There is a really good post on Content Marketing Institute (CMI) regarding power pathing. Power pathing seems to refer to orchestrating a website visitor’s experience to make every page a potential point of conversion. In doing that, your chances of new sales increase. Sounds pretty great, right?
In the CMI post, the author notes that there are many missed opportunities in pathing. There are probably a myriad of reasons why. Though the main reason is probably most do not know any better.
When it comes to considering your own power path, think of your fan funnel. How are you going from innocent bystander to converted, money-contributing fan?
Enter Content Marketing
Content marketing is the latest buzzword in the business communications world. If you are a musician, you may read this definition of content marketing and think, “man, that’s all I do!”
Well, some of you are telling the truth, if that’s the case. Most of you are lying to yourselves.
Let me highlight the key words in Joe Pulizzi’s definition:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Yes, many of you create and distribute content. Is it relevant though?
Sure, you create and distribute content for people to eventually buy your stuff. Is it targeted?
To use the content you make to market yourself, you need to make sure it is relevant to your target audience.
The question now is: what does this have to do with the fan funnel?
Content Marketing is Storytelling
This is redundant for content marketers or those who follow the practice of it. Many content marketers proudly declare themselves storytellers. They help people, businesses and causes tell stories.
Why? Simple: everyone has a unique story. Your story is what draws people to you.
As an artist, you are encouraged to connect with fans of artists similar to yourself. That is an easy tactic, but you will soon learn that people begin to close off to similar acts. Think of how the major labels produce copycat acts once a unique artist strikes hot. When the genre buzz dies, the original article is the only one sustaining success.
If you were to embrace your unique story, you can use it to attract those who can identify with it. That is why sad songs do so well; everyone can identify with them. The ones that really connect have truly universal qualities.
This is not to say produce a story that appeals to everyone. You should produce a story that is true to you. Then you create content that resonates with that story.
When you get your content together, you attach it to various levels of your funnel.
How to Use Content in Your Fan Funnel
An Eagle Scout who makes hip hop songs aimed to teach survival skills is our subject.
The Eagle Scout grew up in a suburb of a major city and has not witnessed much hardship. After graduating high school, he went into the military. After serving his country, he volunteered in disaster rescue efforts in Hurricane Katrina.
If a PR professional had access to this, they would use this to pitch press. The Eagle Scout cannot afford a publicist yet. He must make do on his own. How does he do it?
Imagine meteorologists predict we will witness the worst tornado season ever. Eagle Scout produces tracks instructing specific types of people how to prepare for the storm.
Now he could just release the songs as a project and hope people find it. That is how normal artists do it.
Or he can create a demonstrative video and share with on the American Red Cross Facebook page. He can transcribe the lyrics and turn it into a blog post. At the end of every piece of content, there is a link to his optimized web store where you can buy the track. He sets the minimum price for a track at $1, which $.25 is donated to the Red Cross. A person can contribute more, which every cent above that dollar goes to the Red Cross.
Now that’s one way to do it.
How about Eagle Scout gives a song away for free in exchange for an email? When you give him your email, you get an offer to get the other songs for free in exchange name and zip code. In Eagle Scout’s emails, his main message is that he wants to help. In every email, he asks “How can I help you? Is there a Boy Scout-y thing you would love to learn via song?” As he receives requests, he offers to produce them quicker if the person can get a group to pay for his production costs.
Notice the difference. Both will be effective, but one really dials into the audience.
In the CMI posts, they say a power path needs to have the following elements:
- See another asset that relates to the same buying stage
- Drill down for additional depth or detail
- Move from an educational asset to hear the promotional story of how you can help
As Eagle Scout creates new music, he shares significant stages of his life. He tells the stories of others who have avoided tragedies based on his music. It is not self-canonization. It is more documentary-style. His content helps people understand why he does what does.
At the end of all his content, he always encourages his readers, listeners and viewers to check out other material. It is always readily available. He does not make them work. Yes, his music is on all the major eCommerce sites, but he makes sure his website is the best place to get it.
This is how content marketing helps the fan funnel.
How could you use content to tell your story? How much more content – beyond music – could you create if you decided to tell your story? Let me know in the comments.