“How Can I Move the Crowd?” The Classic Hip Hip Route to Increasing Your Visitors

“How Can I Move the Crowd?” The Classic Hip Hip Route to Increasing Your Visitors

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If you answered “first of all, ain’t no mistakes allowed”, you’re probably going to enjoy this journey more than everyone else.

Image crredit: Guian Bolisay

Moving Your Crowd from Interest to Checkout, Using the 5 Elements

My heyday was the 90s. Hip hop in particular.

Not just rap music, or underground hip hop, or the stepchild of “gangsta rap” that the radio overplays today, but hip hop culture. I pine for that day when popular rap wasn’t just about trying to be “hard”, when the defining characteristic of a good emcee was, above all, skill.

It was so thick. You could turn on the radio and not know if you were going to get MC Lyte, Tribe Called Quest, Lil Kim, The Beastie Boys, Salt N Pepa, Brand Nubian, Da Brat, Scarface, Queen Latifah, Dead Prez,  or MC Hammer. The song could be about anything from a love story to a local history lesson, a peek into poverty or crime, even a verbal battle.

Kind of like Twitter in 2007. Or Google+ now, honestly, especially in Hangouts.

(I have news for all of you that think Google making changes means G+ is dead. It’s been dying for four years and yet still around. They said the same thing about Facebook; change is not death. But I digress.)

Blogging keeps going through this same cycle of being dead for some, until a brand new blog becomes a top visited site in less than six months. Same thing with podcasting.

We can take advantage of the belief that blogging is dead, that hiphop is dead, and innovate, expand and elevate while folks are sleeping on us.

All we have to do is return to the five elements.

The 5 Elements of Hip Hop.
And Digital Marketing, Kind of

And as we discussed before, the five elements of hip hop, as set forth by Afrika Bambaataa are

  1. DJing
  2. – your “music” gets our attention

  3. MCing
  4. – lyrics keep us interested

  5. Graffiti
  6. – you whet our appetite, we desire more

  7. Dancing
  8. – we take action.

  9. Knowledge
  10. the study at every stage of the game, keeping everything within the frame. Sometimes you gather it, sometimes you give it. But the culture of hiphop is just words over beats without the spreading or seeking of valued information.

Image credit: Neon Tommy

You’re probably asking yourself how this we’ll get from this metaphor to free traffic and digital marketing.

Well let’s take another look.

You’ll see how you can use this as a mnemonic device, to see whether you’ve addressed the essence of building your content journey into a vehicle takes your prospects from seeing you’re there, to wanting what you have above anything else.

“First of all, ain’t no mistakes allowed”

Image credit: Gergely Csatari

The MC (or emcee) is the master of ceremonies. The MC’s job is to get your attention, with whatever words necessary. She’s got a strategy embedded in her DNA – she knows where she is strong and what audience will be interested in what she has to say. She has a prepared message, but can also pivot into spontaneity, rhyming with lines to make you higher than ecstasy.

Your spoken or written message has to be on point. As does your desired action from the crowd, your people, the community. “How can I move the crowd? First of all, ain’t no mistakes allowed.

Two seconds to load your site, down from around 5 just a few short years ago.

Can you be ready on the go? If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work, yo. It’s so serious that Google will reward you for a fast-loading mobile-friendly site.

You can’t just be on the stage, you have to own it – if you want results that is. This is where you start to get the attention of your intended customer.

Tell us who you are, make your case for making us dance. Do you know what you want to us to do? Have you bothered to tell us what that is?

Even better, can you make us think it was our idea?

Are we merely putting our hands in the air?

Or are we waving them like we just don’t care?

To what end? And is it mutually beneficial? Or are you hyping us up just to waste our time?

Who is your audience? What are you going to say to them?

How will you deliver that as content?

How will that content be marketed? Did you remember to join or set up a community to help you with distribution? Do you truly represent their needs or are you trying to squeeze the square peg of what you want into the round hole of what they’re willing to accept?

“Here’s the instruction, put it together”

Image credit: Gergely Csatari

DJing maintains and accelerates the attention we are able to attract.

Either way, the DJ takes what has been created and remixes it into something familiar yet new.

The goal of the DJ is to make you feel the music, not just hear it. It’s still communication. But it’s non-verbal and non-visual. Just as important as the lyrics, often more so.

Many a hit has been made by a wack rhyme over a hot beat. The other way around rarely happens – first the beat penetrates then the lyrics elevate. It’s all about the way everything is put together.

Some DJs just want you to feel it enough to dance in the club. Others are hoping you’ll buy a track, and keep buying them until you own the whole album.

Where your website is concerned, it’s all about the way you put together your site to keep the attention of your visitors when they get to your site, as well as prepping them for the next step.

Now that they’re here, will they stay?

Will they read another blog post or find you irrelevant? Will they feel at home and stick around or leave in confusion right away? Is there more of the content they sought behind that landing page? Do they trust you enough to make the discovery? Are they pre-sold on wanting what you have or will you have to convince them? Will they give you a chance to convince them by subscribing?

Will they become buyers after they subscribe?

Or will they come up into your club, look around and bounce? How do you prevent that scenario?

Did you even remember to create a list or newsletter? Can you still catch up to your competitor’s list if you haven’t? Does your content delight or distract? Is there any sense of urgency about it?

We talk all the time about engagement, to the point that we hate the word.

But it’s a necessary word to understand.

It can be so simple.

Think of dating – unless the match is perfect, you don’t get engaged on the first date. You get to know the other person. Find out what they need from you and decide if it’s what you want to give to get what you want.

Think of dancing. Either the beat is hot or it’s just not.

Can you make them dance? How will you move the crowd?

“It’s simple ain’t it? But quite clever”

Dance is the response to your site’s call. So much of hip hop is/was call and response. [pdf]

Observing or participating in the dance that results from the right combination of DJing and MCing is essential to the hip hop experience.

I remember my first Roots concert vividly.

Common opened for them and he danced the entire time. By himself, in one spot on the stage, he rhymed and sweated.

And we sweated with him. We felt him. We were, to borrow a tired word, fully engaged.

He was giving everything to us and we gave it right back. He got our attention. We expressed our desires, communicating them through dance. Call. Response.

How often do we do that, with our words, our blog posts, any of our content. How often do you pour your soul into it, results be damned?

People who have customers that are fiercely loyal? The brands they claim to LOVE? They do it constantly. Someone in the company said, “let’s risk embarrassment with our passion.”

And it paid off.

You’re only as strong as you are to your community.

“Weak ideas irritate my ears…”

Image courtesy of A Syn


Not everyone sees graffiti as art.

And admittedly, sometimes it’s put up by people who don’t understand or agree with the concept, in places that deface a neighborhood, as opposed to beautifying areas the city neglects or doesn’t have the money to improve.

Your mark on the rest of the web delivers an encoded message those most interested will respect if you do it right. That’s your graffiti.

But will it be art or further defacement of the decaying back alley of the web?

Not everyone thinks of content marketing and social media as art.

Okay, MOST people don’t.

In fact, some people think bad content marketing is great SEO, so what’s the difference? What they don’t know is that there’s a smart way to achieve both the goals of SEO and content marketing.

And if you’re thinking of content marketing as just another way to recycle a message you can’t admit to yourself that no one cares about in the first place? If you’re hiring a $3 an hour “content repurposer” instead of a $100 a post writer? Maybe it’s not.

If you spend most of your content talking about why you’re so great instead of what your customers want from you? Maybe it’s not.

Maybe you’re getting what you paid for if you don’t leverage the best writers, content creators and tools you can afford.

(Even if they’re the only two people in the company and you’re only paid on the returns, it’s better to make one incredible contribution a week than crap 10 times a day. Trust.)

Not that great content solves all problems. You still have to get in front of your overwhelmed consumer in a way that doesn’t piss them off- they already can’t get to everything they’d like to consume.

So maybe you don’t think of content marketing in terms of artistic expression – or at least in terms of pleasing your soon-to-be buyer into a delirious pool of willingness-to-spend?

But what if you did?

What if your goal was to beautify the web for your future clients and customers? Would they appreciate that more than a clumsy attempt to sell to them or create search engine bait?

This beautification needn’t be merely aesthetic. You can beautify with ideas, language, clarity, depth, visuals, video, anything.

Where? Everywhere that you’re not at home.

Find your people on Twitter.

Seek them out in Facebook groups.

Delve into the C suite on LinkedIn.

Be a little slicker on Slideshare. Pin it like you mean it.

Use YouTube to drive your fans to your home base.

Even Instagram can be a great resource if you can catch up to the suggested posting rhythm.

And of course don’t forget that blogging is the beating heart of this new media.

Ignore the death knell about Google Plus and dig your heels in – after all Google+ is the one place online where you can take any connections you make with you, completely free of charge until the day they close.

(I wrote a cheap guide about how. Don’t want to further digress.)

The visual and non-visual way you make your mark on the web to draw your visitors from the rest of the web world to your home.

Don’t stop with social though. Be in the news – screw that- OWN the news. Be everywhere, all the time. Get in the Google Alerts your competitor doesn’t even realize that everyone sets up. Appear on the map. Get mobile. Be local even if you’re virtual.

Keep doing it offline. Network. I don’t go to a conference unless I expect the time spent there to generate me a new paycheck— even when I’m paid to go.

Turn everything into an event- online or off. That gives you a whole new layer of marketing to do, of resources to (ethically and not like a damn spammer please!) exploit.

“With knowledge of self, there’s nothing I can’t solve.”

Knowledge is both the beginning and the end. Study. Research. Analyze. Ask, Repeat.

I’m not saying follow all advice or every guru. Find someone and something that vibes with you, that rings true for your company and your situation. Dance with that partner until they step on your Air Jordans.

Figure out what the top resources are for learning what you need to know. Test everything. Don’t believe anyone at face value, not even me. Believe in your results yielded from the advice you took.

Then go get more of that.

Next post, I’ll outline what the top 12 areas of free digital marketing we’ll be using to lay a foundation for the paid exposure we can follow it up with- and where you should start even if you’ve been down this road 100 times.

More resources to help you move the crowd

Kissmetrics: Speed Is A Killer – Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Drastically Increase Conversions

Gtmetrix speed test: After you take the test, even if your site is doing well, download the free PDF report. Sign up for a free account to track over time. There’s also a special article about WP optimization tips. I used it to get my redesigned site down to 2.2 seconds from 9.1.

Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool– free and straight from the horse’s mouth.

Soulati has some tips for beginning bloggers.

Gini at Spin Sucks has more to say about content distribution.

If you want to have fans crazier for you than an iPhone owner on new phone day, Sarah Robinson is the person you read about, listen to and talk with- tell her I sent you.

Digital Marketing, free puppies and knowing the ledge
Free Traffic may be the ghetto of marketing but is it dead?

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