What Dwayne Johnson Can Teach Us About B2B Content Marketing
We’re big fans of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson around here at PathFactory. There’s something to be said for a professional athlete turned Hollywood superstar who can manage to consistently come across as authentic, hard-working and completely unafraid to show his soft side or get a little goofy sometimes. Want to rock your next content marketing campaign, win new fans and generate a ‘fast and furious’ flow of qualified leads? Here are 7 lessons from Dwayne Johnson that we can all apply to our B2B content marketing.
1. Work Hard
Ok, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: The Rock, at least at the beginning, was not what you’d call a great actor. Have you seen Doom? If so, my condolences…. But you know what, raw talent only takes you so far. Hard work is required to reach the heights of any profession, content marketing included! So, if you’re just starting out developing your content strategy or are trying to find “your own voice” in your content, remember that everybody starts somewhere. Recently, I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that read “Beyoncé Wasn’t Built in a Day” and the same goes for The Rock. Those abs of his didn’t chisel themselves.
To get that famous physique, The Rock had to get up at oblivion o’clock to hit the gym, day in and day out. That commitment extends to the film set where Johnson is widely known for being one of the hardest working and most professional guys on the shoot. B2B content marketing is a long game – it takes time, commitment and consistency to develop great content to reach buyers where they live and turn them into fans of your company and product. There’s no way around it: You’ve got to put in the hours.
2. Be Authentic
More and more, marketers are realizing that B2B and B2C distinctions are being absorbed into H2H: human-to-human marketing. Likewise, the lines between personal brands and corporate brands are blurring. B2B buyers today are more likely to follow and trust individuals than brands, as demonstrated by the popularity of review sites. When we’re talking human-to-human, and trying to overcome a buyer’s innate distrust for brand-produced content, an authentic and genuine tone of voice is important. The Rock has cultivated an incredibly likeable and approachable public persona. Dwayne Johnson accidentally hit the guy in the photo below with his car, and it totally made the driver’s day. If that isn’t charm and charisma, I don’t know what is!
In B2B content marketing, your high-value offer or email slams into your buyer’s inbox when, let’s face it, he or she is probably busy, minding his/her own business and in no mood to be interrupted. I don’t think enough content marketers think this way: what have I done to earn my buyer’s attention? Is my content interesting and appealing enough to turn a fender bender into a photo op with a happy buyer?
3. Open Up
So, you want to establish yourself as an authority in your market, right? You want to be the go-to source for insight and expertise. A lot of companies think this means that they always have to come across as the “smartest guys in the room.” But you know what, buyers appreciate it when you open up and come clean about the challenges you’ve faced along the way and how you’ve worked to overcome them. The Rock earned major props with his existing fans, and gained new ones, when he opened up about his battles with depression.
Know-it-alls like to pretend that they’ve always had it all figured out, but candidly admitting to buyers that you were once in the same boat as they were, and this is how you bailed and rowed your way to solid ground, can go a long way in building trust with your audience. As buyers who are often searching for solutions to hard problems (if they were easy to solve, we wouldn’t need to purchase a solution, now would we?), we love to feel like we’re not alone and that someone understands our pain. As a marketer, don’t be afraid to share your own case studies about how you’ve overcome challenges and found creative fixes and workarounds for problems that your buyers can relate to.
4. Play Against Type/Dare to Do the Unexpected
From his many guest host appearances on Saturday Night Live to his role as a gay Samoan bodyguard named Elliott in 2005’s Be Cool, Johnson has always mixed more traditional “action hero” roles with performances that play against type, challenge his fans and keep his audience guessing. From action to comedy to family-friendly Disney movies, Johnson has proven time and time again that there’s more to the Rock than that rock-hard physique. That’s right, folks, say what you will about the man’s natural acting abilities, The Rock has range. As a content marketer, ask yourself if you’re taking enough risks with your content. It’s noisy out there with a ton of marketing messages competing for your buyer’s limited attention. Doing exactly what everyone else does won’t get you to the top of the mountain. Dare to be different and don’t be afraid to put the status quo in a headlock. Case in point: In a recent interview, Nikki Nixon of #FlipMyFunnel fame noted that no one expects a B2B company to be on Snapchat or Facebook Live – and that’s exactly why you might want to give it a try!
5. Find Your Franchise
The Rock is widely credited with rejuvenating the Fast and Furious action film franchise. (The eighth film in the popular series is due out later this year). The advantage of film franchises is that audiences know pretty much exactly what they’re going to get, and they look forward to the next instalment. They come to trust the series to deliver the kind of experience they’re looking for. As a content marketer, you can gain the trust of your audience by moving beyond producing one-off pieces of content and thinking in terms of series. Think about launching a multi-part blog series or a set of branded eBooks or guides that address different facets of your buyer’s business. No one piece of content leads to sale, and it takes time to build trust with an audience.
6. If You Can’t Be The Rock, Find Someone Like Him to Partner With
Influencer marketing is a great way to amplify your message and extend your reach. Seek out the luminaries and superstars in your particular industry, the thought leaders and speakers that your audience trusts and follows, and approach them to contribute a guest blog post, do an interview (print, video or podcast) or provide a quotation that you can use in your marketing. There’s a reason Under Armour recently announced a global partnership with The Rock. For one thing, the fitness and film superstar (@therock) has 50 times more followers on Instagram and 8.5 million more Twitter followers than the brand. As a content marketer, try to hitch yourself to a star to help get the word out beyond your own fan base.
7. Let’s Face It: Looks Don’t Hurt
You’ve worked hard to produce this amazing piece of content or campaign and now it’s almost time for its red carpet debut. Make sure it’s dressed for success! Don’t underestimate the value of great layout and design in making sure your content gets the eyeballs and engagement it deserves. The Rock “cleans up nice” as my mother used to say, and dang, he wears his clothes well! While creative and brand are often described as “arts and crafts,” they’re far from it. While substance comes first, then style, a great clean, visual, snackable design can make all the difference when it comes to making your content insanely approachable and appealing. You’ve slaved over that content asset. Don’t sabotage its success by cramming it into a cheap, ill-fitting, off-the-rack suit.
Summing Up – Just Bring It
As a B2B content marketer, can you “smell what The Rock is cooking?” Hard work, authenticity, openness and daring – these are all traits of superstar content marketers. If you want to “Layeth The Smackethdown” with your next B2B content campaign, let these lessons from the Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment be your inspiration and guide. Just like The Rock, you are in the attention business. If you can’t capture and hold your audience’s attention with your content, you’ll never turn them into fans (AKA customers). I’ll leave you with possibly the world’s most adorable photo of The Rock, and that’s saying something. You’re welcome!