When you ask someone what drew them to work in content marketing, the last thing you would probably expect to hear is music.
But that’s exactly how Senior Social Media Strategist Walt Clark discovered the world of content marketing and launched a successful career in the industry.
After graduating from Tulane University with a degree in history and music, Walt began working to build a following as a musician. He realized that content marketing was the best way to spread the word, and he was immediately hooked.
“I found that marketing was increasingly important for getting decent music gigs, and I started acquiring additional skills, such as email marketing and social media management,” he explained. “Eventually my day jobs utilized some of those marketing skills and I worked my way up to where I am now.”
Although he’s a social media guru by day, Walt moonlights as a skilled piano player. Just check him out below playing keyboard with the Jamiroquai-inspired dance band PK and the Mighty Seven:
Whether it’s jamming out on the piano or creating stellar social strategies for our clients, Walt is a man of many incredible talents.
He’s got the social savvy
Walt started at Brafton in November 2015, and since then, he has worked his way up to his current role as a Senior Social Media Strategist.
“Social media requires that someone have not only the ability to produce content, such as postings and ads, but to also be able to analyze the results,” he said. “In addition, the social strategist role has a great deal of client interaction, as you are representing a brand online and therefore need to be closely aligned with how that brand wants to communicate.”
It doesn’t come without its challenges, however.
Content marketing is constantly changing, and this rings especially true for social media. Walt explained that many companies get frustrated with how fast the social landscape changes, as it’s usually faster than organizations are capable of moving. Because of this, many businesses regard social media as an afterthought, not putting time and resources into it.
But he said that brands need to stay on top of these frequent changes if they want to get the most out of their social media efforts.
“Just as a direct marketing strategy requires strategy and energy, the same is required to get value from social,” Walt explained.
Another method for social success that Walt recommended is for companies to connect more with followers on their social networks, rather than treating it as just another marketing or advertising platform.
Just as a direct marketing strategy requires strategy and energy, the same is required to get value from social.
“Social media is called that for a reason,” he said. “Brands need to be more conversational as opposed to broadcasting all the time. Things like Facebook Messenger ads and live video are helping brands to recognize the need to be able to react to things in real time.”
How about practices he sees clients requesting that are a big social red flag?
“Follower count is the most overrated statistic,” Walt explained.
“You can pay companies that will get you thousands of followers, but that won’t do you any good if they aren’t engaged at all. Looking at purely the follower count without taking into account engagement doesn’t help you because at the end of the day the number of followers you have won’t matter if none of them are buying anything from you.”
Content is crucial
When helping clients follow the right methods, Walt said it takes more than an understanding of social networks; they need to be able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing environment, and know how to dig deep into data for meaningful insight.
You can pay companies that will get you thousands of followers, but that won’t do you any good if they aren’t engaged at all.
“Being a digital native is helpful.” he said.
“An understanding of user experience behavior from a social perspective can be helpful to determine how users will interact with the content you are producing. For example, knowing if your audience likes to engage with video vs. white papers. The ability to perform analysis with data is also important in order to spot trends that can shape your strategy.”
With music as one of his biggest passions, content marketing is not only a way to spread the word and find opportunities, but it’s also a way in which musicians can develop valuable relationships with brands.
“Content in content marketing is the key,” he explained.
“Artists have a unique position to create things that speak to people. You are already seeing that with Sponsored Content where brands sponsor spots whether it be music festivals or online shows. The question for artists is how they get the foot in the door to be found by brands and likewise for brands, how do you identify the right art to sponsor to reach your target audience? It reminds me of how during the Renaissance you had the Medici family sponsoring some of the great works of the time. Likewise brands can help fuel art by commissioning works and vice versa.”
For Walt Clark, great content marketing is music to his ears.