6 Ways Rick Springfield Is Like Content Marketing

Rick Springfield put the microphone to my lips and I belted out the chorus of his hit “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” That happened. At Content Marketing World.

I recently attended the second-annual conference all about, well, content marketing. Part of the festivities included seeing 80s pop icon Rick Springfield in concert, exclusively for attendees.

Let me first tell you that I am a proud child of the 80s. I saw the Rick Springfield movie “Hard to Hold” many, many times.

But while I wondered to myself pre-show, “What the heck is Rick Springfield doing singing at CMW?,” only after the show did I figure it all out. Rick Springfield’s show was a direct parallel to Content Marketing.

My view, front and center.

Let me explain…

1. Sometimes the journey is long. Really long. Sure Rick was a pop music and soap opera icon some 30 years ago. But he’s still jamming with the band at 63, running all over the stage like he did all those years ago, and sounding pretty awesome.

In content marketing, the journey includes continually creating great content to spread the word of why your business is different. The more competitive your industry, the more content your team should pump out. This can be a long journey. But keep at it.

2. Be engaging! I’ve been to many, many concerts in my time. But never have I seen a performance where the singer leapt from stage, danced through the crowd, ran up two flights of stairs to engage with the people in the “cheap seats,” and drank beer from a stranger’s cup. Sure, some people in the crowd were young enough to say, “Rick who?,” but everyone was having a great time.

If your content doesn’t engage your readers, I don’t care who you are: no one is coming back for more. Decide what tone of voice your audience will respond to and stick to it throughout your copy. Speak the language of your readers!

3. Reinvent yourself from time to time. Fads fade. Recently Rick appeared on one of my favorite shows “Hot in Cleveland” as himself (but not himself) …you understand if you watched. Not too long before that, he did a stint on the Showtime series “Californication.” And, he’s releasing a new album soon.

It’s normal for messaging to change over time. Continually releasing new content marketing assets: case studies, videos, whitepapers, e-books, infographics, etc., allows you to streamline that message to your audience.

4. Pay attention to your fans. There was a woman standing next to me in front of the stage the whole night, singing every single word to each one of his songs (and he played for an hour and a half). At the end of the show, he plucked off one of his bracelets and tossed it to her before fleeing the stage for the night. Safe to say he made her night.

Social media makes it easier to connect with your brand evangelists, as well as prospective customers. Have someone dedicated to monitoring the chatter on your social media channels, and pump out exclusive content to give them a reason to come back … and back again. Give out discount codes exclusively to Twitter followers. Or give Facebook fans a chance to post about their favorite product for a chance to win something special.

5. Know your audience. Rick got it: His audience wanted to hear “Jessie’s Girl,” and if he saw someone so much as walk in the direction of the restrooms, he played the first six notes.

In content marketing, you need to know who you’re targeting. Think beyond the obvious. Develop buyer personas. Put actual faces to your personas so your entire company starts to see your buyer. Then, develop content that gets that person from landing on your website to making a purchase/filling out a lead form.

6. Leave a lasting memory. I started out this post telling you how Rick let me sing the chorus of a song. The crowd cheered when I sang (believe me, that never happens during karaoke). I’ll always remember that.

Are you giving your customers something to hold on to? Think outside the box for a cool app that anyone could use. Charmin created the “Sit or Squat” app to allow users to find clean public restrooms, wherever they might be. How many people buy Charmin just because they appreciate that convenience? Memories create loyalty.

If content marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it. It doesn’t matter how many pieces you pump out if you’re not engaging your readers with quality content that they can use.

Thanks to Rick for eventually playing “Jessie’s Girl,” and for a night I’ll not soon forget!

About Jennifer Callahan

Jen has been at Fathom for eight years, beginning as the company's first full-time copywriter. She now leads the content/social media team of more than 20 full-time writers and social media strategists. Jen also plans Fathom's insanely fun summer picnics and end-of-year holiday parties. If you're looking for her at 11 a.m., you'll find her with the other early lunch-ers in the Fathom kitchen watching "The Price is Right."

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