If you think about it most of the rappers that achieve any success are really great marketers. These people come from the mean city streets with no money and rudimentary education to become rich superstars. And they don’t even sing! It’s all spoken to a rhythm with rhyme. There’s a lot of marketing lessons we can learn from the average rapper.
1. Be Self-confident and Re-assured Even when You Shouldn’t Be
Rap is built on braggadocio. Why do people listen to it? Because it gives them confidence and makes them feel good. If you’re around confident and re-assured people it rubs off. Just imagine a club bumping hot track with someone rapping about their insecurities on the verge of tears. It might satisfy a niche but I can guarantee you people wont be having a good time or getting into the music.
When you speak, do you speak with authority? You don’t have to be a guru with achievements galore. Just focus on the positive and put it in a favorable light. Just don’t lie.
2. Flaunt Your Belongings and Achievements (even if they aren’t yours)
We always see these rappers in music videos with ridiculous jewelry, fast cars, and super models. It doesn’t matter whether it’s their debut and they were living on the streets just months ago. They know that looking successful is sometimes just as important as being successful.
We’ve all seen websites or blogs with so so content but really excellent design. Or we know a consultant that’s still up and coming but knows how to present their achievements in the right light.
It reminds me of a struggling actor who went into debt to rent a Rolls Royce for a business meeting with a studio exec. He simply pointed out through the window at the car and said “I want a couple more of those” and he got it.
If you believe in yourself and your success, there’s no need to be shy about your potential.
3. Give Out Your Best Stuff for Free
Ever heard of mixtapes? These are bootleg copies or unofficial “samples” that are secretly sanctioned by artists and record companies. Mixtape DJs make a killing by creating these technically illegal compilations, which cost nearly nothing to make, and selling them to the streets.
Are artists and record companies hurt by this? No way! It helps build buzz and also sniff out weak tracks for the real album. Many struggling rappers built a reputation on mixtapes before hitting it big.
Some of the most successful people on the web also provide some of their best expertise for free in the form of blog articles or even free tools. Many programmers get a big break by making notable contributions to open source projects. Potential customers know exactly what they’re getting and it helps create word-of-mouth.
4. Collaborate with the Right People
No matter how popular, lots of rappers collaborate like crazy on their albums by trading guest appearances. It happens so much the average artist’s album looks more like a compilation album. They’re also real good at sniffing out the hottest producers to provide them with smoking tracks.
On the web there are so many ways to do this. In fact, we see lots of famous bloggers going into joint ventures to launch other blogs or popping up all over as guest bloggers. It introduces you to a new audience and exposes you to other talented people.
Knowing how to collaborate and who to collaborate with can be very rewarding.
5. Squabble with a Rival (but be careful who you mess with)
Quite a few rappers revitalized their careers through public feuds (beefs) with other rappers. It can give you that kick of energy to put an end to stagnation. Of course, some of them got shot and killed or got their careers ruined so you do need to be careful.
You do see this in the blogosphere a lot too. People get embroiled in a flame war, kiss and make up, and all is good after all the free publicity.
6. Be Everywhere You Should Be Seen
Being seen at the right places can do wonders for exposure whether it’s award shows, movie premieres, or exclusive parties. It also builds ties to others in the same line of work or opens up opportunities that didn’t exist.
For web professionals this can be industry conferences, specialized forums, or even a blog’s comment section. The important thing is to having a presence by contributing something.
7. Branch-out and Milk It
How many rappers have parlayed a successful album into movie appearances, clothing, their own label, perfumes, drinks, etc.? Too many to name.
Success in one area can open up avenues in other arenas very quick. There are a lot of bloggers that embarked on very successful consulting careers solely on the merit of their writing or even executive evangelist positions. You never know but once you succeed at something, it makes it easy to branch out and people are more willing to help you succeed.
At the end of the day all this is hard work and requires you to make the right judgement calls but there’s a lot you can learn from reformed street hustlers.