Viral Videos: How to Create and Promote Videos People Love

Do you struggle to create and promote videos?

Are you wondering how to make videos that go viral?

To learn about the creative process of coming up with video ideas and making them happen, I interview Mark Malkoff for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael StelznerThe Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Mark Malkoff, a comedian and filmmaker.

Mark shares his love and passion for creating videos and several amazing stories behind his viral videos.

You’ll learn about his process for creating video and how to get traction.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSSStitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Video Creation and Promotion

Mark has created several viral videos and has been featured on many television shows. You’ll hear about the stories behind these videos and what he accomplished to get this media attention.

Mark shares how he grew up in love with comedy, the path he took before he started making videos and how he started making viral videos. Mark describes himself as a comedian at heart and the biggest comedy nerd. He feels that his love for comedy shines through in his work.

The stories behind Mark’s videos

You’ll hear the story behind Mark’s first very successful video: the 171 Starbucks mentioned above. This is when he visited and consumed purchases at all 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours.

Just after this 171 Starbucks story, Mark approached IKEA with a project of living and working in an IKEA store for a week. And after 2 months of being persistent, they agreed.

Mark’s IKEA story brought the most publicity in the USA in the history of IKEA as a company. And IKEA ended up winning the PR Week of the Year Award for the campaign. But to Mark, it was all about the video content and his videos on this project got 1.8 million views.

Listen to the show to discover the secrets behind his success.

The goals behind Mark’s videos

You’ll learn how Mark’s goal is simply to do things that make him laugh and challenge him. Sometimes brands are involved and sometimes they aren’t.

Mark tells the story of when he got carried across New York City by 155 individuals, 9.4 miles in 11-degree weather.

The aim of this video was to prove to the world that New Yorkers are nice. The video was a success.

Sometimes brands come to him and other times he has to knock on their doors.

kodak mark malkoff1

Kodak is a great example of a brand that Mark has worked with.

Listen to the show to find out why Ford Motor Company was one of the best brands Mark has worked with. 

The process of creating a viral video

Mark shares his process to come up with ideas for the videos he makes. You’ll learn how he goes from the ideas to creating a video project. And you’ll probably be surprised by the amount of research and training involved behind the scenes for Mark’s videos.

Mark shares his experience of having hours of video and trying to tell the story in a short video for YouTube.

Listen to the show to find out how he tests his videos.

The story in the video

Mark explains how it’s his own curiosity that resonates with his audience.

The story behind the Apple Store Challenge was to see what he could get away with in the Apple store. The video got over 1 million views on YouTube. Parts of the challenge included taking a goat into the store, ordering a pizza to be delivered there, dressing up as Darth Vader to get his iPhone repaired and a date night for him and his wife.

the apple store challenge

Mark has his pizza delivered to the Apple store.

Listen to the show to hear why Mark decided to do a video where he raced a New York City bus on a child’s Big Wheel.

How to get traction and be seen

Mark shares how things have changed in getting traction for videos and how it comes down to momentum.

He will spend a week working on a media plan before the video is due to be released. He targets whom the video should go to; for example, The Huffington Post, CNN and Fox News. He finds that personally emailing individual journalists with a great headline helps grab attention.

Many sites are looking for content. BuzzFeed is a popular comedy site. All you need is a few sites to embed your video and it starts to spread. Mark says it’s not just journalists but individuals who have spread his videos through Twitter, Facebook and by email.

Listen to the show to hear what happened when he sent a video to a person he knew at CNN.

Common pitfalls

Mark sees some people approaching videos like a lottery. They put their videos up on YouTube and then sit back waiting for them to go viral. But you need to be proactive. It’s not all about luck.

You have to put in significant effort to spread your video around. Mark explains that you need to try to keep your video to 3 minutes or shorter in length.

Follow these steps to create your video:

  1. Stand out
  2. Be original. Don’t copy others.
  3. Use your resources.
  4. Have a brainstorming session with friends and family.
  5. Put videos up once you have had advice from others.
  6. Really think about who your audience is.
  7. Do your research and then try to get to those people.

Listen to the show to hear why the first 20-30 seconds of your video are super-important.

Mark’s tip

Mark’s top tip is to race people to your idea and do it before them. He discovered in the past that people beat him to the idea.

Some of his video ideas have been expensive and brands have had to come on board and spend money.

Listen to the show to hear Mark’s story of living on a plane for a month.

Shout Out

If you find the holiday season a chaotic time, I recommend a podcast called Beyond the To Do List by Erik Fisher.

Erik interviews people from different walks of life and talks to them about how they organize their day and life. You’re sure to pick up some awesome tips on how to get through this holiday season.

beyond the to do list

Beyond the To Do List is a great place to pick up some tips.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know if you picked up any awesome tips.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.

As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on using video in your social media marketing? Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Awesome interview on how to create viral videos, Mike and Mark. I find the steps similar to creating ideas for podcasts. I am a big believer  that creating great content should be every Entrepreneurs foremost consideration when conceptualizing an idea.Have a rockin and rollin Friday everyone!

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

     Thanks John – It is really cool to hear about different kinds of folks come up with ideas

  • http://www.ShiraAdler.com/ Diva Mama, Shira Adler

    In my next life I want to be the illegitimate prodigy of you and Mark (it’s cool, you can flip genders in different lifetimes). 

    I am about to revamp my YouTube channel and now, I’m finding a way to incorporate what I’ve often done for free for friend’s businesses (marketing), and my passion for VO and commercial work.  I’m teaming up with a great friend who is a former model turned photographer /videographer and image strategist.  We’re starting to collaborate to produce YouTube sizzles which I will script, voice and host.  

    Getting your SME and hearing this podcast today were PERFECT timing. Now I can share this information with businesses to demonstrate the importance and power of great unique video content!  

    Thank you (both) for the inspiring content and grounded advice!

  • http://www.FatX101.com/ Coach Rollie

    Great interview.  Asking for advice is great advice!  I’ll be sure to be doing more of that.  

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad you enjoyed it Rollie

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Shira – Glad we could be of help.  All my best to your new venture!

  • http://www.retinaburnblog.co.uk/ Ryan Stone

    A great post based around a great Channel case study, I’ve been a long-time fan of ‘My Damn Channel’ and it’s fantastic to get an insight behind the mechanics of YouTube marketing, thnks!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Ryan

  • Shelia

    Great episode Mike.  I hate to admit it, but I had never heard of Mark until your show.  Love what he’s doing and his advice on video was most helpful.  Thanks again for sharing – love the podcast!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Shelia – I think a ton of people are discovering Mark for the first time.  Thanks for your kind words regarding the podcast :)

  • http://influitive.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    The message that I hope many do take is that creating viral videos does take a good deal of work and planning. There is this myth that posting a video of a cute animal or other similar sorts just goes viral by itself. Also, thanks for the tip about the podcast – I am always hunting for new ones but this ones remains one of my favourites!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

     Hi Abdallah – Yes indeed Rome was not built in a day :) .  Thanks for your comment

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  • http://soymarketing.org/ Daniel Figueroa

    What an amazing podcast, learned so much and in a fun way. Thanks for making it, i am having a lot of new ideas for my video marketing efforts now.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks so much Daniel.  Glad you enjoyed it

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  • Papiblogger

    Amazing interview and interviewee!  

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Manny :)

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