To borrow a term from the Finance Industry, it appears that we are in the midst of a Bull Market for Content Marketing. With the growing popularity of tools like YouTube, mobile smart phones, the iPad, hulu, digital music, Twitter, and blogs, everyone is able to create content, in one form or another. To me, Content Marketing is the act of creating content, whether it’s video-based, text-based, or audio-based, around topics relevant to you as an individual or as a business. Exceptional content is also highly relevant to, and perceived as valuable by, the intended audience. Individuals and businesses who create exceptional content are, and will continue to become, leaders of their respective industries.
There are a number of examples out there, in all industries, of exceptional content creators, who also just so happen to be highly successful. In the marketing arena, Seth Godin and HubSpot, both do an exceptional job in creating highly valuable content. One is building their personal brand, as an Author and Blogger, while the other is a Marketing Company that uses content to engage & educate followers on their Inbound Marketing philosophies. Another example of an exceptional content creator, someone from an entirely different industry, he goes by many names, but you probably know him as Lil’ Wayne. The self-proclaimed, “martian”, used audio-based content, to turn the Hip-Hop music industry on its ear.
Lil’ Wayne has a way with words. His lyrical ability helped him sell millions of copies of his last studio album, Tha Carter III. With that said, it wasn’t long ago when Lil’ Wayne was just another rapper who hadn’t yet reached his full potential. It was then, when he was at a point in his life when he needed to either make it happen, or go do something else, he came up with his plan. His plan, the foundation for what he was about to accomplish, gave him a clear vision on what he wanted to achieve, and how he was going to do it.
Lil’ Wayne set his goal as being the best rapper alive. His strategy was to stop writing down his raps, which he felt was blocking his creativity, and to then take that content and distribute it out through the mix-tape circuit, both through physical mix-tapes and digital mix-tapes. He felt that by “going off the top” (my poor attempt at using hip-hop industry jargon) while recording his music, he’d be more creative, and actually produce more content, than he’s able to do if he’s writing, tweaking, writing, and then recording.
Lil’ Wayne was right. His strategy was working. Wayne was producing much more material than he had been able to previously. But, content for the sake of content, isn’t enough to help you cut through all of the clutter that’s out there. Good thing for Lil’ Wayne, he was also correct in thinking, that his creativity would show through much more, from this new way of creating his content. Wayne began setting himself apart from other rappers who also have had some success within Wayne’s local community of New Orleans. At the same time, he was implementing the other part of his plan, which involved the mix-tape circuit.
Once you have the material, the next step to exceptional Content Marketing is distribution. Distribution helps one go from local success to national, and even global, success. For business owners, distribution comes in the form of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms that allow you to share your content with the world. For Lil’ Wayne, needing to get his music out to the world, but not wanting to wait, and spend the money to produce studio albums, decided to use the mix-tape circuit to distribute his content. He gave away his music for free. And he gave away a lot of it. There was a period of time a few years ago when it seemed like there was a new Weezy mix-tape out every week. With his new found style, Wayne didn’t sacrifice quality for quantity either. His creativity was blossoming, and slowly, the masses began to take notice.
After months and months of hard work, Lil’ Wayne was about to accomplish his goal of becoming the best rapper alive. On June 10, 2008, Wayne’s popularity hit a tipping point, as it was that day in June when Lil’ Wayne released Tha Carter III. Dwayne Michael Carter, a.k.a. Lil’ Wayne sold over 1 million copies of Tha Carter III in the first week of its release. One of the songs on Tha Carter III, entitled, “Dr. Carter”, contains lyrics that sum up how Wayne was able to achieve his goals.
“Arthritis in my hand from writing,
But I’m a doctor they don’t understand my writing,
So I stopped writing, now I’m like lightning
And you ain’t Vince Young, so don’t clash with the Titan
Fast and exciting, my passion is frightening
Now let me put some more vocab in your I.V.”
In “Dr. Carter”, Wayne takes on the persona of a Physician, who’s going through his day seeing various patients. Each patient, a struggling hip-hop artist, who needs help from the best rapper alive, has different ailments that Wayne is trying to treat. As Lil’ Wayne treats each patient, he helps his listeners understand how he became the best rapper alive, by telling us that he stopped writing down his raps, which allowed him to become better at his craft, and even more passionate about his work.
The best part about Wayne’s explanation in “Dr. Carter”, is that he doesn’t leave character to tell the story, as demonstrated when he says, “Arthritis in my hand from writing, But I’m a doctor they don’t understand my writing”. I mean, come one, even if you hate rap music, this line has to make you smile. It’s pretty damn creative. We all know how poor a doctor’s penmanship is. It’s that creativity, coupled with the proper strategy, that’s allowed Lil’ Wayne to position himself as the best rapper alive. Perhaps, after this post, Wayne might consider adding “Best Content Marketer Alive” to his list of titles.
Hopefully this post helps our readers to understand how Content can be used to help you achieve your individual, and/or business, goals. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small clothing retailer, a local band, or an aspiring rapper, you can use content to connect with, engage, and educate, your target audience.
Perhaps, on Lil’ Wayne’s planet, martians and martian businesses have been using Content Marketing for years now. Maybe that’s how he knew which strategy would work to achieve his goals here on Earth. Or, perhaps Wayne just saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. Either way, I’m glad he’s here to help all of us understand the power of Content Marketing.