In July, Weird Al Yankovic released his latest album, Mandatory Fun. His approach was both successful and creative.
For those of you up for a bit of a wild ride, here are my top 5 content marketing lessons from Weird Al’s latest. One caveat: this blog does engage in a bit of shameless self-promotion. With the launch of our new website, it’s feeling a bit like a coming out party. We find ourselves wanting to sing from the mountaintops. So with no further ado, here are my takeaways from Weird Al:
1. Find people who get it.
“Tacky,” Weird Al’s parody of Pharrell’s “Happy,” communicates one clear message:
It takes one to know one.
Here at Evolved Media, we are geeks. Geeks get other geeks. We will be rapt as you explain your latest tech solution to us. We will cheer as you gain market share when others latch onto your vision. We are into it. And because we are geeks, you don’t start at ground zero with us. We speak your language.
2. Assemble a great team.
Although “Tacky” isn’t my favorite track (because I still love listening to “Happy,” much to the dismay of the people I live with), there’s no question that Weird Al assembled a great team on that video as well as on the others he created to promote this album.
We become part of your team and we bring in others with specialized skills to join with us in creating relevant content for you.
3. Surprise the audience.
My favorite video in the series is “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s song “Royals.” Why do I love it? It’s the plot twist. I won’t give it away, but suffice it to say that you start out thinking Weird Al is making a rather tame food parody a la “Eat It” and then takes it in a completely different direction. (Thank you, Patton Oswalt!)
Surprising the audience is increasingly important. Just as the consumerization of IT is pushing the B2B technology space, so B2B marketing can no longer afford to be boring.
We gauge your appetite for weirdness and give you the ability to rein us in.
4. Pay attention to detail.
As an editor, of course I loved “Word Crimes,” Weird Al’s wonderful sendup of “Blurred Lines.” We try hard not to commit word crimes and to ensure that our grammar isn’t errant. On the other hand, even I’m now self-conscious about saying I’m doing well.
The point is that details matter. We pay attention to them.
5. Promote it like crazy.
Don’t hide great content. Weird Al partnered with so many different organizations online, from Reddit to College Humor to Nerdist, not to mention the celebrity friends he brought in to appear in the videos. No one expected the results that Weird Al got (not even him). It became his first number 1 album and was the first comedy album to reach the top of the charts since 1963. The videos—which were not funded by the label—received some 46 million views.
Great content should be noticed. When possible it should go viral. Most importantly, it should reach your target market.
Even the title of the album, “Mandatory Fun,” is descriptive of our approach to content marketing. You often hear people say, I have to go to work now. With all the fun we have learning about technology while working with our clients, you might just call our work mandatory fun.