This might be the point where content marketing goes into full “jump the shark” mode. I mean, I’ve seen about 40 content marketing think pieces comparing it to everything under the sun — and that’s in just one week! So, how do you add your two cents without it A) disappearing in the crush, or B) being super lame-o? Hmm, how about pouring a li’l hip hop into the mix! What an obscure comparison you say? Yes, agreed. But as I was out strolling one day, listening to hip hop, with my mind on the content and the content on my mind, the wires somehow got crossed, and voila — six ways content marketing is like a good ol’ banger of a hip hop song…
Oh, that sweet rhythmic hum of a good hip hop song. Those thumping consistent beats that play in the background giving the song its flow from beginning to end. A good content marketing strategy begins with that same approach: a steady flow of beats going out on the regular. These beats are the bread and butter of your content marketing. It’s the monthly email, weekly blog, daily social posts. It’s the stuff you commit to and continue to deliver.
We also can’t drop a beat (piece of content) and then drop the mic (leave the channel), we have to be present when our audience needs us, engage with them when asked, or engage with them when not asked. By “keeping it real” with our communities and consistently sharing all the hooks, melodies and rhythms that keep those beats humming, we’ll reap the rewards of being a respected expert in our wu-tang clan.
The beats are gonna bring you the respect, right Dre?
Good content marketing needs to cater to the right audience. You can’t be everything to everybody, and a good hip hop rhyme is the epitome of that. Just like Lose Yourself does not speak to the Golden Girls crowd, neither should your content try to resonate in every demographic or market.
Focus on who your target audience is and create content specifically for them. If what you creates hits the right audience, it will start to fly and pick up more eyes along the way. Look, I know I’m not a hip hop artist’s target audience, and yet, I still love the music. Why? Because it’s authentic to its core (and darn catchy). So if you stay true to creating good content just for your core audience, they will find you and love you, then outsiders (like me) will follow…and then you will become too mainstream and labeled a sellout. 😕
Talking directly to your true audience is what’s going to keep you relevant, right NWA?
That one thing. You’ve been thinking about it. You’ve laid down some good beats and you’ve fostered an engaged crowd, now it’s time to play. This is the hook. The one part of the song that hits high and resonates for a very, very long time. You might not know all the lyrics, but you know the hook, and you sing it. Loud.
In content marketing, I like to think of the hook as that one piece of content that comes from an idea. Maybe a crazy idea. But you know you’ve built an audience that will totally get this hook. The hook is your risk. You put extra effort on it, maybe more resources, maybe an increased ad spend. You don’t do it often, but the hook is what’s going to hit new markets, hopefully, and maybe get you recognized and respected by an even larger crowd.
Those hooks are what’s going to take you viral, right Drake?
So you got your beats a-thumpin’ and you’ve thrown a few hooks out there, but you’re sending them out accompanied with a pixelated image of an empty restaurant, or a document filled with Comic Sans or Papyrus text bolded, underlined and italicized to the max , or, worse yet, a bunch of stock photos, and not in an ironic way. Yeah, you’ve already lost a chunk of that crowd you wanted so badly to attract. You can’t be Weird Al in an Andre 3000 world.
You don’t have to be the most stylized on the block, but you do have to find a style that suits the content you’re spitting out. You’ve spent so much time perfecting your beats, the last thing you want is for no one to see them because you have a janky piece of media attached to it or your website looks straight outta AOL Online. There are way too many free online software editing tools, blog themes and website builders for this to be an excuse. The better you present yourself, the more respect and trust you will get back from your crowd. They might even hold up your style for others to see just like fans held up their Adidas for DMC back in the 80s.
That look is what’s going to keep you looking fine and tight, right RUN DMC?
Ever listened to the lyrics of a good hip hop song? Like really listened? No, I’m not talking about fluffy songs like “It’s Hot in Herre” or any song by Pitbull, I’m talking real songs by the likes of current poets Kendrick and Chance or pioneers Grandmaster Flash and Chuck D. It’s poetry. Complex poetry. The light, the heavy, the humour, the heartbreak. There’s a message behind all that style and music. Words matter, and you should make sure they matter in your content. The words are what gets your audience to feel something.
Thing is, it’s hard to have your content go far if the words ain’t good (I did that on purpose). They are the heart of your story, they bring the meaning to who you are and what you do. Once you get your words popping, consider how your crowd wants to see them. This is where a unique tone of voice will take you from a Vanilla Ice to an Ice Cube.
That freestyle flow and quality tone is what’s going to make your words fly, right Kendrick and Em?
One of the most important aspects of hip hop is sampling. From the very beginning, DJs would take sections of tracks and loop them together to weave some of the most famous songs of all time. It’s really a brilliant way of taking a bunch of good elements from other artists and songs and turning them into something new and different.
In content marketing, think of sampling as checking out what others do and do well, regularly. This will keep you ahead of the curve and will get those synapses firing. I’m not saying steal anything, but the more immersed in the content marketing industry you are, the more the trends will pop out at you and the more likely you will sample a few ideas here and there to enhance your own content.
Sampling is the sincerest form of flattery, right Mr. DJ?
So, whoomp, there it is, an odd way to talk about how to become number one in a content party show. Now push it. 👊