4 Things Gotye Can Teach You About Savvy Content Marketing

Posted on August 16, 2012


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Gotye, better known to his parents as Wally De Backer, is the musician that released the ubiquitous song “Somebody That I Used to Know” in 2011. A search on YouTube for “Somebody That I Used to Know” will return over 26,000 copies, remixes, and covers of that song. Lots and lots and lots of covers.

So, to promote his tour dates, Gotye decided to create a social digital asset. Taking advantage of the massive amount of user generated content on the Interwebs, YouTube specifically, he created “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra.” This remixed reimagining of his original song quickly went viral with millions of views in the first few days. Not a bad way to kick off an upcoming tour.

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While you can’t predict when a digital asset might go viral or enjoy the same level of Gotye’s impressive popularity, there are several lessons all content creators can, and should, take away from his success that will help theirs.

Reusing Content Smartly

Gotye is also a remix artist like Girl Talk. So, he decided to bring the cottage industry of “Somebody” covers and his talents together to make something completely new. Just taking old content and republishing it is not reimagining it. You need to think about how you can present the content fully in a new format.

New formats have rules and conventions that you need to follow, or break them in a way that is intentional and self-aware. How are you going to make yours original? What will you do differently? Sometimes that is taking parts away or adding completely new elements. Sometimes both. Are there other ways to reuse this content strategically?
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Be Interesting (Cliche but true)

Now, this “Be Interesting” something that gets lots of air time, but very little in the way of hard examples that you can learn from. Here, Gotye knew fans like his music, and especially like that song.

Why do people look to you for information? Your “fans” don’t like you for talking about what you sell, but because of what you know. What problems do they have? What domain expertise can you tap to help them do their jobs better personally or help their companies on the enterprise level? Fans find content that make their life better very interesting and want to hear/see/experience more of it.

Give Readers Multiple Options To Go Deeper

The video has several pop ups to learn about the tour dates and has a call to action in the description, and you should too. While having multiple chance to learn about tour dates is good, you can be a little smarter than Gotye by making several different offers. Two bits at two different apples doubles your odds and costs nothing.

What other problems solving or educational content do you have that readers of your digital asset might really like? Make sure that you pepper your calls to action throughout your digital asset so they are clearly seen, but not so they are overpowering or obnoxious.

Keep It Relevant To Your Customer

His fans expect music from him. So, a digital asset about buying drywall specifically for basements in rainy regions from Gotye would be a spectacular flop. However, if that was what you were known for, it might be the perfect topic.

However, is what you are creating interesting just to you and your company, or to your customers? Give it the, “Would I read this on the plane?” test. When I’m confined on an airplane I see lots of people around me catching up on their work related reading. Out of everything they could be doing, they have selected a few items they felt worthy of their highly limited time.

If you are good at being honest, and most marketers are not, then be your own judge. I suggest that you bribe a few non-employees, who will be brutally honest, to act as your review counsel. Get their feed back on how it could be even more interesting, or if you need to start over.

I highly recommend that you watch (listen?) to that video right here. While I don’t like the original that much, I love this version.