210 Seconds of Fame. What happened and what’s next?

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Click here if you can’t view this video of Mark Schaefer’s appearance on CBS This Morning.

In addition to providing useful marketing ideas and insights, I’ve also used this blog to document the ups and downs of my personal social media journey. This week marked an important milestone as I appeared on a network news show for the first time and a lot of people have been interested in how this happened. Since this was such an unusual experience I thought I would report on this step on my journey, my 210 seconds of fame.

Why me?

I am very fortunate that my new book Return On Influence has caught fire and attracted the attention of many media outlets. I have been doing 3-4 interviews every day. But I was pretty shocked when ace McGraw Hill publicist Pamela Peterson called me last week to say that CBS (a national U.S. TV network) wanted to book me for their morning news show.

I'm a Charlie Rose fanboy.

It made me a little dizzy frankly. There is nobody you will ever meet who dislikes being in the spotlight more than me. I know that it seems weird to be a shy blogger but it’s the truth.  I’m OK with doing print and even radio interviews but I’m not a TV guy. Especially a live TV guy. I had more than one thought of just declining this amazing opportunity as …

Anxiety sets in

Anxiety? Ha! Actually I was terrified of the prospect of being on live national television. But I also recognized that a lot of people were counting on me and I had to find a way to establish some mental toughness and get through this with style.  I needed to re-frame this experience as “fun” and an opportunity to see the inner workings of a network news show. I also tried to put the anxiety of the experience in context. So many people had a legitimate reason for fear — facing death, suffering, personal tragedy.  All I had to do was talk for four minutes. I had no right to be fearful, did I?  With this mindset, I was able to approach the task calmly but who knows what would happen the day of the show?

The CBS assistant producer called me a few days ahead of time and talked over potential discussion points.  Although I had no idea what questions would be asked, I was pretty sure I would need to explain the premise of the book.  I rehearsed a little introduction, knowing that if I could get through that first question I would be able to relax a little on the set.

I also watched segments of the show to try to get a feel for the personalities of the anchors. CBS This Morning is a straight news show. Not much joking around or “cooking” segments!  And the format was strange and intimidating. No comfy couches and coffee cups, The three anchors sat facing the guest like a firing squad.

The day of the show

This is the view from the guest waiting area or "green room." Note: There was not one single green thing in the room.

A driver picked me up at 7:15 a..m. and took me uptown to the CBS studio. I was shuttled into a room where I had make-up applied and my suit was steamed.

The “green room” was behind a large glass wall directly on the set.  The upcoming guests literally are watching the proceedings 10 feet away from the anchors. Pretty cool. It provided the illusion that you were right in the middle of the set.

There was just one small place to wait and it was pretty crowded with people involved in the show, producers prepping the guests and people just stopping by for a free bagel.

I was impressed that anchor Gayle King had actually read my book. Plus, she's gorgeous.

I was surprised when the lovely and talented Gayle King, one of the anchors, came to see me at a break. She was carrying my book, dog-eared and filled with pink post-it notes. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you!” she said. “I’m crazy about your book!” Now that was a good start. And she really had read the thing over the weekend and had lots of good questions about it. I was impressed that she had done her homework so thoroughly.

First up on the show was New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was going on just as I arrived. She was so knowledgeable and poised. Yikes.

A well-known actor sat down beside me on the couch in the green room.  I texted my wife: “Sitting next to the guy who played the gay guy on that show.” I’m not good at these things.

This is actor Eric McCormack. I didn't know his name but we're pretty much like best buds now.

Turns out it was Eric McCormack who played “Will” on the famous Will and Grace TV show, He was a very nice and accessible person. I taught him about Twitter and he told me about his new Broadway play, “The Best Man.” Great. I was going to be following a funny, handsome, charming actor.

Up until this moment, I had not told anybody I was even going to be on the show. I knew that one big news event or celebrity drop-in and I would be bumped. But now it looked like it was really going to be happening so I mentioned it in a tweet. “I’m about to go on the CBS Morning News Show. I know. Weird.”

On with the show

My final prayer before stepping on to the set was “God, please don’t let me be a blooper reel.”

But I really felt pretty confident. I kept thinking about how excited my wife was that I was on this show and how she had called all her friends to watch me.  I needed to make this work for her. That’s what I kept thinking.

It was a totally weird set-up having to talk to three people at the same time and having acclaimed journalist Charlie Rose staring you down. But it worked out fine, I think.

I was supposed to have a four-minute segment but it was abruptly cut-off at three and half minutes so that was kind of a bummer, or maybe it did save me from a blooper reel, who knows?

We actually stayed on the set after the interview chatting longer than the actual interview. Charlie was fascinated by the fact that somebody could become famous on the Internet without necessarily being an expert on anything. I assured him that in my field, this happens all the time.

The impact

The show sold a lot of books. For at least one day, Return On Influence was the best-selling PR, marketing and Internet book in the world, according to Amazon.

I got about 500 new Twitter followers in an hour.

Most important, my wife thought it was cool. I didn’t embarrass her. That’s pretty much my goal in life.

Long term, who knows? I did well enough that CBS said they would like to have me back in the future. Probably want me to have my own sitcom or something, right?  Hell, if they can make TV shows out of pawn shops and swamp people, I guarantee the stuff I see on Twitter each day is at least that interesting. “The Real Men of Twitter” with your host Mark W. Schaefer.

Well there you have it. Amazing what can happen in 210 seconds.

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  • You were great Mark!

    The reason they wanted you is that you are a doer and you have left a trail.

    Thanks for inspiring people to do the same.


  • Congratulations Mark, That is really exiting!
    Amazing, that TV is still a medium to support Social Media. 500 new Followers in one hour…
    Kind regards from Germany

  • Lauren Schaefer

    Maybe “everybody loves Twitter”? “Two and a Half Tweets”? “MadMark”?

    I’ll keep thinking…

  • I love the fact your motivator was to not embarrass your wife! I’ve found it a useful touchstone through most of our 20+ years together for all sorts of occasions! great work as ever! 

  • by the way,  think the embedded video is a bit shonky. The link works fine!

  • Many thanks Bernadette! 

  • Make no mistake, mass media is still mass media! 

  • Mad Mark.  LOL. Good one.

  • I think a man can live a pretty good life with that as his goal. A good start any way! : ) 

  • Mark, great job. Love the inside look at the set and your emotions. Despite all his fame, acclaim and klout, Mark Schaefer remains a real human being. 🙂 Congrats!

  • @markwschaefer I came across your video clip from CBS the other night and I was surprised, congrats!

  • Mark, you did great! Very excited for you and the book. Congratulations!

  • And I hope to remain a human being, pending an alien invasion or the zombie apocalypse. Thanks Josh! 

  • That makes two of us then. : ) 

  • Great. Look forward to meeting you at Social Slam! 

  • Awesome Mark! Congrats. So proud of you. Can’t wait to read your book! 

  • I think you’ll love it Pam. Right up your alley. And of course, you’re IN the book! 

  • I’d watch the Real Men of Twitter! Congrats Mark, great interview and even better blog about it.

  • Thank you Mark for sharing this portion of your life’s inspirational, and motivational journey!  We honor, and respect your personification of our blog today “the art of making a difference”   ~Dr. Rae for The Baum Group

  • Congrats Mark! So exciting to hear of your adventures!

    Looking forward to my autographed copy of Return On Influence 😉 

  • Laura Duran

    Thanks for sharing your experience on CBS Mark, and congrats! You are a born storyteller with the most delightful sense of humor! And I love the book, of course.

  • Congratulations Mark! What a terrific opportunity – and you looked and sounded just fine…actually, you sounded like the pro you are. What is amazing to me is how ‘out of touch’ the mainstream media is to online and social media influence. I guess that means we have to keep active and help the industry move forward, heh? I’m looking forward to getting your book, and seeing you at Explore Nashville next month!

  • Uh, oh! The mainstream media is claiming you now? We were here first! Look forward to your book, Amazon says its been shipped. I’m still not sold on Klout, lets see if these 200+ page explanation makes a difference.

  • Glad you enjoyed it Alys. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I think that mostly I stumble around and somehow make a difference along the way some how : )  Thanks Dr. Rae!

  • Are you coming to Social Slam April 27?  Everyone gets a FREE copy of the book and of course I would be happy to sign it for you! 

  • Very kind of you Laura. Funny that today we celebrate storytelling. My grandfather used to call it “shooting the shit.” The acorn does not fall far from the tree : ) 

  • I think business in general is still out of touch so I don’t expect mainstream media to be much different. However all three anchors had Klout scores over 50! : )  Look forward to seeing you Nashville (and hopefully at Social Slam April 27?)

  • I think it is smart to be a critical thinker on this subject as long as we are looking at the TREND and not the EMOTION of being scored and dissected.  And of course you are IN the book so you should get a kick out of that : ) Many thanks for commenting today!

  • What an absolutely wonderful story Mark. Thrilled for you and your growth Mark. This was great. 🙂

  • Roula Amire

    Refreshing to see someone like Mark who simply loves what he does and isn’t out to become an “expert” and “make the rounds.” Doing good, solid work pays off–how nice!

  • LOL about all three anchors having Klout scores over 50! Not sure about Social Slam April 27 – it’s pretty close to my “take off for Indianapolis” time. I’m conducting a workshop in conjunction with a conference. We’ll see.

  • Mitch Joel + Gini Dietrich + Marcus Sheridan + Tom Webster for $89.  Just sayin’

  • Thanks buddy. Look forward to meeting you IRL in a few weeks!

  • Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in awhile.  : )  Thanks Roula (one of my “people to meet” in 2012!)

  • Absolutely amazing… The context of their questions was very interesting.  It gave a little window in the perception of people not involved in the Online world and these are TV anchors.

    You made some really good points considering the time you had.

    Very happy for you Mark!

    Ryan H.

  • Boom! That’s just the first stick of dynamite. Just watch. You are going to be huge. Why? Because you didn’t want to be. A lesson for all in that. And it helps that you actually know what you’re talking about 😉

  • I can’t tell you how proud I was to watch the interview – you are a rockstar, bro. What a cool opportunity to conquer your fear – and pimp your stuff. Fantastic!

    I minored in communications, with an emphasis in public speaking, and I would get a case of the BGs if I were in your shoes. You were as cool as a cucumber, though. Impressed. Honored to sit on the sidelines as you conquered the unknown.

  • Thanks for the behind the scenes look, Mark! I’ve never dealt with a national news show, but having worked in PR, I’ve spent a lot of time getting people on camera (and have done it a time or two myself). It’s really neat to see what happens behind the scenes. Not many people get to do that. 

    Congrats on an exciting milestone! I’m so excited for you!

  • Gayle is great. As a fellow expert in nothing, thanks for representing us well Mark. Did us proud.

  • Pamela_peterson

    Thanks for the shoutout, Mark! You were articulate and engaging — we are
    thrilled in-house about the segment and the book!

  • Hurray for the home team! 

  • Experts in nothing unite. This is OUR time! : ) 

  • Looking back, it was a fun experience. It’s a relief, obviously, but am grateful for the opportunity.

  • Ha. I thought it would be interesting for others to see how this unveiled itself. It’s something not too many people get to go through! Thanks very much for your kind comments and support my friend! 

  • Thanks for the peek behind the looking glass. Life in four minutes or less, results that go on for ever… Really pleased, I mean I really am enjoying seeing this happen to you! Congratulations and I expect that the return gig will be even better.Billy

  • All your advice and counsel is coming true, that’s for sure, Jay.

    I know I am the weirdest person on the social web. Most people would be jumping at the chance to do this stuff but I have been through so much crap in my life … and am in such a good spot now … that I don’t want to mess it up. In the end, the only thing that will matter is your family, your friends, your faith. Anything that takes you off that path is under suspicion.

    “Fame” is not part of the plan for me but when stuff like this comes along, I know I can stay level-headed and centered about it.  I know what’s important. I know my small role in the world and that is the real mission — using this stuff ultimately to educate, illuminate, and celebrate.

    You have been a valued friend and mentor all along the way and I really appreciate you giving me the gift of your time today and comment on the post!

  • Thanks Ryan! Appreciate the kind words!

  • Your Knoxville and Harrisburg Fan Clubs agree: you did us all proud, Mark!  Grateful for your insights, true genius, and leadership.  Proud to be a follower – and living vicariously through your successes.  (And Trey is beaming from heaven! ) 

  • I actually think there will be a return gig. I hit it off with the folks over there and they liked the segment! 

  • And to think we knew you before you became famous… congrats cuz!

  • Thanks for your very kind words!! 

  • Great interview and great recap! I agree with previous posters, you deserve all the recognition and fame that is coming to you. 🙂 I read your blog daily — and it’s pretty much one of the only ones I can say that about! Your candor, humor and expertise are refreshing! 

  • Ha!  Well, I’m glad I’m famous to you. That’s good enough for me : ) 

  • What a very wonderful comment Tara.  Thanks for being a great member of the {grow} community!

  • Congrats Mark.  Piece of cake, right? Just started reading your book, courtesy of PeerIndex.

  • The classic statements I loved in this…

    – God, please don’t let me be a blooper reel.
    – Most important, my wife thought it was cool. I didn’t embarrass her. That’s pretty much my goal in life.

    Let me know when that Real Men of Twitter gets picked up by a network, buddy. Congrats on the TV spot, Mark! And yeah, bummer that they cut you off as you were getting rolling!

  • Ryan

    Mark, I love it. That is awesome.  Good story.  Ryan http://www.ryansauers.com

  • Pingback: 210 Seconds of Fame. What happened and what’s next? | The Party Crasher()

  • Andria L. Yates

    Congratulations, Mark.  I watched it when I saw the link on FB yesterday.  You were terrific.  

  •  Oh, I know who will be there. Just not possible at the moment considering the prep work for Indy. It’s on my radar – I have friends in Knoxville, too, that I could connect with. *sigh* We’ll see. In the meantime….see you in Nashville!

  • Well done Steve. Hope you enjoy it. 

  • Yeah, I was about to take over the program. I think Charlie Rose was looking a little intimidated there : ) 

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment Ryan!

  • Glad you were able to see it. I know how busy you are! Thanks for checking in! 

  • Wow, pretty cool. You did great, Mark. I can remember being interviewed once by Mike Wallace for a segment on 60 Minutes, and thought I would need to buy all new underwear! But I am so unhappy that they cut you off! Oh well. Building the suspense to hear your Influence presentation at Social Slam!

  • Yes, there you are right, but some social media enthusiasts seems to forget thisfrom time to time 😉

  • Wow. Mike Wallace?  Need to hear THAT story!!!

  • A star is born!!! or at least finally recognized!!!! Nice.

  • Sweet! Likeability champions the cause yet again. I bet you pull them into the fold as well…

  • Pingback: Best of B2B Marketing Zone for March 27, 2012 « Sales and Marketing Jobs()

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! Great to see good things happening to someone so willing to lend a helping hand. Thanks for all the great information you share!

  • Very cool Mark. Just remember to invite the little people onto your new show, we are ready to help. 😉

  • It has/had nothing to do with social media. Way back in 1990. Kind of ancient history, but a good example of how serendipity could lead to the perception of one as an expert, even totally within traditional media.

  • I absolutely LOVED watching you on TV Mark! But what I LOVED even more was hearing the story behind the scenes. You have such an amazing perspective and at every turn demonstrate what’s really important in life.

    I can’t wait for your next book!

  • John Bottom

    Congrats my friend. Am enjoying watching your upwards journey from over the pond!

  • Fine as long as the star doesn’t collapse into a black hole! : ) 

  • You’re quite welcome. Thanks for being such a loyal reader!

  • Oh you would definitely be one of the stars Jack!! 

  • Next book? You are a forward thinker! Thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to comment Chandra! So thrilled about your good news!

  • Many thanks to one of my first Twitter friends!

  • Rhondahurwitz1

    just saw the clip.  YOU were great.  Gayle was great.  HA!  Charlie Rose (the old white guy) doesn’t get it.

  • Congratulations on the great write up in today’s Wall Street Journal, Mark! 

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