feelings live on. I imagine that our dear Harry must have just snapped being president because that was the only position that made sense to him in the early 1900’s. Our president today is a wonderful person who works hard and is inclusive.

There has been today a post on the very new Home Business Achievers in the eLearning department. It looks at Nike’s “Just do it” and does a touch up job making the fresh phrase: “Do it anyway.” Personally I’ve had a problem living “Just do it anyway.” I have initially followed the mantra “Just do it anyway,” and have done thinks like publishing an eBook on magic and initially having great results in the number sold as well as in the first two days becoming the number 1 status in marketing. But I got one bad review and I couldn’t handle it. I removed the book immediately. A humble eBook that could have had a place in a certain section of magic. If he was alive, Houdini would not understand.

Houdini Pre Social Media

Hook ‘Em In!

In the photo above,  the man in the circular shape is is of course Harry Houdini. Houdini was not only a great magician and escape artist in the early 1900’s, he was also a remarkable marketer. He knew how to use what at the time was an effective way to market: publicity stunts. This can still be used today but not likely to have the same impact. You see, this was pre television, cable, internet and more, so people gravitated to live entertainment. Houdini’s stunts were done in public places such as hanging upside down and escaping from a straight jacket. This stunt would lead to flyers being passed around to the gathered crowd announcing his live performance later in the evening.

Go After Individuals Who are Motivated to Buy

How does this link to social media? The connection is the need to get the prospect excited in finding something they desperately need, much like the gaping gatherings viewing Harry. With social media you need to know exactly what you want your viewer to do, or your paid ads worthless. For example, you could want the prospect to click on your Facebook ad about a free marketing video. When the prospect clicks, she or he is taken to video that promotes your services while at the same time has a benefit for them that motivates them to watch the video in the first place.

Get ‘Em Excited

In our example we want the future customer to watch the video to become informed. There might also be an offer for purchasing your product and/or joining your newsletter that means you get their email. With their email you can always sell to them later. Remember, just like Harry Houdini did with his crowds many years ago, you’ve got to rev up your future customer!