This post is part of a seminar series on Personal Brand Design. Scroll to the bottom to listen to the seminar interview.
Congrats on putting together that local band, that cool website, or that indie film.
Now welcome to the hard part – getting people to pay attention to this passion project you’ve been been spending so many late nights and weekends working on.
Since you don’t have much (or any) money to splash ads around your city, your smart plan is to make the project go viral. That is, you’re counting on one fan to spread the word to another fan, and for that fan to find the next fan.
Well, I have at least one viral hit under my belt (a hot-or-not style app where people voted on the next dead rapper… not my most tasteful moment) and I’ve interviewed creative people who know the feeling of their work going viral.
With all that experience, I have a revelation that may surprise you.
Going viral is not as democratic as you may think. Most projects that spread through word of mouth get a bump from someone who is super-connected and decides your work is worthy of attention from their network.
So, if you want a wide audience for your passion project, you have to get to and through that powerful tastemaker.
Back to the Beginning
Is this starting to sound like the gatekeeper system at the record label, television network, or movie studio you work for, and the entertainment industry at large? Sorry, it kind of is.
But here’s the good news for both your passion project and your day job in show business. The gatekeepers are absolutely human. And they make choices based on merit, but also based on who they like.
Get that connected person to like you, and they’ll help you create or spread your passion project far and wide. No advertising needed.
The Most Likable Guy On The Internet
Have you heard about Mark Malkof?
When I first saw this comdedian’s work, a video about visiting every Manhattan Starbucks in one day, I heard he was a warming up audiences for The Colbert Report, that politcal satire show on Comedy Central.
Then I saw a video of him living in Ikea for a week. And one where he was traveling on AirTran’s for a month.
This guy is the David Blaine of Comedy, I thought.
A half dozen viral videos later, Mark is blazing his own trail, living out a career most people only dream about. And he’s been invited to daytime talk shows multiple times to give the play-by-play.
Mark is in control of his path because he’s found a way to make the gatekeepers like him.
Through being his authentic self, Mark has been able to gain the trust of multi-billion dollar corporation like Ikea, who put their brand into his hands for a week (they even won an award for that show of trust).
For Career Green Light’s Personal Branding Seminar I hopped on the phone with Mark to figure out how you too can add your own personality to your projects, giving them the best chance to connect with gatekeepers who can push it viral.
In this interview you’ll learn:
- Exactly how Mark scored a green light for the Ikea and AirTran videos and how you can do the same
- Why going after what’s authentic to you is better than imitating what’s popular