The Kurt Cobain Guide to Music Content Marketing

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on October 29, 2008

Caught this post by Brian Clark called “The Kurt Cobain Guide to Startup Success.” Interesting read.

As I was making my way through the key points, I couldn’t help but try to make this relevant to music content marketing. 

Kurt CobainOften times when talking with clients about content marketing (which is still a rather new concept), they tend to relate most to the obvious – custom magazines, enewsletters, microsites.  Nothing wrong with that, but it places the emphasis on the product. A company that is open to content marketing places total emphasis on the customer. From there, the media can be chosen in order to accomplish marketing objectives.

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain used a truly original path to create engagement that also rings true for music content marketers.  Let’s take a look at two of Brian’s points and see if they fit into the world of content marketing.

1.  Break the Status Quo

Nirvana succeeded because they had a clear understanding of their fan base and they followed a different path to expand their influence.

If you have a true understanding of your customer-base, it means having a good idea of what their informational/entertainment content needs are. That’s step one. Step two is all about developing content that truly engages. How can you deliver content that truly engages?

With it being harder to cut through the marketing clutter today than ever before, creating great content just isn’t enough. You also need to distribute that content in new and different ways. Point is, there is no “tried and true” content marketing formula that works, because every customer segment is different and every marketing objective is different.

Takeaway: Committing to providing great content for your audience is just a start. You also need to commit to searching for the best distribution mechanisms, and possibly getting creative with partnerships. Ditch the formula and experiment.

2.  Bake the Marketing into the Product

Content marketing used to be easy. It was usually one product directed at one group of people. It was a custom magazine to jazz lovers. It was a hip-hop microsite to gen Y’s.

Not any more.

Today’s savvy content marketers understand the importance of integration for engagement. Successful content marketing programs involve all aspects of print, online and in-person marketing. Looking for an event activation through content marketing?  Just think of all the variations of deliverables. One channel just isn’t enough.

But the true beauty of Nirvana was that the marketing, the songs, the concerts all added to the experience. Just by being Nirvana, they were marketing. They were marketing by being Nirvana.

That’s the fine line for a content marketer. The product has to say your brand in some way, but at the same time has to be 100% educational/informative/entertaining. If it Smells like Sales for any period of time, you’re done.

Takeaway: Yes, content marketing is marketing, but it’s marketing completely focused on your customer or prospect. You actually grow sales by not selling, but teaching. This is a hard-concept for some marketers to understand, but even harder to execute.

Can you be the Nirvana of music content marketing? Possible…but to be safe, find yourself a Cobain that can see the entire picture of what you are trying to accomplish. Too often, marketers “overbake” and content programs become predictable and stale. Get someone from the outside to help.

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The Amplifier Blog is brought to you by the music lovers at Amplifier Content Marketing. Our ever-evolving blog offers insights reflecting the aspects of our work, the content marketing industry, and marketing to consumers through music-oriented content. Get involved!

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