Today, there are an estimated twelve hundred collegiate a cappella groups in the U.S. alone.
and in college I was a member of one of them, the University of Oregon’s coed a cappella group Mind the Gap.
Collegiate a cappella isn’t all rehearsals and parties. In order to sell tickets to your shows, raise money to record albums, and get gigs, you have to have a strategy to market your group.
When I started my career in content marketing, I found that a surprising amount of the skills I learned from being part of an a cappella group helped make me a better marketer.
While you certainly can’t learn everything from an a cappella group, collegiate a cappella has figured out a few marketing tricks out that can apply to anyone.
1: Video Is Your Friend
A cappella groups were trailblazers when it comes to video marketing. Just about every modern collegiate a cappella group has embraced video as a part of their marketing strategy, and some have had amazing results.
You don’t have to sing Lady Gaga to make a great video for your company (although if you do that please send it to me). Moz’s Whiteboard Friday videos are a great example of how a simple video can provide enormous value. The video series outperforms Moz’s other content by about 20-30%.
By 2017, 74 percent of all internet traffic will be video. Video content is the future of marketing, and now is the time to get it on this growing trend.
2: Be Unique
As someone who has been to a lot of a cappella shows, competitions, and festivals, every year there always seems to be that one song that every group decides to cover.
After hearing 15 different versions of David Guetta’s “Titanium”, they all start to sound pretty much the same. The same goes for content.
Don’t write something thats been written a hundred times before in the same ways it’s been written before. If you want your content to stand out you need to create something 10x, or content that is 10 times better than what everyone else is doing.
Part of what makes 10x content so great is its uniqueness. Finding a unique angle on a topic isn’t easy to do, but it is important if you want to stand out from the rest of the content out there on that topic.
3: Design Matters
Picking a logo, creating posters for auditions and concerts, designing T Shirts, album covers, and other swag, running an a cappella group involves making a surprising amount of design decisions.
Having a professional and attractive design can help your a cappella group get gigs, sell merchandise, and become more recognizable.
Design matters in your blog content too. Articles with images get 94% more total views, and 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are a corse aspect to how their brand’s story is communicated.
4: Put Yourself Out There
My a cappella group sang for free on campus every single Friday during the school year (and they still do, go check them out!). It was not only a great opportunity to work on our skills, it also allowed us to expose our music to people who might not have sought it out on their own.
If you want people to read your content, you can’t expect them to randomly stumble upon it and decide to share it. You need to put yourself out there and reach out the influencers who can help your audience grow.
Influencer outreach can increase your content conversions 3-10 times, so go ahead! Reach out to that influencer you’ve always wanted to talk to and start building a relationship. Who knows, they might become your biggest fan.
5: Be Social
Social media and collegiate a cappella go together like peanut butter and jelly. College students love visual communication like Instagram and Snapchat, and a cappella groups love showing off their musical skills.
If you haven’t embraced social media as a way to distribute your content yet, it’s time to start. In the U.S., 70% of people have at least one social networking profile. That is a huge potential audience for your content, if you can figure out how to reach them.
While social media is important, it is useless without a strategy. While Instagram and Snapchat are great for a cappella groups, your content might be better suited for another platform. Figure out your conversion goal is and how you are going to use your content to complete it,
6: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Let’s be honest, collegiate a cappella is not exactly a “cool” activity. Dressing in matching outfits, going out in public and singing nonsensical phrases like “dm-dm-cha” and “sha-sha-ooh” is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t do much for your social status.
Pentatonix and Pitch Perfect have done a lot to make a cappella a little more appreciated by the masses, but it is still at its best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you’re having fun, other people will have fun engaging with you.
You should also have fun when you’re pitching your content to someone. Using that old template you stole from a three year old blog post is probably not going to get you very far. Personalized emails on the other hand, are hard to ignore.
Show your personality and try to make a genuine connection with whoever you’re pitching, even if it means saying something silly. Make yourself someone they will want to engage with.
7: Puns Are (Almost) Always a Good Idea
No one knows how to do puns like a collegiate a capella group. Just look at some of the names of the groups that competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella this year. Fermata Nowhere, One Note Stand, Accafellas, who doesn’t love a good music pun?
Using humor in your marketing can have great results, if done with care. If you are not a naturally funny person, don’t force it by trying to write in a way that doesn’t feel like you. You can find other ways to inject humor into your content like a well placed meme or gif.
Humor isn’t just a great way to make your audience laugh, it can also help them remember your content. Humor produces psychological and physiological benefits that lead to learning. So what are you waiting for? Make em laugh!
Don’t Let Your Content Fall Flat
You don’t have to be able to carry a tune to make your content marketing sing. By taking few queues from collegiate a cappella, your content can become pitch perfect.
Are you an a cappella singing content marketer? Let me know in the comments what else you think content marketers can learn from a cappella!