It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Not only am I getting ready to start my publicity course, I’ve had several media appearances in the last few days regarding a Facebook group I created for my neighborhood.

For those of you that don’t know, I live in the beautiful city of Sacramento. Our neighborhood is historic, with old homes and tree-lined streets (my home was built in 1935). It is the most sought-after area in the city. The people who live and own businesses here are amazing and deeply care about their community.

And in the past few years, we’ve had a serious increase in crime, illegal dumping and drug activity; it’s not uncommon to see used needles or human feces.

People are frustrated to say the least, but the problem isn’t simple and no one really knows what to do. Our city officials are definitely falling down on the job and platforms like Next Door and our neighborhood association wasn’t enough.

So one day last week, after several cars on our street had been broken into in one night, I decided to outline a strategy to put pressure on City Hall to do something. I created a Facebook group (Land Park Society) and starting inviting neighbors to join. I posted a few times on Next Door too.

Within five days we had 300 members, and The Sacramento Bee (our city’s paper) called to interview me. Within 10 days, we had almost 500 members and two local news stations had called to interview me and another member.

After both news segments aired yesterday, a morning show replayed my interview today. And within 12 hours, we had 100 more people join our group.

But the best part? We’ve had multiple homeless camps cleaned up, the city’s impact team taking people to get the services they need and much of the illegal dumping has been cleaned up. It’s been a serious change, one that I am so proud of.

I think there are issues we all care about that seem insurmountable. Where do you start? How to you get your message out there? How can you make a difference?

Use the media. They are storytellers. They make things go viral. This is not the first time I’ve had something like this happen, and I hope it won’t be the last.

As business owners, you deserve to make an impact. You need – no you must – share your story to reach the people who need it most. And the fastest way, the best shortcut, is publicity.

It’s a myth that extroverts like me want to be front and center. I had zero desire to be on TV yesterday. I was slammed with work and I don’t like being on camera. But right before I was going to say no, I asked myself what did I really want? Why did I start this movement? The impact I could make was far more important than not looking my best on film or having to stay up late working to make up for time lost.

The feeling you get when you are doing what is right, when you are making a difference by helping other people – whether it be neighbors or clients – is powerful. It’s inspiring and gives you hope.