Tonight Maggie Rogers is playing in my hometown. The show is sold out.
I’m not going. I know many who are… and they are very excited. The name didn’t ring a bell, so I found myself exploring her music, her Twitter feed, her Wikipedia entry… which led to a video titled, Masterclass Pharrell Williams Maggie Rogers. This video has close to 1.5 million views. It is a viral video that brought Maggie on to the global stage. In the music business, one could say that this is the video that “broke her.” The video is from 2016. As I watched it, I remembered seeing it way back when. I did not make the connection between her and this video. As I continued to watch the video, I was overwhelmed with emotions. In this short ten minute video you – as a business professional – will capture the entire journey of trying to create a story that connects, watching a master of stories (Pharrell Williams) take it in for the first time, analyzing Pharrell’s non-verbal reaction to this music (or story) and then listening to Pharrell attempt to put into words why the story (or the music) works so well.
A few days back, I used that term, “pure magic” in talking about the environments that we work in (see: You Can Still Care – Even When You Don’t Have To Care). Today that same term applies to content marketing. Pure magic. Sure, trying to compare a beautiful song or a movie to a piece of corporate content might be a stretch for some, but it’s not for me (and it shouldn’t be for you). Take your content seriously. Make it move people. Make it move you. Make it count. It’s so easy to fall into corporate mumbo jumbo. It’s so easy to just create content the way that others do. The fact is, that I am doing EVERYTHING wrong when it comes to my own content. I write long content (people want short bursts, right?). I post it on a blog (a blog! How old can I be?). I post (almost) daily (that’s way too much!). I don’t make videos (everyone is making videos!). I don’t post on Instagram that much (Instagram is everything these days, right?). I suck at promoting myself (and when I do it, I feel gross and like a jerk). I don’t pimp (too much on social channels, like everyone else is). I don’t play the social media game of commenting, linking and sharing everything under this faux facade that everyone is my best friend (it actually makes my skin crawl when I see how fake nice people are). I don’t promote. BUT… I try to do what I consider to be the right thing. I try to explain to you what moves me, in the hopes that it moves you too. My role here is not to make myself famous. My role here (as I see it) is to make every waking day just wee bit better for you. There’s a lot of personal opinion in my work, but that opinion comes from close to thirty years of being in the trenches of media, marketing, technology and innovation. What I see often frustrates me (in terms of content marketing). It frustrates me, because I know it can be better, it can move people… and it should. I won’t just publish a book because “it’s time,” and I won’t just hit the publish button because that’s what everyone else is doing. Seth Godin kicked me in the pants. Your work is your art (as he often rightfully reminds us). I’m not going to make crap art (at least, I’ll try not to make it crap).
Where beauty and truth lies, so too does great content.
Watch this masterclass where Pharrell Williams meets NYU student Maggie Rogers. Two years later, and that one video led to a record deal, countless media features and this sold out tour. One video. One piece of content. BUT… that song took her a lifetime of experiences to write, perform and produce. Which, ultimately is the biggest lesson people creating content need to marinate on.