As you content marketers all well know, my life is a movie and I am known for being a trendsetter.
But it was my five-year old daughter and six-year old son who turned me on to Old Town Road by Lil Nas X during a recent road trip to see grandma.
And in the week since then, we’ve listened to it and watched the music video about a bazillion times.
I was amazed at the song’s back story.
First, the song was an internet hit way before the remix with Billy Ray Cyrus topped the charts in more than a dozen countries.
Then there are the controversies surrounding genre, race and legitimacy.
As George Garner from Music Week put it, “it is now as much a debate as it is a song.”
It also made me wonder what lessons I and other content marketers could get from the country’s No. 1 song.
Here are my 4 takeaways?
No. 1: Leverage a content starter
Lil Nas X paid $30 for the soundtrack from BeatStars, an online music marketplace, and then wrote the lyrics to the catchy beat.
Why waste time trying to hire the perfect in-house marketer, spend weeks or months getting them trained and onboarded, and then wait another several months for them to create that content?
I’ve talked about this before, but there are many ways you can save thousands of dollars on your content creation without sacrificing quality or Your ROI.
One example is to customize a video template for your product explainer video, hire a freelancer like me to do the work, get a professional voiceover, and finish it off with a licensed soundtrack that fits your brand story.
No. 2: Promote, Promote, Promote Your Content
As a 20-year old, X has grown up with social media and become an expert at knowing all the platforms and tactics that can be leveraged to get a “viral” post.
He used that expertise to actively promote the song on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube and other platforms. And he posted to these sites multiple times, in different ways, and multiple days.
“This is no accident,” X told a New York Times reporter. “I’ve been pushing this hard.”
Marketers often fail to promote their content. Before you create that new explainer videos, eBooks, podcast, or blog post, consider how are you going to promote it over and over and over again.
No. 3: Build Your Posse with Partnerships
Much is made about Billy Ray Cyrus’s contribution to the song. But do you know about Michael Pelchat’s role in the song?
He is the Tiktok influencer that was instrumental in the song’s success, generating the much imitated template of a cowboy transformation to the song.
You have a ton of potential partners that can help amplify your content. That includes your employees, your customers, your channel sales partners, and your vendor partners. Seek their help (and help them with their efforts, too).
No. 4: Adapt and Overcome
You don’t need a production studio or tons of resources to create your content.
X paid $30 for the underlying track. He also converted a closet into his recording studio. He used screen capture video from a video game to create his original music video. When he was promoting it on social, he tried several tactics to see what got the best engagement.
If you have an idea for some unicorn content, but don’t have the resources to get it done, consider ways to break it up into smaller, achievable pieces. The classic example is aggregating several related blog posts into an eBook. But you can do the same thing with videos and podcasts.
According to an interview with Billboard, Calmatic, the director of the music video, adapted and overcame when Columbia Records informed him they wanted only one version of the video for the song. He had been planning two, one set in the old west and the other set in the hood. His response was to mash the two up into the Old Town Road movie that my kids love.
“Hip-hop is not just about making music but it’s about using technology and making something out of nothing,” Calmatic said to Billboard. “And I feel like that’s exactly what Lil Nas did with this song.”