Reintroducing Hov — Boosting book sales on the strength and success of JAY-Z’s 4:44 marketing

JAY-Z issued a World Stop commandment when he dropped 4:44 at midnight on Friday, June 30, 2017. I Heart Radio played the album in its entirety for 24 hours. Tidal customers set it on repeat after the first play though. Non-Sprint customers kicked, cussed, and fussed hunting for ways to rip it from anywhere (Even Snoop admitted to pirating the album). Heads nodded, social media blazed, and wordsmiths and thought leaders alike dissected each track verse by verse.

Having killed Jay Z in the opening track, the new JAY-Z seems to have taken an introspective look at his personal life, music career, and business ventures; deciding the old Jay had to die for the older, wiser, husband, father, son, businessman to live. In less than 40 minutes, 4:44 emerged as the evolution and reintroduction of JAY-Z: A merger of the business savvy industry veteran Sean Carter with the hustler laced with street knowledge, Hov.

The Sean Carter story has been told and retold in numerous iterations for almost a decade. A quick Amazon search finds well over 1,600 books about Jay Z in stock; both directly about the man, as well as a prominent feature of the book. The marketing machine behind the release of 4:44 created the perfect storm for these authors to leverage his marketing and launch a promotional campaign for their book. With a bit of strategy and finesse, taking advantage of 4:44’s organic traffic would have amplified the campaign’s reach, in turn, increasing book sales.

Empire State of Mind, the mogul’s unauthorized biography, details Jay’s early life, musical career and business accomplishments. Author and Forbes writer, Zack O’Malley Greenberg, published a number of articles on release day, highlighting some of the album’s lyrical wisdom in life and love.

See Master Class on the Art of the Apology

Zack strategically positioned himself to ride the TIDAL wave by doing three things:

  1. Publishing a series of articles relevant to the album and the content of his book
  2. Updating the closing bio of his articles to include a direct call to action to buy the book
  3. Posting strategically devised and timed content and posts on social media about JAY Z

S/N: If I’d had my way, we’d have seen a re-release of the audiobook; the original voice leaves a bit to be desired, in my opinion. A book about JAY Z deserves a voice that can deliver a bit of grit without compromising the professional tone. Michael Rapport and Regina King immediately come to mind.

Looking at a few other books:

Billionaire Branding features Jay Z as one of hip hop’s cash kings building a brand to billionaire status. At the moment, the race to billionaire is neck and neck between the three moguls featured: Jay Z, Dr Dre, and Diddy.

4:44 is draped in business and brand building gems from beginning to end. An article or podcast from the author discussing the release and how it fits into the overall JAY-Z brand, and what impact it could have on his businesses. Incorporating a few lyrics would position the article to take advantage of the SEO boost of fans aching to consume any content they can find about the artist.

They Sold Their Souls to the Devil: Jay Z and Beyoncé’s author was presented a lyrical gift where Jay references “the spiritual shit really work”. Those of the belief that the Carter’s are of the Illuminati likely would have quickly jumped to any content: blog post, podcast interview, or live video placed in front of them that feeds into that line of thinking.

Jay-Z Quiz Book — 50 Fun & Fact Filled Questions About Shawn Jay-Z Carter looks to be a fun way to test your knowledge of the Songwriting Hall of Famer. An online quiz, a word search, or even a meme or two would have served as a fun, interactive way to reengage readers and get a few new eyeballs in the book’s direction as well.

“Memories may sneak down my cheek/But I could see a side-eye in my sleep” — Name That Movie Reference

“I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo” — What borough is Dumbo in?

It’s No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal, was handed a golden opportunity to saunter back into the limelight and capitalize on the hottest subject matter of the album. 4:44 is creatively one of the grandest public confessions and apologies a husband has issued. In light of the emotionally charged Lemonade released by his wife last year, the braggadocious, cocky, mogul comes across as remorsefully humbled as he acknowledges and accepts the consequences of his transgressions. It’s No Secret boasts the “clandestine relationship” between Carmen Bryan and Jay Z. Whether the timelines of the relationships with each woman overlap or not, content as simple as a mere meme of any number of lyrical gems with a link to the books would’ve snagged quite a bit of attention.

Honestly, I’m glad this one didn’t happen. I think Hov made it perfectly clear he’s trying his damnedest to be a better man. Let him alone Becky.

Tyrika Williams is a digital strategist to authors, writers, and other reluctant creatives. During the day, you’ll find her advising indie authors on building their brand and managing book launch promotions. At night, she’s heads down, headphones on, flitting about social media either soaking up knowledge and making new friends or grumpily shaking her imaginary cane at anyone fueling the stigma of invisible illnesses.

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