Weird Al Yankovic's album 'Mandatory Fun'? reached #1 on the Billboard Music Chart today. You read that right ' Weird Al Yankovic has a number 1 album. Is there a better example today of what the internet is capable of? He's had past Billboard hits, but his second most recent was 'Eat It'?, which reached #12 back in 1984'?¦30 years ago when the only video content distribution channel was MTV. So what led to this sudden Weird Al zeitgeist?
If you look beyond all of the word play, there are 5 digital content marketing strategies Weird Al is utilizing to drive his popularity:
#1) Video Content Drives Engagement
He has funny, short digestible video content that is easily sharable. Video content drives engagement, and most of his videos are between 2 and 3 minutes long, which is the perfect length when it comes to consuming or sharing online content. On Facebook, videos are shared 12x more than links and text posts combined.
While video production can be costly for brands, if planned appropriately, there can be economies in shooting evergreen content at the beginning of a content planning cycle, and supplementing with more real time content as needed. Or, you can take the cost effective approach Weird Al took with 'Word Crimes'? and use video animation to tell the story.
#2) Real Time Marketing and Content Curation
With content marketing, it's important to have an element that can be 'sense and respond'? to issues in real time to capitalize on trending topics (like this post), and the majority of Weird Al's content focuses on elements of what is trending in pop culture today, such as 'Foil'? set to Lordes' recent hit 'Royals'?. You could also argue that Weird Al was one of the first content curators back in the 80's, as he began taking popular songs, using the original content, and changing the lyrics to promote his own brand.
#3) Institutionalized Approach to Content
He has remained true to the Weird Al brand. He's never tried to be something that he's not ' he has stayed squarely in the music parody space and love him or hate him, he's always been weird. And Al. Content should be developed with an institutionalized approach ' whatever channel or format you're developing for, it needs to be both on brand and optimized for SEO to gain maximum impact.
#4) Social Integration
Weird Al has leveraged his owned social channels, as well as other popular community sites to promote #8videos8days, releasing a new parody video from 'Mandatory Fun'? each day. In addition to his own social channels, Weird Al has conducted an AMA on Reddit and used other popular sites like Funny or Die, College Humor, YouTube and even WSJ.com to exclusively distribute his content.
Judging by the number of views, with 3 videos over 10MM each today, his social integration and distribution strategy is clearly working. He gets ecommerce points as well for frequent posts with links from his social pages to iTunes and Amazon to download his music.
#5) Audience Targeting
It's pretty clear that Weird Al is targeting different groups creatively and through his channel distribution strategy outlined above. Take for example his hilarious take on Corporate America in 'Mission Statement'?. I'm pretty sure he just won Buzzword Bingo in perpetuity with his synergy on our industry lyrically.
Only a matter of time before this video takes over your LinkedIn news feed. Given the subject matter and launch via wsj.com, it's clear that Al was writing and promoting to a different audience than his broader comedic content. It's really important when developing content to keep your audience, as well as the value exchange in mind - why should they read, watch, share the content you're publishing and will that engagement help you achieve your marketing objectives?
When it comes to content marketing, to quote Weird Al, hopefully you can say 'We're Great!'? and 'You Suck!'? about your competition.