“Flood the Streets”: A Content Marketing Strategy
I am really trying to write more. I have been saying this for the past five to six years, really ever since graduating from law school and realizing my “adult life” was reality. Perhaps a recent Hip-Hop Evolution episode was the spark I needed. Although I truly believe great writers don’t need a spark or other form of external push. Great writers have discipline.
From Roald Dahl to Ernest Hemingway, the best writers typically close themselves off from the world and hone their craft. Any disruption to the routine is kind of like trying to run or jog after not having done so in a while. It feels awful at first. It feels like you might die. My insides in particular always threaten to explode when I start running all over again. This horrid sensation often occurs when trying to run immediately after waking up. The same feeling permeates my brain when I stare at a blank page after having taken a break from writing.
I need to flood the streets like 50 Cent. True artists feel compelled to express themselves regardless of the medium. 50 knew that the more he put out, the more likely it was he would strike gold. He changed the hip-hop mixtape game that had previously celebrated DJs, inserting the artist — or MC — as the frontman instead. One of his bootlegged mixtapes eventually made its way into the hands of Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg. The rest is history.
50’s direct marketing strategy capitalized on the law of averages. By flooding the streets and clubs with his mixtapes, he was bound to get noticed eventually given the quality of what he put out. I often see this debate in articles on writing — quality or quantity? Should I publish more or really focus on only a few pieces at a time in an attempt to achieve perfection. I am probably not the first to tell you that perfection is elusive, and rarely, if ever, achieved. I am also probably not the first to tell you that sometimes the most popular pieces are those you spent the least amount of time on.
So my advice — both to you and myself — is to flood the streets like 50 Cent. Whatever that means to you. People are thirsty for content and inspiration. Everyone is glued to their phones, and even more so during the pandemic. And while I strongly believe that long form writing, novels, and other magnum opuses like Anna Karenina will always have their place, I also am coming around to the idea that short form has its spot in the world of content.
You must enjoy it though. Even 50 Cent who may have viewed his craft in part as “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, had fun while he worked. You cannot create a mixtape discography like his and a targeted content marketing strategy centered on passing them out for free without having some passion for the craft.
“For me, there was no Plan B. I absolutely had to be a success in music. The only thing positive in my life was music.”
The famed Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, scolded Frida Kahlo (at least in the Salma Hayek movie) for painting solely for money. Rivera exclaimed that “painters paint because they feel compelled.” 50 Cent made numerous mixtapes because he felt the urge to flood the streets. When Columbia Records dropped him from its label after 50 was shot nine times, he did not let that deter him. The music industry turned its back on him, but he kept making music, sending out free material to the masses. Had Eminem and Dr. Dre not signed him, 50 probably could not have sustained his pace forever. The money and recognition eventually arrived, but it took him flooding the market with free content to get noticed. Hip-hop, like writing, painting or any art form, is not a get rich quick scheme. Anyone who tells you otherwise, especially the types hawking useless courses to teach you how, should be met with extreme caution and skepticism.
For me, flooding the streets with my writing is not about making money. I will keep whatever I make along the way though, trust me. Writing is more about unleashing the beast inside — the inner voice, fleeting muse, and evil temptress that demands written expression. This beast constantly commands — write. Something. Anything. Even if it is a goddamn grocery list.
Once the pen hits the page or the fingers touch the keyboard, I am free, like Dominic Toretto living his life ¼ mile at a time. Clicking publish for the world to see is like the final ascent to the top of a mountain. I am here, exposed to the crisp open air of the internet. The more I do it, the easier it gets. See you in the streets.
Originally published at https://polispandit.com on September 14, 2020.