3 Things Will Smith Can Teach You About Content Marketing

05/19/2015 08:10 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2016

When you think of Will Smith, you either think of a guy rapping about the niceties of Miami, or on the silver screen blasting aliens. What you really should be thinking about is a guy that mastered content marketing. Here's why Will Smith is a content marketing expert:

1. He Knows His Strengths -- Will Smith has starred in several movies. Most of those movies are science fiction, action or family-friendly. A quick look at IMDB and you can see that Smith has no intention of steering away from these types of movies in the future either. Why would he? His movies are awesome (ok apart from Made In America and Ali. Those were his "Michael Jordan in baseball" moments). Smith also put out some albums and won a few Grammys, but feels his strength is in film.

There are tons of people, usually your competitors, in your industry jockeying to prove themselves as industry experts. There are probably 20-25 topics in your industry that you could speak to, but in the interest of time you need to pick your battles. This will help you get faster to actual business from your effort (since you're not focused on so many different things). For example, it's very hard for a lawyer to create, promote and prove their expertise in corporate, immigration, criminal, family and real estate law all at once (unless your Harvey Specter). If they can do that, and succeed, then sure lets award them the "Best Lawyer In America" championship belt. Chances are they can't, so it makes a lot of sense for them to focus their marketing efforts and cases they take in one or two of those disciplines.

2. He Knows His Audience -- Hey, do you want to know who my favorite writer is? If you answered "no", well too bad because I'm going to tell you anyway. If you answered "yes" to that then thanks grandma! (sarcasm intended). Bill Simmons wrote this amazing piece outlining Will Smith's box office numbers in 2012. Simmons proved that even Will Smith's worst-reviewed movies (think I Am Legend) still pulled in $585 million worldwide. You'd have to go back to 2001 (Ali) to find a movie that didn't pull in nine figures at the box office. A run that no Hollywood actor (yes, including Leonardo DiCaprio aka Luke from Growing Pains) has replicated. Clearly, Smith knows his audience and he only acts if conversions are involved. 9 figures worth of them.

Who are you trying to reach with your content? You're not going to put up strong engagement numbers if the target group is too small. Do what Smith did and look for patterns on what gets shared in your industry and out of it. What kind of stuff do you share? Think funny, polarizing and in a unique tone if your stumped. Louis CK, Glenn Beck and Jim Cramer are three great content marketers and voices in their own right. Love them or hate them, but you can't overlook them.

3. He's Persistent -- When he was a kid, Will Smith's dad (not Uncle Phil, but his real one) tore down a brick wall and asked Smith and his brother to rebuild it. It took them a year, but they rebuilt it. Here's Smith recalling the experience:

Let's be honest. Part of content marketing really sucks. It's a daily routine and usually something you have to make time for before or after work. The worst part is that the return on investment is elusive, unpredictable and, for most people, non-existent because most people quit too early. Don't set out to take over the world with one blog post. Instead, view each one of your content pieces as a brick. Create that content piece to the best of your ability and with a specific goal in mind. Then wash, rinse and repeat that process a few hundred times over and you'll have a massive wall of content on your topic that is impossible for anyone looking into your topic to miss. The content marketing premise is that thousands of people are already looking for information about things you specialize in every day. Instead of seeing your content wall (which may only have 3 bricks on it), they see someone else's that has more. Yes, quality work gets shared more, but quality isn't measurable to you. That's all in the eye of the beholder. Focus on building the habit first and the quality will come as you produce more. The bottom line is you need to start laying bricks.

Produce content on topics you're an expert in, make sure the audience is right and stick with it. Will Smith isn't only the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, he's also the king of content marketing.

Need more help? This playbook outlines how you can save time on creating content and how to get leads and sales out of your blog posts faster.