Regardless of your musical preferences (or biases), you have to give credit to the wordsmiths dominating the hip-hop industry.
While some may pay more attention to high-end models and bottles than to major world crises, gifted rappers have the ability to communicate even the most mundane–sometimes even inane–messages to their respective audiences.
But once you sift through the expletives and scantily clad rap video babes, you’ll find there’s a few content marketing lessons to be learned from these crafty artists.
If you think marketing and rapping have little to nothing in common, think again. Heck, 90s rapper RZA proved himself to be a covert marketing mastermind with his insistence on individual personality branding before assembling the Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most respected and successful rap groups in history.
Need more convincing?
Follow these cues from hip-hop’s finest figures to establish yourself as a content heavy hitter: Here are 5 content marketing tips from some cool rappers.
1. If you’ve got it, flaunt it
Original lyrics: “It ain’t trickin’ if you got it” – Lil Wayne, “A Milli”
Persona is one of the most impactful aspects of a rapper’s power. From frontin’ to stuntin’, it’s all about the presentation, as well as the conviction and respect associated with that projected image.
When approaching blogs to accept your guest contribution, don’t shy away from attaching links to your previously published works. The bigger the name, the better: think of this tenet as the cyber version of street cred. Once you get your foot in the door, craft your author bio to fit the niche of the specific blog at hand in order to attract a wider pool of new readership.
2. It’s all about the image
Original lyric: “Wake up Mr. West, Mr. West, Mr. Fresh, Mister, by himself he’s so impressed” – Kanye West, “Good Morning”
For rappers, this point means clothes, designer brands, and lots of bling. For marketers, it means maintaining a visually appealing blog and providing content for high-caliber multimedia websites, as well as establishing connections to respected companies and tastemakers. (Oh, and working on pitches for a super sleek product or an innovative service doesn’t hurt either.)
Rap culture promotes overt displays of excess and success–which suggest greater popularity–thus helping bump up profits. Always put your best face (or best content) forward, positioning yourself amongst the greatest in your field. Put valid efforts into the visual aspects of your marketing, too, as readers view good design as second in importance in adding credibility to a blog (the first, of course, being quality content).
3. Establish and focus on trending words
Original lyrics: “You only live once, that’s the motto baby, YOLO” – Drake, “The Motto”
#YOLO wasn’t the first lyric to go viral, and it sadly won’t be the last. Turn lemons into lemonade by incorporating hashtags and other trending material into your marketing efforts. Not only will they emphasize key terms associated with your content, but they’ll also bring your content into the cultural conversation, thereby providing a new avenue of exposure from which to attract new followers and customers.
This point can also take buzzwords for SEO content into account, the idea being that the increased presence of relevant words will help direct increased traffic to your company’s blog and/or contributed content via other publishers. You Only Live Once, so why not experiment?
4. Be original and chart new ground
Original lyrics: “Don’t be mad ’cause it’s all about progression, loiterers should be arrested” – Jay Z, “On to the Next One”
Copying is a big foul in the rap game, and you better bet that you’ll be called out for being a phony if detected. From releasing diss tracks to engaging in all-out coastal wars, things can escalate quite quickly on the hip-hop front. But in the less fatalistic world of content writing, the worst of your worries includes copy that’s stale, overdone, or recycled.
Who really needs to read “how to guest blog” across ten different publications, all promoting the same ideas but with different sentence constructions? Prove to your audience that you and your company have personality and verve by thinking outside of the box.
Generate ideas with the intent of addressing your readership’s other interests and concerns to craft a unique article that has yet to be spotted elsewhere.
5. Be confident
Original lyrics: “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase, ‘sky’s the limit’” – Notorious B.I.G., “Sky’s the Limit”
Showing fear or worry within the hip-hop crowd is equivalent to social suicide. Wariness, uncertainty, and self-doubt all need to be checked at the door in order for your audience to put its faith in you and to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
A single marketing campaign can make or break a company’s reputation, especially those on the opposite ends of the established spectrum: massive corporations have major funds and expectant consumer bases at stake, while startups have the additional pressure of having every little effort judged and monitored for error.
All things considered, successful content writing combines proven research with thoughtful ingenuity, so move forward with your head held high. When there’s a will, there’s a way.
Have you got the right amount of swag ?
If one thing’s for sure, the best rappers deliver their messages with wit and the right amount of swag. They make the most of the cultural climate by staying fresh and on trend, continually crafting their personas to align with what works within the ever shifting cultural climate. Style and delivery are paramount to the effectiveness of their words and ensuing popularity, both of which elevate the persona of the rapper as a pop culture icon.
Marketers, take note: it’s your turn to own the mike.
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