What in the world could a band known for its live shows, drug culture and merchandise have to do with successful content marketing today? Surprisingly, a lot, says Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com, as he shows how the Grateful Dead successfully mastered the use of content marketing to create their army of intensely loyal “Deadheads” in only four steps.
Even if you’re not a member of a psychedelic jam band, you too can use these steps to think about your business’ content marketing approach and how to best “give away something valuable in order to sell something related.” According to Clark and “the Dead,” there are four key steps to truly successful content marketing:

  1. The Thing: Yes, the Grateful Dead made money from records and merchandise, but what hooked their fans was the culture of the shows and the experience. To enhance this experience and give valuable content to the fans, the band allowed fans to record the shows, which in turn spread the word of their music and increased sales in tickets and merchandise.
  2. The Difference: Finding what differentiates you from competitors and knowing what makes your customers different is key to providing them with valuable and relevant content.
  3. The Goal: There should always be an overarching goal. It might be trying to create “a cultural shift the band and the fans participated in together” or something more closely tailored to your business, but keeping it in mind keeps your content on the right track.
  4. The Payoff: Industry influence from content marketing can expand a business tremendously in the future. Clark says it’s more important to focus on your particular niche and customer base than it is to cater to mass media, and that people who follow in your footsteps will increase your influence even more.