5 Content Marketing Lessons From Ziggy Stardust

When David Robert Jones created David Bowie he mapped an influential and ever-changing career. Sadly Bowe is gone, but his influence lives on. Since we live in authority and influential times team Curagami thought about 5 content marketing lessons Bowie, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars could teach those willing to think and act differently.

Bowie Hunky Dory image

Content Marketing Lesson #1: Be A Chameleon

Bowie developed 12 musical personas including Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Bowie’s look and feel changed with each character and characterization. If there was a better reader of his audience and cultural zeitgeist than Bowie we don’t know who it is. Content marketers need to read their audience and our culture too.

Bowie’s courage was amazing too. Broad acceptance = death Bowie knew. The moment Bowie’s audience caught up and loved a character such as Ziggy Stardust he was sure to move on assigning his last creation to rock ‘n roll suicide. Knowing when to leave a working campaign, content or riff is the difference between content marketing pros and everyone else.

Content marketing pros understand tone, subject and visuals are changeable tools. Nothing is written in stone except Bowie’s “evolve or be left” message. Make sure your content marketing is a chameleon, changing frequently and before your audience gets bored and clicks away.

Bowie Clown Image

Content Marketing Lesson #2: Collaborate

Bowie collaborated with Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, and Cher to name a few. He experimented with management and producers working and creating 12 albums with American producer Tony Visconti.  Small to Medium Sized Businesses need to create a “Santa’s Workshop” of talent to win in online commerce today including:

  • Coders and CSS expertise
  • Content writers and visual designers
  • Mobile app creators
  • Videographers
  • Merchandisers
  • Brand and product developers
  • Creation of content and products consumers want to join (so marketing talent)
  • Developing Key Performance Indictors to track success (so accounting talent)
  • etc….

Even the largest companies can’t afford world-class talent in every online marketing requirement these days. Even if you are lucky enough to have a huge in-house web development team great talent is hard to keep. Collaboration, providing a sense of power and autonomy to your collaborators, team and audience are a CSF (Critical Success Factor) as Bowie learned and every content marketer should steal.

Bowie Sane image

Content Marketing Lesson #3: Courage & Vulnerability

Nothing is free online anymore. To win, you must risk. Risking means your marketing, brand and business are and will be vulnerable. Authenticity requires sharing. Sharing requires being vulnerable or shares are inauthentic lies. Never lie online. Lies quickly become amplified and transmitted around the world.

Sometimes your truth will be interpreted as lies. When your online communication is misinterpreted don’t struggle to correct the tide surf it instead. Wrestling a pig to the ground doesn’t provide victory. You are in the mud with a pig. Don’t wrestle. Better to listen, understand and do better next time. No one “wins” arguments online.

Sharing and being stung by audience misinterpretation is a given. Continuing to learn, write, communicate and experiment is key. Bowie’s popularity waxed and waned as will your website’s, brands’ and products’. Keep moving, changing and working even when no one appears to be listening and, like Bowie, your influence and authority will spread, be appreciated again and rewarded. Bowie’s last album released days before his death charted in the US.

Creating even when odds feel against you and your team contributes to the big turnaround. When love, attention, and rewards are plentiful content marketers often forget hard times. Humans tend to think NOW is the only time. If our now is DOWN life was always down. When NOW turns UP we think life was always and will always be UP. Not so much actually (lol).

Life and content marketing is UP and DOWN. We appreciate the one because of the other. Keeping the faith, continuing to create even when no one seems to be listening and believing in your core values is why some succeed and others end up selling insurance. Never give up.

Bowie Genie image

Content Marketing Lesson #4: Start With Why

Bowie created his art based on ideas such as:

  • Express personal pain & experience (in the personal lies the universal)
  • Speak to the universal (tap cultural zeitgeist)
  • Listen to the waves of acceptance or rejection my personas and music create
  • Give my audience what they want AND evolve so they want the next thing too
  • Listen to and allow others to influence my creations, process and music

These ideas formed Bowie’s why. What is your brand’s why? If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why you should. Bowie started with his WHY and you should start with yours. Every content marketer and online brand developer should realize what sets their brand and online communication apart. . Start with WHY.

Bowie Ziggy image

Content Marketing Lesson #5: Love Yourself

The web is a huge amplifying lie detector. Lies reverberate with a frequency so strong they transmit quickly and can be all but impossible to set straight. Curagami preaches the need to develop online community  to support your content marketing. You, your marketing team, company and brand need to love those who love you.

Loving others always start with loving yourself.  Seek perfection and you lose. Share vulnerable ideas that your C-level thinks were miserable failures and you are doing your job. If your  C-level fires you for trying, creating and experimenting you didn’t want that job anyway (lol). Act out of love and your audience knows it. Act out of greed, malice or description and they will know that too.

Could Bowie be BOWIE without loving himself and his ability to create? No way, courage takes acceptance even when you fail. Get up, fail again, listen to the ripples your content marketing created as Bowie did and you will succeed. Know and love who you are and what your company, brand, and online communication create and your content marketing life will be good, strong, and as rewarded as Bowie’s musical and acting life was.

What is your favorite Bowie album or Song? Why? Share in comments or email martin(at)Curagami.com.