5 Peeps + 1 Guitar = Great Web Content
I have recently become a fan of a band called Walk Off The Earth. Having purchased tickets to see another band, The Decemberists, at a festival called Boston Calling in May, I was using YouTube to listen to music from the other artists on the bill to see if there was anyone else I would be interested in seeing. When I searched for “Walk Off The Earth”, I found a YouTube channel filled with both original music and a number of very interesting cover songs. One of these cover songs was the group’s version of “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Goyte.
OK, time for an admission - I had no idea who Goyte was when I first saw this video and I had never heard the original version of this song. I clicked on the link not because I recognized the song title, but because it said the video had 150,000,000+ views. Yes, you read that right – 150 million. I did not accidentally add some extra zeros.
To make a long story short, the band produced a unique take on this song by having all 5 members of the group play 1 guitar at the same time during the video. It went viral (obviously), earning the band lots of new views and fans, an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more. Many of the people that saw this viral video went on to discover other music that the band had on their channel and their other videos now also have playcounts well into the millions.
As you can see, I am pretty excited by this find. Not only did I discover a great new band, but I also found a perfect example to use when I have conversations with clients about how to do web content the right way!
Success Takes Time and Effort
One thing you should know about Walk Off The Earth is that their success did not come overnight. “Somebody That I Used To Know” may have been their big break in 2012, helping them to secure a record deal and release their major label debut in early 2013, but their YouTube channel was established in 2008 and they had been publishing music to that channel for years before that video went viral.
There are a few important lessons here, ones that many clients ignore when they start producing web content – success doesn’t happen immediately and, to find that success, you must have both patience and perseverance.
Success Doesn’t Happen Immediately
It takes time for your content to get found and shared so that others can discover it as well. Whether you are creating videos like Walk Off The Earth does, or informative articles about the industry you work in, you cannot expect to publish a few pieces of content and see immediate results. Developing quality content for your website (often called “content marketing”) is a long-term strategy, not a short-term band-aid fix.
Success Requires Patience and Perseverance
When results are not immediately seen, many companies abandon their content creation initiatives and chalk them up as a failed plan, but as you can see in the Walk Off The Earth example, sometimes all it takes is one piece of content that strikes a chord and becomes popular to shine a light on all the other great content you have been developing all along. To realize that payoff, you need to stick with it and follow your plan.
We all wish for that viral hit that blows up, but more often, what you will find is a more gradual progression as your quality content finds an audience and that audience shares your content. That sharing allows your circle of readers to grow and a cycle of success begins. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with patience and perseverance, it will happen. Quality content always finds an audience.
Understand Your Audience and Plan Your Content
Walk Off The Earth is lucky. They are amazing musicians who are able to create wonderful web content through their music videos. Most companies don’t have the same fun brand that Walk Off The Earth does – I mean, how does an accounting firm or a non-profit that helps the homeless create content as fun and exciting as Walk Off The Earth’s videos? Short answer – they don’t.
Fun music videos work for this band, but that is not the right solution for everyone. You need to understand your audience to determine what “quality content” means to them. Yes, a unique rendition of a popular song makes sense for Walk Off The Earth’s audience because that is what they are looking for. If you are that aforementioned accounting firm, however, then doing a remake of a Lorde song is probably not going to have the same effect (although I do work with closely with an excellent accounting firm and I would give anything to see them record a music video song remake).
If you want to create quality content that appeals to your audience, you need to understand what that audience needs from you. Do you hear the same question over and over from your customers? Then write an article that answers that question. Are there changes in your industry that will impact the people you work with? Write a plain-language article explaining those changes and what they mean for your customers. Those articles may not be as fun as a music video, nor will they receive 150 million views, but they will provide value to your audience and strengthen your relationship with those readers. Fun or not, that is a pretty cool thing that quality web content can do for you.
While I have linked to some of Walk Off The Earth’s popular remakes in this article, I would be remiss if I did not also link to their original music. While the cover songs are excellent, I actually enjoy their original music even more – and the videos are great fun. I recommend the following:
Check back with me after the Boston Calling concert in May and I will let you know how great the band was live!