The year is 2009. You have a podcast that has under 100 listeners per episode. In fact, there’s not even any concept of what a podcast is.
You’re 17 years old.
You want to get A-list celebrities on your “Internet radio show.”
What do you do?
This is the exact situation Mr. Brett Cohen was facing 14 years ago.
Now, Brett is Executive Director of Events at Forbes, and it’s easy for him to contact people like this.
But in 2009, Brett had no clout and dreams of big, shiny guests.
And somehow… he managed to get them on.
He got Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and more as guests on his podcast.
Brett came on as a guest to my podcast recently to share stories of how he did this, as each celebrity has a different guerilla marketing story.
In this article, I will share how he got Jimmy Fallon on his no-name show.
As for Kim Kardashian, the subject line of this article – he tells the story of how he got her on in the podcast below.
If you haven’t heard of Bobbi Althoff, she has an insane story of how she recently hustled Drake on to her newly launched podcast, briefly rocketing it to the #1 podcast in the world.
I told that story in a previous article – you can read it here.
The story is from Bobbi’s accounts of the accomplishment; many people don’t believe it.
You may even be one of these people who believe Bobbi was an “industry plant” and her story is a lie.
I bring this up because people don’t realize these things are possible, and I hope Brett’s story changes that.
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night TV show was met with poor reviews when it premiered in March 2009.
He had to get views up, or the network would cancel his show.
Many people don’t know this, but Jimmy Fallon was an early adopter of Twitter, now X.
He was using it before many other people.
So even though Jimmy Fallon was a big star by 2009, he was on Twitter engaging with fans in hopes of driving viewership to his TV show.
Here’s what Brett did.
Brett got his friends to Tweet at Jimmy, saying he should appear on Brett’s podcast.
These people gave the illusion that Brett’s “Internet radio show” was more popular than it was.
After doing this, Brett woke up to see Jimmy following him and a DM saying, “So, when are we doing this?”
So simple, right?
Social proof is one of the most significant cognitive biases that we have.
Brett got his friends to social proof him, and all Jimmy Fallon saw was a beloved Internet radio show that he could use to plug his TV show.
Then Brett used the social proof of Jimmy Fallon to get even more celebrities on to his show.
Can this be done today?
I also believe this exact tactic is still possible.
Not with X, but with Threads.
Many celebrities are on it, and the spam is lower than on X.
There’s less noise to get lost in.
So, with a few friends social proofing your brand, something like what Brett did can still be pulled off today, 14 years later.