Early last month, as the now former (😩) President Barack Obama was to saying goodbye to the White House, he allegedly quipped to the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, “I’m still waiting for my job at Spotify… Cuz’ I know y’all loved my playlist [sic].” It’s true that during his tenure Obama (via his White House staff, who are still – in my opinion – some of the best social media strategists in the business) published several Spotify playlists. This comment – though admittedly somewhat unsubstantiated and said with that familiar Barack Obama smirk we have all come to know and love – was shared widely on social media, eventually catching the attention of several of Spotify’s higher-ups including CMO Seth Farbman:
— Seth William Farbman (@sethfarbman) January 6, 2017
A few days later – hidden among Spotify’s numerous listings – was a job description with an unconventional name and impossible list of requirements. The job was for Spotify’s “President of Playlists” and was clear by reading on further that they really only had one candidate in mind: Barack Obama himself. This “job listing” went viral, eventually seeing coverage from the BBC, Billboard, Mashable and beyond, prompted by the initial tweet from Spotify’s founder, Daniel Ek.
— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) January 9, 2017
Unfortunately the listing has since been taken down (here’s hoping they filled the position ), but thanks to the ever so handy Wayback Machine Internet Archive I managed to find it again. You can read it here or in the screenshot below.
“…and a Nobel Peace Prize.”
Brilliantly written and with a sense of humour that rivals even Obama’s, this “job description” is so much more than what it was packaged as. Though housed under Spotify’s job listings and written in the style you would expect, in reality it is an incredibly timely, strategically planned and highly effective piece of content. Yes, content.
We say it a lot these days: content is king. But constantly creating fresh, innovative and entertaining content can be seriously challenging. This piece from Spotify is a perfect example of how to go beyond the expected and really make a splash with your content. Here’s how you can do it too:
Defy Typical Mediums
Don’t limit yourself to traditional mediums. This piece proves that content doesn’t always have to live as a blog, podcast, video or a post on social media. Think of unconventional places where content can live and it will open you up to a whole new world of opportunity and creativity. Furthermore it will truly delight your audience to find content where they least expect it. Spotify could have easily chosen to write up a fun “job description” and post it to their blog, but housing it on among their listings for Full Stack Developers and Data Scientists is a huge contributor to virality of this content. While clearly tongue-in-cheek, the content has an added level of “truthiness” and seems to say “we’re joking… but also not really.” Because who wouldn’t want to work with Obama? Exactly.
Always Be Listening
This is crucial. We say it all the time to our clients, and we don’t just say it because it’s important to have your ear to the ground on social. Listening to your audience, making note of the things they’re entertained by, and hearing what people are saying about your brand is one of the best ways to discover new concepts and ideas for content. This piece came to fruition because Spotify was listening to the conversation that was happening on social in relation to this story. Obama joked about working at Spotify after working as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Spotify could have just stopped there and taken it as a win, a subtle compliment to their brand, workplace culture and perhaps their groundbreaking parental leave policy, as Seth Farbman alluded to in his tweet. But no, they took it to the next level, answering Obama’s alleged call for a job offer while simultaneously celebrating a much-loved POTUS and his accomplishments, as much of the internet was at this time.
Timeliness is next to Godliness
With the speed a story can come and go in this information age, it’s incredibly important to be timely when producing and publishing content. A moment is fleeting, and for Spotify in this instance the golden moment was 3 days after the initial story about Obama’s comment. Admittedly not as fast as Oreo’s famous “Dunk in the Dark” tweet from the Superbowl four (four! man, I’m getting old…) years ago, but pretty quick for a more complex piece of writing. When unplanned content ideas come to the fore through active listening, be sure that your moment won’t have passed before you can publish your content. Work quickly and your brand will benefit from it.
Keep it Simple
Given that timeliness is key, try to keep it simple when producing content to help you own a moment. Don’t think about it too much and make sure it’s cheap, quick and dirty. Spotify’s President of Playlists JD likely took a conversation over email or Slack, maybe a team huddle, an hour of research and fact-checking and perhaps a generous hour to write. No graphics required. No video. Nothing but a writer or two, Google, an afternoon, and an idea. That’s not to say you can’t create video or graphics on the fly – you absolutely can – but the simplicity of this piece from Spotify is something to strive towards.
To sum up, although we now have to sadly live in a world without Obama leading the free world (don’t get me started on that other guy), at least we have some excellent content to consume and some stellar tips to help you make your own branded content even better. So, go forth and make 2017 a little brighter for all of us with awesome content to distract us from this new reality. Better yet? Drop us a line to learn how we can do it for you!