I've tried to
like Michael Jackson many times.
I tried it with my parents sitting in front of the TV. I tried it with classmates
dancing at college parties. Yet I never learned how to slide my feet as effortlessly as the King of Pop.
Like his music or not, you had to respect Michael Jackson -- as a content producer and a marketer. He sold over 750 million albums, including Thriller which was 28 times platinum and the largest-selling album ever.
Why was he so special? And what can we learn from him? I'd start with three things:
He Was Remarkable
Michael Jackson was the epitome of
remarkable. He was remarkable in his music making, dance moves, spontaneity and
When you produce something new, quirky and valuable, the world
appreciates it. You don’t have to paint your face white and do the Thriller dance
by a foggy graveyard to get noticed. You do have to be creative and
experimental -- whether it's on the world tour for your new album, or in the first post on your new business blog.
He Was Controversial
Stirring controversy was always central to Michael Jackson’s
The New York Times
described the singer as "
forever a paradox
." And the
public seemed to love this element of controversy about him.
This is a lesson for anybody trying to attract attention. Audiences are drawn to thought leaders questioning
widespread trends, asking sensitive questions and looking for deeper explanations. Michael Jackson did this with his music and his videos; you can do it with content on your business' web site.
Michael Jackson thrived in an age of mass media. Today, mass media is dissolving, but the exceptionalism, controversy and leadership that helped Jackson thrive are just as important to the individuals and small businesses who now create the media.