Musicians are the best marketers. They have to be. They fight for attention in an industry with tactics that make politicians blush. Attention is the goal, content is the currency. Sound familiar?
On December 13th Beyonce kneecapped the music retail establishment.
She launched her new self-titled album and 17 full music videos exclusively on iTunes without advance publicity or promotion. This wasn’t a Top–40 single or a pre-Super Bowl tease commercial. No, we had a full Album and video playlist that normally would have been preceded with a year’s worth of hype.
Her fan’s loved it. They showed their appreciation by buying 1 million downloadable copies of the album. That’s a record yo.
The Beyonce + Jay Z Music empire.
You are not Beyonce. (If you are Beyonce…“call me grl”)
I won’t insult your intelligence by implying that you and I can use a blog to garner Beyonce-esque fame and fortune. Beyonce is an Apex Entertainer and she has refined celebrity into an art.
But we can learn a few lessons from Beyonce that could be useful in creating our own Authority Empire.
Pick an Empowering Right Model
“When I decided to manage myself it was important that I didn’t go to some big management company. I felt like I wanted to follow the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse” - Beyonce
I think most people fail because they are motivated by piss-poor role models. Beyonce picked Madonna. Madonna provided the inspiration for running her own company, constantly reinventing herself, and challenging industry norms. It’s working.
Who are your role models? Are they intimidating, awesome, mega successful, and crazy inspirational? Here’s a hint, pick someone who achieved what you want in a radically new way.
Beyonce has released albums every year, only pausing to have a baby. A few months later, she kicked out another album. As a Fan, you know that Beyonce will come through.
That’s why most fans were getting a little nervous, until last week we hadn’t heard a peep about a new album. Now we know why. This meant that Beyonce could rely on pent-up demand to fuel her innovative launch.
Consistency is THE ingredient to building your authority. Your readers want to depend on you. They NEED your content. Make them wait and watch them go. In 2014, commit to publishing weekly. Or, be spectacular by taking it up notch and publishing 2x a week. More content = more attention.
Mix It Up
Beyonce works the usual slate of social media channels but she seems to give the most love to Instagram and her Tumblr blog. This makes sense, Beyonce is addicted to her cell phone which she uses to snap [Instagram] friendly selfies. Her fans gobble up and comment on every photo keeping Beyonce on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
Tumblr is Beyonce’s storybook. She used it to tell quick photo stories about her adventures as a celebrity. Fan’s use the Tumblr blog to get “backgroud” on Beyonce’s life, even catching the first photos of her and Jay Z’s baby.
This content is spread tablet to tablet, phone to phone, and works 24/7 to keep Beyonce top of mind and in the press.
Are you a one trick-pony. Don’t be ashamed. I am. That will change in 2014 because people will read but they prefer to listen, watch and scan. Look for ways to tell your story and demonstrate your expertise in a glance. Even better, move a portion of your content to iTunes or YouTube for portable consumption.
Oh…and consider writing shorter posts rather than 1000+ epic short stories. Quick, fun, and informative. Give it some thought.
“I found a team of underdogs, a team of women, a team of people that no one believed in and we worked together,” she said, “and we stayed up all night and we were progressive and we did not follow the rules." - Beyonce
Your tribe includes your staff, coach, and your readers. Find them, take care of them, give them a stake in your success. Beyonce’s Instagram followers were the first people to hear about her new album. These fans stampeded iTunes and downloaded millions of copies. For the first time, the Fans had the scoop and were directly tied to the success of a album.
It worked. Other artists love their fans not many have put the success of their signature work in the hands of their fans.
Look. You are absolutely critical to my success. Your readers and customers have the same power. The only people that matter are your readers. In 2014, go all-in on creating, rewarding, and mobilizing your tribe.
Be a Content Machine
I’m surprised that the press hasn’t focused more attention on the 17 music videos launched with the 14 songs. Fans received a years worth of Beyonce for $15.99. Damn.
Are you trying to sell an ebook for $17? Now we know why no one is buying we’ve set the content bar too low.
Social Media and content marketing success follows one rule - publish or die. If you don’t want to create content then find another strategy. You cannot survive with a stingy publishing schedule filled with me-too content.
We need to raise the bar. Look at the people “crushing it” in your niche. I bet they are content creators that ship regularly. We can get pissed and mean or step-up. What do you choose?
Do the unexpected
Beyonce turned the record launch process upside down.
It usually works like this -
1. Tease the public with a vague album release announcement
2. Put out a single
3. Run the single constantly on Pop 40 stations
4. Announce the release
5. Do the late night shows
7. Do interviews about the record
8. Hope and pray it does well enough for a Grammy
The Beyonce Launch (which will be imitated - unsuccessfully)
1. Build an audience of fans via social channels
2. Create content across all channels (video documentary, blog posts, photos, etc.)
4. Partner with like-minded revolutionaries (i.e. iTunes/Apple)
5. Launch to fans first
6. Appease the industry, press, and peers second - if you want.
This might seem out of reach and laughably optimistic for people like you and me. But is it?
The principles stay the same even if the scale is smaller.
This is a great time to think about if 2014 could be your (Beyonce) breakout year. Whatever you decide, I’ll be here pushing you forward.