With over 40 million subscribers in more than 60 markets, Spotify knows a thing or two about marketing.
Now most content marketers don’t have massive catalogues of digital music to use as core content assets. However, looking at it from a content marketing perspective, many of us share similar goals with Spotify — to engage subscribers, drive consumption and create favorable conditions for loyal advocates.
As a Spotify fan and as a content marketer, I think there are things to learn from how this music service keeps us coming back. Afterall, in our business there’s always room to be inspired to think differently.
I think you’ll agree, you don't need Prince, The Beatles, Radiohead and millions of other artists to do content marketing like Spotify. Here are the 5 ideas to steal from Spotify—and make your own.
1. Frictionless Sharing
Spotify has mastered the art of the frictionless share. With one click, any song, playlist or artist can be shared. And the user interface for sharing is one of the best I've seen.
Think about your own experience. You're reading something great and decide to share it—only to be confronted by a crap user experience. Far too often sharing involves complex requests for permission to access various social profiles; garbled links; and an all-round clunky user experience. It causes friction that makes these engaged readers hit the close button and move on.
Steal this idea: Test the sharing functionality on your content assets. Make sure it works. Are there steps to make sharing easier for the user? Spotify includes the name of the artist/playlist in addition to a hashtag leaving plenty of room for comments. How could you pre-write text that serves the user? Is everything sharable?
2. Deliver Personalized Content
In 2015 Spotify introduced their Discover Weekly Playlist, describing it at launch:
Updated every Monday morning, Discover Weekly brings you two hours of custom-made music recommendations, tailored specifically to you and delivered as a unique Spotify playlist.
For the first time ever, we’re combining your personal taste in music with what similar fans are enjoying right now. This means every song in Discover Weekly is based both on your own listening as well as what others are playlisting and listening to around the songs you love – making your playlist completely unique and full of deep cuts and new discoveries.
It’s like having your best friend make you a personalised mixtape every single week.
As a fan, I never miss the chance to spin up my Discover Weekly playlist. This personalized content is a must-listen and part of my weekly routine.
Just last year, Spotify took personalized content a step further introducing Daily Mix, describing it this way:
You’ll get several truly unique mixes to choose from, based on the different styles of music you regularly play. Each one is loaded with artists you love, plus a sprinkling of new discoveries that fit the vibe too.
What’s more, it grows with you. As your music taste evolves, so do your Daily Mixes.
Steal This Idea: Personalize your content to deliver value to your customers. What might it be like for your brand to make something so remarkable that people looked forward to it and made it part of their routine?
3. Keep Content Relevant
Time of day, holidays, current events — Spotify has subscribers covered with relevant content.
When a user opens Spotify to browse, they are first served with contextually-relevant content. In the example below, you'll see that Spotify knows it’s after 4 pm on a Thursday and prompts me with relevant music for a commute home. When a user wakes up early on the weekend, Spotify suggests mellow music to enjoy over coffee. On Valentine's Day it is wall-to-wall love songs.
Steal This Idea: Use time of day, holidays and pop culture events to add revelance to your content (and value to the subscriber). How to get started? Create content around hashtags and memes. Dig into your analytics and plan communications for optimal days and times.
4. Repackage Content to Surprise and Delight
The best gift Spotify gave me over the holidays was the 2016 year in review. First, they delivered a collection of playlists covering the year in music. And that was nice. Next, Spotify delivered my very own personalized 2016 year in review list. I fell just a little bit more in love with Spotify when this arrived.
Steal This Idea: Repackage content and serve it up to your subscribers in new and different formats. Why not a quiz? People on Spotify love compilations and playlists. Bring this thinking to your content marketing. Your next newsletter could feature a compilation of blog posts provided as an e-book and a YouTube playlist of the best videos on a topic relevant to your subscribers. You don’t need the data and computing capabilities of Spotify to use existing assets to surprise and delight your customers. How might you make it happen?
5. Make What’s New Matter
On Christmas Eve 2015, The Beatles came to Spotify (and other streaming services). It was a big deal for music lovers and Spotify kicked off a full-on celebration of The Fab Four.
Three months later, Spotify revisited the news about The Beatles coming to their service with this infographic:
Steal This Idea: Make what's new matter. Do you have a feature or update to your product or service offering? A new channel or partner? Move beyond the announcement with content that resonates with your subscribers. Revisit the news and provide an update. Package in shareable, remarkable content assets.
Content marketing inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Spotify does engagement marketing with their subscribers in fascinating ways. Learn from what services like Spotify are doing. Don’t limit yourself to the ways your industry, vertical or company has done things in the past. Take inspiration where you find it and steal like an artist.