“Listen to this article I got … ‘4 Surprising Storytelling Lessons Marketers Can Learn From The Howard Stern Show.’ First I look at this and I say, ‘My God, what a headline: 4 Surprising Storytelling Lessons Marketers Can Learn From The Howard Stern Show.’ I said, ‘Finally, a positive headline.’”
And that, my friends, is when I almost drove my car off the road.
I was making the one-mile drive from the grocery store to my home on Monday morning, preparing for the impending Snowpacalypse, when I heard Howard Stern – THE Howard Stern – read my blog post headline on air on SiriusXM (which has more than 25 million subscribers).
Howard continued: “And the people who are learning from me are the worst kind of people. Telemarketers!”
“Telemarketers?!” interjected cohost Robin Quivers. “I thought it was just marketers? … But what do they learn, really, I do want to know?”
As Howard and Robin talked it out, I fumbled for my phone, hoping to catch some of the interview on video. Howard continued to read, better understanding what the article was actually about.
Howard: “Actually, I was very complimented by this…”
He read the major points of the article aloud.
Robin: “I’m thinking to myself, do these really apply? And yes, so far they do.”
Howard: “Anyway, a woman named Emily wrote this. And she’s the owner of Cursive Content Marketing.”
Me: Keep breathing. Keep breathing.
Robin: “And what do they do?”
Howard: “She’s been content marketing since sixth grade, when she began a neighborhood newspaper to build her babysitting authority. Today, she helps brands drive business with smart content.”
And then, they were on to the next topic.
I sat in my car in my driveway in shock, my groceries forgotten in the trunk.
The article, 4 Surprising Storytelling Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Howard Stern, was written back in July 2013. And while it received minor attention, it was never one of our most popular blog posts.
Until I decided to share it again last week on Twitter. I tagged both @sternshow (The Howard Stern Show account) and @HowardStern himself. When I shared it, @sternshow retweeted it – and I believe that’s where it caught Howard’s attention. (And the attention of many others – the post went from #41 on our list to our #4 most popular post of all time, over the course of two days.)
But to have Howard read it live on air was unexpected and amazing. Especially because a one-minute live endorsement from Howard can cost a brand $10,000 (if this Reddit article is to be believed).
Now that I’ve reflected on it, there are some things that I believe any business can learn from this crazy, out-there experience. Not that the goal should be to get your business content read by Howard Stern. Instead, it shows that when you develop creative content, it can make an impact. Here’s what I took away:
The concept of influencer marketing – or, connecting with people who have influence over your target audience – is important. By building relationships with influencers, you not only gain access to their established audiences, but they also benefit from sharing your valuable content.
While Howard Stern isn’t a marketer, he is a communications trailblazer and someone I believed my audience could learn valuable storytelling lessons from. Howard has also cultivated a vast audience, and he is followed and revered by many in the media industry. Plus, he’s freakin’ entertaining. So there’s that.
As mentioned above, Howard is not the typical content marketing influencer – his brand has nothing to do with marketing. And that’s what made this blog post refreshing.
When trying to convey a message or lesson to your audience, think beyond your industry for examples or analogies that bring new, creative energy to a topic. Try applying something you’re personally passionate about to what could be considered a “boring” business issue. That’s what we did with the Howard article and many others:
Too often we are so eager to share our latest and greatest piece of content that we forget to capitalize on the value of past content. And as I mentioned, the Howard article was written 1.5 years ago!
Make sure repurposing evergreen content is part of your content marketing strategy. If you’re creating pieces that are not time sensitive, the “published” date should not matter to your audiences. Re-share that content often, or edit it to create a new piece. As we always say, quality over quantity – and quality doesn’t get old.
As online marketers and business owners, we’ve been scolded into believing that you cannot be overtly self-promotional if you want to engage your audiences. That you should be creating content for your customers, not just shouting your successes from the Facebook rooftops.
And that’s true … to a point. You don’t want to post press releases on LinkedIn all day. But when something crazy amazing happens to your business or your brand, go ahead and share it! I did, and it is astounding how many old contacts I reconnected with and new contacts I made in the past few days because of it.
So, there you have it – my first and most likely only connection with Mr. Howard Stern. But wow, it was a good one. The power of content, friends.
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