What’s one thing content marketers really want?
You want an audience that hangs on your every word.
Loyal fans are the foundation of your business, and they’re the best guarantee of your entrepreneurial success.
You can read a lot of powerful advice on how to build a powerful relationship with your audience. But some nuggets of marketing gold are found in unexpected places — like a live pop concert.
I went to Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” Ball a while ago, and it was pure genius. Right from the first moment of the show — and all the way through the final moments of the concert — Gaga was teaching the marketing lessons every content marketer needs to master.
Here’s what you can learn from her.
1. Create drama
Gaga entered the stage on a horse dressed up to look like a unicorn.
She wore a black bodysuit made of hundreds of glittering vinyl tubes that resembled full body armor.
Her dancers accompanied her in skimpy black outfits. Gaga’s face was covered by a full face helmet, which made her seem alien-like, powerful, strong. You only heard her voice and saw the way she moved.
Our emotions were boiling, and Gaga’s presence was dramatic. The scene was so eerie and strange that we were charged with fascination.
The electricity in the air lasted for a few long moments.
It was a moment of pure drama, and this entrance set up high expectations for the entire evening. The audience was immediately emotionally involved.
That’s what you want to create with your content. You want to draw your readers in with an experience unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
Do your followers feel a thrill when they think about you? Do they get a little charge when they go to your site and read your articles? Do you make readers sit up and pay attention?
Next time you compose a blog post or landing page, create some tension. Create drama to grab your readers and take their breath away.
Writing stale posts isn’t enough. Instead, create fascination. Persuade your readers and captivate their imaginations.
2. Lead with a mission
Gaga has a clear mission, and she makes sure the world knows it. During the concert, she stood up for self-esteem, body-love, gay rights, and artistic expression.
Having struggled with bulimia and bullying, she uses her past to help people who are still hurting. She helps them stay strong by encouraging them to remember that they are loved and that they’re not alone.
That’s why she launched the A Body Revolution 2013 project, which she describes as follows:
My mother and I created the Born This Way Foundation for one reason: to inspire bravery. This profile is an extension of that dream. Be brave and celebrate with us your ‘perceived flaws,’ as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.
On her website, Gaga wrote, “Now that the body revolution has begun, be brave and post a photo of you that celebrates your triumph over insecurities.”
And within the first day, fans submitted hundreds of thousands of personal photos. They responded to her mission by celebrating their bodies.
There is enormous power in giving voice to those who feel invisible. Telling your fans’ story will help you earn their trust and their loyalty. By focusing on a collective mission, you create a powerful, cohesive group identity.
What’s your cause? What’s your greater message? What’s your “why?”
You don’t have to initiate a positive body image campaign — but your readers should know exactly what you stand for.
Is it integrity? Following your dreams? Building a career you love? Making a fortune? Doing philanthropy work?
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your mission. Once you know your message, talk about it (and act on it) often.
Communicating your cause to the world is crucial to making your business stand out and creating a group identity that welds your audience together.
3. Openly address concerns
Between songs, Gaga addressed the audience. She thanked us for our time, and for shelling out the cash to visit her show.
Even though I know she thanks every concert audience, her sincerity spoke to my heart and those of thousands of others.
Her small gesture showed that she cared, and she didn’t take our presence for granted.
She addressed the fans’ concerns opening, placing them right in the open. For a moment, she took the spotlight off herself by letting us know exactly what our ticket money paid for that night. That’s smart marketing.
Customers and readers want to be acknowledged and understood.
Use that knowledge to your advantage, and do it in a thoughtful and genuine way. Show that you’re grateful. Tell your readers you care, and that you are aware of the circumstances and issues they face.
4. Build your tribe, one person at a time
Gaga took the time to connect with her fans on an individual level. She spent a long time looking at gifts, t-shirts, and photo albums that her fans had created.
She invited groups of Little Monsters (as her fans are called) to join her on stage. She hugged and kissed them and was very approachable.
Gaga is a master at making her fans feel validated. By focusing on individuals in a sincere way, she’s taking her mission one step further.
You can also see in her interactions on Twitter that she honestly cares about her tribe. Her tweets include many one-on-one conversations, and they seem to be completely without motive — they’re simply to get to know what her fans are thinking.
This attitude makes a huge difference. It’s a clear way to create fans for a lifetime.
To create a loyal fan base, you need to create a deeper connection with your readers. Get to know them personally. Learn their names, fears, concerns, and hopes.
5. Eliminate noise
Gaga talked about not caring about what certain people say, think, and believe about her.
Gaga is quirky, sometimes even extraterrestrial. From her language to her outrageous outfits, she’s truly one of a kind.
As she puts it: “You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.”
She’s provocative in ways that exclude a lot of people. And that’s not an accident.
In marketing online, there’s nothing worse than trying to please everyone. The broader your message, the less you can address the deepest concerns of your specific audience.
Instead of trying to please everyone, cater to a select group of people who need help with a specific problem. The rest don’t matter.
So, focus, focus, focus — and eliminate those who aren’t on your wavelength. The narrower your niche, the better your chances of success.
Gaga over-delivered during her show. She sang live, which unfortunately is the exception rather than the norm in today’s concerts. She performed with full presence and commitment. She communicated freely with her audience, and I could feel that Gaga lives her art and breathes her performance.
She was funny, serious, poetic, and expressive. She gave the fans what they wanted and so much more.
Once you’ve created high stakes, it’s important to deliver results that blow your readers’ minds. Give them everything you’ve got and more. Create a customer experience that is off the charts.
If you deliver high quality content on a consistent basis, your fans won’t leave your side.
It’s simple, but not easy …
Creating fans for life is not rocket science — but it doesn’t happen by accident, either. I’d love to tell you that publishing good content is enough — but it’s not. As Gaga knows, building a tribe that cares about you takes hard work and deliberation.
And that’s where most content marketers fail.
But you’re different, right? You’re not afraid of getting up early and working late.
You’re devoted to building a rock solid knowledge of content marketing.
You know that taking the time to focus on individuals will put you a mile ahead of your competitors.
You’re motivated to deliver brilliant, action-evoking content.
And you realize that modeling the work of superstars like Gaga is the smartest way to turn your readers into loyal, lifelong fans.
So, keep pushing, keep caring, and keep fighting for your tribe — Lady Gaga style.
Reader Comments (56)
Uwe Luschas says
Thanks for points 2-6 – great reminders.
I am not conviced that my readers need to feel a thrill or that I have to “create drama”. There is more than enough drama out there already.
And yes I am with you on drawing the reader in. Drawing them in with a great headline which creates curiosity is a good way that they read the next sentence. But there is a big difference between drama (thrill) and curiosity.
Feedback from my readers and members has shown that they value reliability, quality content and humor above anything else. These are also the reasons why I read copyblogger.
I guess what it boils down eventually is the kind of audience you want to attract.
Vincent Nguyen says
Very similar thoughts with me. I feel all the points were accurate except maybe point 1. Maybe it depends on your content but for sure I know drama isn’t what my audience is looking for. They look for genuine learning experiences without anything extra baked in. It may be necessary for some niches, but not all audiences look for that.
Humor is great because it attracts the type of people I would assume you want to be attracting. It’s hard to incorporate some times but if you’re able to do it consistently then I think you’re on the right path, Uwe.
Sonia Simone says
It doesn’t have to be riding in on a unicorn. 🙂 But you can open content with drama by using stories, strong questions, and well-written headlines. You need to get that attention drawn in for those first seconds, just because there are so many competing distractions.
Jordan Riggle says
I agree with you Sonia.
Drama doesn’t have to be Lady Gaga styled-extreme. All you need to do is earn your Audiences Attention – and if emphasizing reliability, quality content, and humor gets your audiences attention, then that’s the drama you need to show.
We all can’t wear dresses made out of meat like Gaga, but we all can and should find out what’s important to our listeners and then talk it up!
We can create and wear our own dresses made out of meat. 🙂 We can create our own unique style and mission, tailored to our audience’s needs and our own personality.
Uwe, yes, there is a lot of drama, but people love it. Why are there so many drama TV series? Because people yearn to see it. If you can add just a tad of it in your posts, you’ll see more engagement. As mentioned, drama can have many forms and I believe humor can be one of them. You just need to make sure you’ll grab them and forget about all other distractions on the web and in real life.
Felipe Jose says
Actually this is the power of storytelling!
If you can use it correctly, you will see benefits very rapidly.
In my opinion, this is the easiest way to captivate and engage an audience. Creating drama is something that is worth considering but I believe that the main focus must be on entertaining people. But you have to find the best way to do that!!
Felipe, you’re so right. It’s important to have the right balance, but some of my best posts started with tension and a great story. That way people just “needed” to continue reading. Of course, then it’s up to you to not drop the ball.
sherman smith says
This blog post was powerful!
All the points here stood out to me.
It was a great analogy of using
How Lady Gaga draws her audience
at her concerts. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed it, Sherman. Now, go and use what you’ve learned. 🙂
Cameron Smith says
Fantastic post, and I don’t even care about Lady Gaga 😉 She has the ability to hold her audience’s attention from start to finish, which is also a great quality for any blogger to have.
I really like your point about over-delivering content. There is way too much “under-delivered” content that only fades into the background. Lady Gaga’s content has her own personality and her own brand stamped all over it, and bloggers shouldn’t be afraid to infuse their own character into their brand as well.
I think that most bloggers are simply scared of their audience’s reactions to showing their true character and being authentic. It’s a huge step to be who you truly are and potentially be criticized for it. However, I believe that once you open up and let go of all the fears, success will come to you much easier than if you always play the pretend game.
Lisa D. Sparks says
Very nice post. Will take this advice. I especially love the first step about creating drama and the last one about it being simple but not easy. Good stuff.
Glennis Nitafan says
I like Number 1 about the drama. It is praised when preparation was done and done correctly. It will definitely showcase the knowledge you have of your audience that is why you can take their breath away when you do it. I love Donald Trump’s The Apprentice and his way of creating this enjoyable experience. Thanks for the share.
Glennis, I’ve never watched the Apprentice, but I get what you mean. It truly takes a deeper knowledge of your audience, their fears, their desires, their most intimate thoughts to create drama and get their attention. If you do your homework, however, you can achieve incredible results. Look at Jon Morrow, he studies his audience, he thinks about his openings and he draws readers in like nobody else.
Amy Hagerup says
Creating drama and leading with a mission were my favorites. Since I have three blogs in different (sort of) niches, I really want to be sure I am true to my overall mission of communicating that everyone is a valuable person – and yes, that includes body image too that some people struggle with. My weight loss site reiterates that losing weight won’t make you a more valuable person. you are already valuable. I’m going to think on these points and become a better marketer – building my tribe one person at a time! Thanks so much.
Three blogs is a lot. Kudos to you for trying to have one overall mission. I think this’ll be your elixir for success. Focusing on one person at a time will create that strong core of followers, friends, supporters you need. The more you become friends with your readers, the better. I’ve met so many amazing people from my blog and have taken many relationships offline and guess what, those are the ones you always stick with me. Good luck with building your tribe and I’m so happy you’re sharing the message that body-love doesn’t appear when you loose weight.
Patrick Keller says
Good stuff. You are right. It’s not just about talent. These days you have to know how to grow and keep your audience. I wonder how these principles would apply to other popular artists?
There’s this one girl who became incredibly successful because of Google+. She started doing Google hangouts with people from all over the world, playing concerts for 9 people at a time and she took off like a rocket. So, building your tribe focusing on individuals works for others too.
I’ve never heard a Gaga song or heard her speak, but she’s obviously very popular. I think it’s because of one overwhelming factor that is implicit in the six you talk about: Be positive!
When writing, it’s important to phrase even simple things with a positive thrust, even if it’s as basic as saying it will be a “mostly sunny” day versus a “partly cloudy” one. They may both sound equal, but people come back to hear the former more than the latter.
My own blog is deliberately negative — it’s for venting — and as such, I’m surprised if I get even six visitors in a day. Fortunately, It’s not how I’m earning my living.
Ian Anderson says
If you want to see real passion and talent Bill (whether you like the genre or not) catch Gaga, solo with just a piano, in this vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cce36nhHTP8.
Makes my hair stand up and I think that she is Gaga in every sense 🙂
In the end passion will find an audience regardless of what we think!
Amazing. Love this song and she has an incredible presence. Yes, passion will always find an audience and when you couple it with talent and effort, you have a powerful situation.
Darnell Jackson says
Excellent point from a get money perspective I definitely see the route to success that the Gaga has taken.
The problem is what happens when all of the costumes get played out?
If she ever wanted to drop all of that “stuff” then her fans would drop her too.
Ask MC Hammer what happened when they got tired of the parachute pants.
This is why, I think the Jennifer Hudson, Taylor swift, Adel approach is much better for long term success.
That way no matter what, you are always being TRUE to yourself and keeping it real instead of playing the role and being someones “character”.
Darnell, I actually think Gaga is being herself. She’s just different than most people. She’s an artist. I’m not a fangirl of hers, but I believe that her fans will grow as she does. If you’re good at blogging and are a human being, you’ll always evolve and change. I think it’s important to keep in mind that you’re never stuck in a role. Sure, there are some who didn’t have lifelong success (but Cher looks like she never really wanted to change), but then there are those who listen to their audiences and take the right route.
Dan Merryday says
A true Gaga fan would understand that there is no separation between Lady Gaga and Stefani (her real name). She was once asked by an audience during a presentation at Google Headquarters, and she answered:
“What are you looking for?”
Meaning, anybody who wonders who the person is beneath the Gaga appearance doesn’t understand that there is no person underneath: they are one identity.
Of course, the special note that must be mentioned here is that Gaga spent years and lots of hard hard work dancing at burlesque bars and writing pop songs for Britney Spears until she was recognized for her own talent.
I think that’s the one true character of any successful marketer is having the persistence to push through, even though all signals give the impression that it won’t succeed.
Brilliant point. She struggled for so many years and she never gave up. This translates very well into the bloggosphere where so many start with grand dreams and after a few failed attempts give up. However, if you go on, adapt, refine and work on yourself, your chances of succeeding go through the rough.
Sonia Simone says
Sure, but look at David Bowie, look at Bob Dylan. Hell, look at Weird Al Yankovic. Weird people can have very long careers if they’re genuinely weird.
Did you actually enjoy the concert 🙂 ? Great post.
LOL You know what, Serdar, it was hard. My mind was going crazy thinking about the great blog post I’d write about it… Fate of a blogger, I guess.
MaLinda Johnson says
Number 2 is so very true. Good post!
Great post Anne-Sophie – I’ll be using this article in my social media training for our leaders next week!
Donato Barros says
This article was very precious to me! Congratulations ….
I really enjoyed your post because of the industry I’m in – online Fashion. I think I’m going to use everything!! 🙂
Well said…Creating Drama is fun 🙂
I went to see Lady Gaga about a year ago. At the time, I had heard her on the radio and enjoyed her but wasn’t a rabid fan. When the show started, her charisma was evident. About 20 minutes in she instructed her “Little Monsters” to raise their paws. Before I knew it, my hands shot up into the air. I’m 30 years old. I barely knew what “Little Monsters” and “paws” were but when she told us to do that, we did – without thinking.
It made me think about other charismatic people and how they so successfully influence others. Lady Gaga is a force of nature. Excellent source for your article.
I can relate, Jena. I was totally into it as well. lol Some people just have that special something and she sure does.
When I see Gaga, I can’t help but think of Madonna, Grace Jones, and all of the other women who paved the way for artists like her.
For me, Madonna is the ultimate marketer. She’s reinvented herself many times and still has a strong following. She’s a smart cookie and understands that sometimes, you need to diversify and try different things. I liked her performance in “Evita” and “A League of Their Own.” She’s not a one-trick pony. I wonder how many “pop” artists today will have the sustainability like Madonna, especially in music.
I could sense all of the 6 points implemented in your post 🙂 Great share!
To be honest, I believe if someone would be able to accomplish all those points that the author mentioned here + post a good content regularly, that might be one of THE greatest and most popular blogs on the Internetz.
Personality does a lot when attractive audience, so one that is so interesting and unique, and that also provides valuable content will be worth millions. Literally.
marc manieri says
I really enjoyed this post, thank you for writing it. It hit me at the perfect time as I’m 60 days or less from conducting live training events for the mortgage community. I don’t want to put on the same old, tired, boring, hotel seminar. I want it to be “different” but not forced. I’m challenged a bit figuring out how to come up with the right balance. How can I open the event “differently” – spontaneously – attention-grabbing – but without having to run in front of people with my best Howard Stern “fart-man” impersonation? Any suggestions from anyone who comments would be appreciated. Thanks again for a great post and some lively discussion.
The best tip I can give you is to be yourself. What is unique about you? What is “different”? Don’t try to be someone else, try to dig deeper and look what you’ve got to give. Then use that. Hope this helps.
marc manieri says
great thought. simple yet powerful. thank you.
Great points! It is important to sometimes take focus from oneself and focus on ones audience, and go extra miles
J.W. Simpkins says
Although I’m not a fan of her music, Lady Gaga’s theatrics and marketing are top notch!
Mrs. Jen B says
I’m not even a Gaga fan but I have to admit that she’s a genius when it comes to connecting and speaking to the sort of issues and concerns her fans experience. She’s chosen to take pain from her past and make something beautiful and empowering out of it. She treats her fans as individuals. She seems incredibly authentic. I wish I had that kind of courage!
Ready? Here comes the coach in me. You do have that kind of courage, it’s simmering inside waiting to be allowed to come out. Give it a try, start small, and then slowly go from there. Gaga didn’t talk about her issues on a worldwide stage from the very beginning, she started somewhere in a small club with a few people. Practice and you too will create incredible things.
Sheetal Sharma says
Thanks for writing and sharing this post. Creating a fan base that lasts forever is a task easy said but not done easy, it takes a lot of time and energy to build that kind of reputation and credibility in the eyes of customers. The example of Lady Gaga is very apt for understanding how to mend your audience your way.I work at Synechron, where in my team who handles online reputation applies all these steps to get the right kind of engagement level desirable for the brand.
Love the post Anne! Especially Point 2 “Lead with a mission” helps to ensure that the author not only has a real strong message but a relevant perspective based on past experiences. Love the choice of Lady Gaga, by the way 🙂
Totally agree. When you lead with a mission, you can use your past to help others change their lives and maybe even change the world?! We all have a message to share, we all have been through something that others are struggling with right now and I think that if we all used our past, this world would be so much more empowered.
Jonas Ellison says
Honestly. I’ve read whole books that aren’t half as informative and real as this post. This is great. Thank you so much for your words of advice. It inspired some changes in my own writing and branding.
Thank you so much, Jonas. I’m thrilled to hear that you found this article valuable and helpful. Hope you can implement a few of the points.
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