I know what you’re thinking: “Not another one of these analogy-style posts.”
You don’t have to travel far on the Internet to stumble across a 10 Things *insert pop culture reference* Can Teach You About Content Marketing post.
I’m well aware that this breed of blog post is usually better fodder for BuzzFeed’s audience than a B2B SaaS company’s blog.
But that’s not the case here!
We’re a Toronto-based startup, building a SaaS solution for marketers. We've also got a lot of hip hop fans in the office.
So why don’t we see what lessons we can distill from the man who’s not only one of the best-marketed brands out there, but among Toronto’s biggest names:
Aubrey Drake Graham or, as he's better known, “Drake”.
“0 to 100 Leads Real Quick”
It’s generally easier to leverage content to achieve your brand awareness goals with content than it is to capture qualified leads with it.
But there is one way to go from 0 to 100+ leads in a short span of time:
Gate premium content and put some dollars into its distribution.
Of course, some argue against gating your content in one of the biggest debates in content marketing. But if your content is high quality, people will be willing to pay for it with their contact info without wanting an angry refund via unsubscribing after.
Paid promotion helps you put the pedal to the metal, drawing a larger volume of targeted traffic to your offer and opt-in form. Your contact list will go from "no new leads" to "I know way too many people here right now that I didn’t know last year." And, chances are, they'll be more qualified.
You’ll be too "strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence" from how happy you’ll make your Sales team.
“Headlines: I ain't even gotta say it—they know, they know, they know”
They know, they know, they know when they see a headline whether or not they’ll be interested in your content.
We all like to say that only 20% of readers make it past your headline, but I think it might even be less than that when you consider how many links get shared online every day.
It's crucial to create demand for your content in your headline to make the most of every impression your content might attain in SERPs, Twitter feeds, and wherever else it's being distributed.
You need to come up with titles and meta descriptions that get your audience going.
“You don’t tell your friends you love me, but I know it’s true...”
You have an invisible audience you don't know about, the people who don't openly engage with your content. They're known around the internet as lurkers and they could still be fans of your brand. It's hard to get a sense of who they are because they like to refrain from stepping into the light.
That said, social shares, subscriptions and comments only give you insight into the engagement habits of a small portion of your audience.
Depending on your marketing technology ecosystem and the kind of data you have access to, you can also get a sense of audience engagement by using:
- Time spent on page
- Bounce rate
- Heat maps
- Link clicks
In fact, Upworthy deemed "attention minutes" their new primary metric to track when it comes to understanding their audience.
You've got secret admirers. There's a lot you can learn from them.
“I’m more than just an opt-in...hey hey hey...”
You have to show your audience that they’re more than just a number in your contact list. Like Drake does in many of his songs, you need to make your audience feel like you're talking to them.
Offers are a great way to nurture your contacts via email marketing with discounts and coupon codes, but valuable content is another offer your audience loves to consume.
Your contacts refuse to be forgotten. Lower your contact churn by keeping them regularly engaged with genuine interactions and quality content that shows you care about their needs.
“Started from the blog, now we're here”
It’s not easy to make the transition from an outbound marketing strategy to an inbound approach with content at its core.
In fact, it can be like going from Degrassi child star to international rap star.
But the benefits are there:
- Measurable brand awareness that's harder to gauge with offline tactics
- User-generated content and brand interactions
- Engaged audiences who distribute content for you
- The ability to keep your existing marketing machine (inbound is often used to drastically improve the effectiveness of outbound tactics)
- Greater online visibility opens the door to new partnerships and co-blogging opportunities
- Better educated customers via product-related content means better customer retention
- And more!
Of course, there are different processes and a certain infrastructure you need to implement before you can execute content marketing effectively, not to mention skills you’ll need to account for on your marketing team.
There's a lot of trial and error too. You'll have started from the bottom, but once you pick up speed...
"Like a sprained ankle, content marketing ain’t nothing to play with"
Content marketing isn’t a one-off tactic. Content marketing is an all-in strategy; it takes commitment, care, and a desire to serve an audience. I've had countless conversations about leveraging content to market a business, as if it's just a thing you do.
It's not easy. You have to be serious about it. Doing it right is enough to work up a sweat.
However, once you're sitting at the top staring down at those still making blind cold calls, you’ll never look back.
But before you legally try to make your last name “Ever” and your first name “Greatest”, you’ll need to do all you can to invest in the creation of quality content and have a strategy for making it all work.
“No Lie, No Lie, No Lie”
Content marketing is about authenticity and generosity. And that’s the truth. Audiences expect fluffy, over-stated claims and empty appeals from commercials and ads. But they absolutely hate it in the content they consume.
Content marketing is about:
- Being what your audience desires, not what they dread.
- Attracting inbound traffic, not serving up company-centric interruptions.
- Catering to your audience like Drake. Not making them feel like Taylor Swift on stage with Kanye West.
Don’t create “Kanye West" content!
Real content marketers put in work to serve their audiences.
It’s the only way to do One Direction numbers with your content marketing strategy. Believe me.
“Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace—Google will get you for keyword stuffing”
By now you probably see a pattern: Drake loves to repeat himself as much as a keyword-stuffed, over-optimized, black hat SEO’s blog post. However, Drake can get away with it. Repetition is widely accepted in rap.
The rest of us will get slapped with Google’s Penguin Penalty for keyword stuffing and trying too hard to game SEO.
If you’ve been paying any attention to Google’s evolving algorithm, you’ll know effective SEO is becoming more about garnering greater organic engagement. You still have to cover the basics to make it Google-friendly, but you need to attract shares, back links and more by creating an excellent overall experience with your content.
Getting a good standing in the SERPs is somewhere between I want it and I got it.
“Got the blog, going up, on a Tuesday”
The insights you garner from tracking your blog’s traffic over time is invaluable to your overall content publishing strategy. You’ll want to seize your best days as opportunities to get the most out of your content.
Timing is everything. It’s not only about making sure your content calendar is full, but looking at publishing through a strategic lens.
Some types of content might do better on certain channels on certain days. Even the time of day you publish or distribute via email matters. The insights are in your data.
Find the time when your audience is most willing to turn up.
Marketing lessons from the man who made lint rollers cool...
In all honesty, this post was much easier to write than I thought it'd be. With a little paraphrasing, you can turn quite a few Drake lyrics into marketing lessons. Maybe it's because Drake is as well-marketed a "brand" as he is a talented artist.
The man did manage to turn a running gag involving him and a lint roller into a successful marketing campaign.
Can you think of anyone else who can make people go crazy for lint rollers just by throwing his brand on it?
Whether you like his music or not, you can't deny that he is a shining example of excellent marketing.
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