Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When Rock Music and Content Marketing Collide

My guitars in my little corner of our basement
The lights go down. Anticipation rises. The intro music gives way to silhouettes taking their place on stage. Excitement gives way to goose bumps as the lights come up revealing your favorite band as they kick into their opening song.  The journey is just starting. They're about to take you on a ride unlike anything else out there. There might be 20,000 other fans on the same ride, but it feels like it's just you and the band. That's what the best bands are able to get you to feel when you see them in concert.
Rock stars are some of the best content marketers. They use their content to grow their audience and sell their products (CDs, DVDs, concert tickets, etc.). How do they do it? It starts with their songs and the stories they tell. Storytelling is at the heart of content marketing. There are great writers, amazing TV shows and movies, speech writers, etc. But does anyone do it any better or get hold of you like a rock band? They can tell you a complete story in three minutes, and the best ones make you feel like it's all about you. Jon Bon Jovi once said about song writing (slightly paraphrasing), "It's nice when you hit a story and it's about you (meaning him). And then the magic of it is when you all think it's about YOU! (referring to the audience)". He just happens to do that very well. Want proof? How many of you instantly know who Tommy and Gina are? 
The results that brands are seeking with content marketing are exactly what bands seek in building their fan base. Musicians that do it well capture engagement that most companies can only dream about. Many bands focus on their songs, CD's, concerts and books. Some branch out to other artistic endeavors like acting or painting. Some create their own products from liquor to wine to coffee to signature instruments. Then there's Kiss that will sell anything they can slap a logo onto. It's all content. They use it to help grow their fan base or grow their band's brand.

Nowadays, with social media, fans have much more access to bands and their offstage life than ever before. Fans get a much clearer view of behind the scenes material (intended and unintended) through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. It also gives bands more ways to promote their concerts and new music. Last year at a book signing, I asked "That Metal Show" host Eddie Trunk about social media's effect on the music industry. His answer is below. Needless to say, those that do it well are reaping the benefits.
In the upcoming weeks, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite rock artists and their use of content marketing. You'll have to stay tuned to see who they'll be. In the meantime, there are a few marketers that I've been following that I really enjoy how they weave marketing and the music business together for great case studies, examples and stories:

  • Mack Collier (@MackCollier) - Author of "Think Like a Rock Star" and founder of #Blogchat: His examples are more country and pop than actual rock (Rock Star is one of the most overused terms anymore...), but the premise of his book about turning customers into fans is right on. 
  • Jason A. Miller (@jasonmillerCA) - Sr. Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn and owner/photographer of Rock N Roll Cocktail: His marketing presentations include examples of Judas Priest and Kiss...how can you not love that? He's also got a book coming out soon, so keep an eye of for that!
  • Ruth Blatt (@ruthblatt) - Contributor at Forbes: I recently just discovered her writing and began following her on Twitter. She describes her writing as the "intersection of rock 'n' roll and business".
Check them out for some great insight on marketing with a rock and roll twist. One thing I've learned from them and many more is that it's ok to look for marketing best practices from the industries you're passionate about and I hope to share more of that.

Thanks for reading and please sign up to receive my blog posts in your email. Share them with your friends too! If you're going to be at Content Marketing World in Cleveland in September, let me know. I'd love to meet and talk a little marketing, rock music or anything I might be able to help you with.

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