All week I’ll be previewing my Think Like a Rockstar session at #SMIATL on Saturday. If you would like to attend #SMIATL use code SMISPEAK to register for only $128!
In 2003, Sarah McLachlan was given $150,000 by her label, Arista, to create a music video for her new single, World on Fire. However, instead of creating that music video, Sarah promptly took all of that $150,000 (save $15), and donated it to 11 charitable organizations. Through Sarah’s generous donations, the lives of over one million people around the world were bettered and improved.
However, this presented a problem in that while Sarah had just helped one million people, she had also given away all of her music video budget! But she did still have $15 left, so she took those last few dollars and bought a video tape, then she got some friends to donate their time to create and produce a music video. What Sarah did was create a very basic and simple music video that outlined the typical expenses for creating a music video. For example, a Production Assistant might cost $200 a day, office phones cost $480 each, and the cost of hair and makeup would be $5,000 a day.
Sarah then detailed what that money was spent on instead of the normal expense. The $200 that would have normally covered the cost of a Production Assistant for a day, was instead spent on providing 1 term’s worth of schooling for 100 children in Ethiopia. The $480 that would have normally been spent on an office phone, instead equipped 10 schools in Afghanistan. That $5,000 for hair and makeup? It was spent on providing a year’s worth of schooling for 145 girls in Afghanistan.
Sarah created an amazing video that detailed how all of us can contribute just a little bit of money, and still make a huge impact on people that are less fortunate than ourselves. What made the video even more compelling was that Sarah not only showed us what the money was spent on, she also showed us the VERY PEOPLE that were helped. For example, at one point in the video we are introduced to a woman in Ghana that works 16 hours a day, 7 days a week to raise the $200 that’s needed to send her son to school each year. As part of Sarah’s $150,000 donation, this woman received a $1,000 grant that will cover her son’s schooling for the next 5 years, which also means that the mother won’t have to work as much, and can spend more time with her son.
When asked about why she structured the video the way she did, Sarah explained “I wanted a video that wasn’t about me and wasn’t preachy, but one that would help shine a light on the tragedy and turmoil in the world and also show the beauty and strength of the human spirit.”
And BTW, World on Fire also went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award.
If you are thinking about how to create compelling and engaging content via social media, you would do well to follow Sarah’s lead and focus on the ‘Bigger Idea’. Don’t try to promote your products and services directly, think about how your customers use your products, and what they are trying to accomplish. For example, if your company sells digital cameras, don’t create a blog devoted to your cameras, create a blog devoted to teaching your customers how to be better photographers. If you are a Realtor, don’t simply blog about your properties, blog about the beauty of the area where your properties are located. By focusing on the Bigger Idea behind your products, you’ll create content that’s far more valuable and engaging to your audience.
BTW here’s the amazing video for World on Fire:
Tomorrow, we’ll look at how Rockstars embrace their fans! If you want to attend my Think Like a Rockstar session at #SMIATL, it’s Saturday morning at 10:15 AM!