Making a connection between Internet Marketing and hip-hop artist Jay-Z seems highly unlikely, but bear with me for a moment. The one mistake that a lot of online entrepreneurs make is that they fail to treat their online work as a business and that often leads to their downfall. They enjoy the creative process, but when it comes to the business side, they haven’t a clue. And that’s where we can all learn a lot about Internet Marketing from Jay-Z.
The Internet Marketing arena is fast-paced and it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement. Setting up the next big campaign, learning the latest black hat traffic generation technique, it’s like the music industry. It’s a challenge and everyone wants to be a star.
Unlike a most stars in the music industry, Jay-Z was well into his 20s before he cut his first album. Twenty-six to be exact, and at that age he had some wisdom and maturity about him that enabled him to see some problems with the business side of the music industry. The marketing side.
Young performers were being shuttled through the system like cattle. If their records sold, fine, if not, they just brought in the next in line. No attempts were made to promote young talent unless their first records were a smashing success.
At that time, the Internet was exploding and we all remember what happened with Napster. Jay-Z predicted that the powers that be shortsighted when they shut Napster down, and he was right. Instead of working with Napster, and finding someone to use it to their business advantage, all they did was force users to find other ways to share music files and now it’s impossible to control.
Jay-Z started recording when he was 26 and, in his 40s now, he’s still a hip-hop superstar. He credits his success, in part, to his own maturity. By the time he started in the industry, he knew what he wanted and had the wisdom to know he was going to have to be committed to achieving his goal.
You see, the music industry operates much the same way Internet marketing does – it’s all about the next shiny new bauble. A young artist steps up with a hit single and suddenly everyone wants to promote him. A new marketing tip or product comes on the scene and suddenly everyone drops what they’ve been working on to check out the new shiny offer.
But Jay-Z has stayed on top of the game because he knows that, to be successful long term, you need to find your passion and use discipline to stay the course. Music, and Internet Marketing, are both heavily influenced by ‘the next big trend’ and people in both industries tend to make emotional decisions based on those trends. Jay-Z attributes much of his success to the fact that he makes the music he wants to make, rather than trying to emulate whatever 18-year old ‘shiny object’ the music executives are currently promoting.
Because he started at a later age than most, Jay-Z was also smart enough to know that he needed to do two things to be successful: He had to learn how to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and he had to learn to separate his music from his business. Two lessons that are important for Internet Marketers as well.
To compare Jay-Z’s business to Internet Marketing is easy. We talk about ‘content’ and he talks about ‘music’. And Jay-Z looks at his content the same way we do:
Instead of signing with a record company to handle his concert promotion, he signed with one of the largest concert promoters in the industry. They specialize in content promotion, they know how to find the audience and they know what the audience wants.
Instead of touring alone, he has 2 or 3 other performers join him so he can over-deliver on content. He wants his fans to feel like they’ve just witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime performance, because then they’ll come back for more.
When he’s on stage or in the recording studio he concentrates on the music. And he doesn’t think about the business while he’s making the music.
We really can learn about Internet Marketing from Jay-Z. His philosophy is the exact philosophy we should be using in our Internet business – when you’re creating content, you should concentrate on over-delivering killer content, give you readers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and leave the selling for later. Stop fixating on the next new shiny object and stay on target, stay true to yourself, if you want to achieve your goals.