Taking a page out of your favorite rap superstar’s playbook could be the best thing that’s ever happened to your company’s content marketing strategy.
Any savvy content marketer is always looking for new ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Though always intimidating at first, stepping outside of the box is usually the best way to distinguish your brand. While it may surprise some — and be plain to see for others — imitating the marketing techniques of hip-hop’s most successful rappers could be the best way for your company to go.
Building a unique and dynamic brand has always been a fundamental part of the hip-hop industry. Sometimes this means developing visible music labels with recognized artists, like Diddy’s legendary Bad Boy Records, or Birdman’s Cash Money Records.
More commonly, rappers appeal to as wide a base as possible by establishing provocative personas while pumping out a steady stream of highly-digestible music. In the past few years, as noted by Observer, successful models include artists A$AP Rocky, Drake, and the irrepressible Kanye West.
No matter how invested in the current rap scene you are, you probably haven’t considered looking to these musicians for marketing assistance. But, as any rapper will be quick to let you know, there’s no denying that these tactics have led to a significant amount of revenue.
The Art of Content
First off, what exactly is content marketing? And why is Drake so good at it? Content Marketing Institute defines it as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
If you’ve ever noticed, downloaded, or listened to a mixtape put out by a rapper like Rich Homie Quan or Big Sean, then you’ve directly participated in their content marketing strategy.
Drake, undoubtedly the biggest name in hip-hop right now, built his stock by putting out several quality mixtapes for free, beginning with his 2010 release So Far Gone, which contained two hit singles and earned him a multi-million dollar record deal, as reported by the Hit Music Academy.
Any company looking to establish its reputation would be wise to take note of Drake’s tactics. Putting out high-quality content for free is an effective means of building a strong reputation and consumer base that can eventually be grown and monetized.
Similarly, Kanye West launched a promotional segment called GOOD Fridays in the months leading up to his landmark album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Every Friday, West would release an original free song, several of which ultimately appeared on the album. The campaign brought so much traffic to his website that it crashed on numerous occasions.
Collaboration Is a Must
A key component of the GOOD Friday campaign’s overwhelming success was collaboration. Knowing his audience, he handpicked several fellow musicians that he knew would draw attention and clicks. The track “Monster,” for example, featured verses from two of hip-hop’s biggest titans, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj. Kanye has been collaborating to increase exposure ever since he emerged as Jay-Z’s fresh-faced, polo-wearing producer on The Blueprint, according to HubSpot.
If your company is able to develop connections with influential and visible brands, the resultant exposure will likely be greater than any single marketing campaign. If you can do this while establishing an engaging persona and voice — two things Drake and Kanye have been doing successfully for their entire careers — your brand’s impact will reach a massive audience.
While it might feel like a bit of a risk to model a business strategy after a man who regularly crashes the stage at award shows, there’s one thing that no one can deny about Kanye West: people simply can’t stop talking about him. And while we hope that your business is a bit more stable than Kanye’s ego, he can certainly teach everyone a thing or two about becoming a point of conversation that never seems to go away.
(Main image credit: Jason Persse/flickr)
Longneck and Thunderfoot offer B2C content marketing services to help your business reach the audiences that matter with smart, useful content that delivers the right message at the right time. Learn more about B2C content marketing here.