No Shoes Radio screenshotA couple weeks ago, I was having “one of those days” … you know, those days where nothing’s going right and you’re in a crummy mood and you can’t seem to shake it. Out of the blue, a friend of mine sent me a tweet that said something like, “Hey, @damnredhead, check it out: No Shoes Radio! Come join me!” followed by a link.
Curious (and knowing she’s too smart to have been hacked), I clicked and found myself suddenly in a much better mood. I wasn’t in Margaritaville, but I was close — I found myself in the neighboring world of country singer Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Radio, an online radio station of feel-good music that spans everywhere from Simon & Garfunkel to Coldplay to the Pixies to yes, Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffet.
I could have just said “thanks” to my friend and stopped there, but being of the marketing mind something immediately stood out to me — No Shoes Radio is one fine piece of content marketing.
For some reason, it seems like people are just now waking up to the fact that gee, content is kind of important in marketing. In fact, as Will Davis points out in this excellent piece featured on Social Media Today, when many companies say they want to “do social media” they really mean content marketing  — they just don’t know it yet.
Is “content marketing” a new buzzword? I sure hope not, because it’s certainly not a new concept. Or, as as Ian Laurie says so eloquently in this awesome post,

‘Content’ has been important since your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great ancestor clubbed a close relative and explained themselves by saying ‘ook’. And content drives internet marketing. It always has. Saying it’s revolutionary is like taking a deep breath and declaring “OH MY GOD I’VE DISCOVERED AIR.”

So, what makes No Shoes Radio so special? What makes it great content marketing? Here area few reasons:

It provides a service.

I was in a crummy mood, and the music made me feel better. Not only that, it was great to have on in the background as I worked. It played familiar songs I could sing along to like Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” as well as some newer songs I wasn’t as familiar with. It made my day a lot more pleasant by discovering it.

It’s branded, but it’s not overt or intrusive.

Yes, it’s to promote Kenny Chesney’s upcoming recently kicked off “Going Coastal” tour, and yes, it’s co-branded by his tour’s sponsors. But you wouldn’t know it right away. Sure, there are some audio clips of Kenny goofing off and doing interviews about the upcoming tour, but it’s much less in-your-face than say, any of the commercials you’re usually made to watch before viewing a video online.
On the right side is a panel that, if you’re curious, will slide out when you mouse over it, and offers some promotions to win concert tickets and other things from his sponsors, but everything is optional and it’s rather subtle. If you want to sign up at the top of the site, you can, and every time you sign in gives you a chance to win something, but again … it’s far from shoved down the user’s throat.

It’s not writing.

There’s a widely-held misconception that when people hear “content” or “content marketing,” they think blog posts and whitepapers. While yes, those are considered content, the truth is content is anything that can be consumed.

All bases are covered, and it’s fun!

Of course, there’s a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a store, news, a Firefox add-on (more of a skin), and yes, iPhone users, there’s an app for that. Every day there’s a different background picture, but everything about No Shoes Radio stays consistent with Kenny Chesney‘s fun, laid back brand.
So there ya have it … a great example of content marketing, by none other than a country music singer. Check out No Shoes Radio and let me know what you think in the comments. If you’ve got any other great examples of content marketing that’s not the usual, run-of-the-mill stuff, I’d love to hear about them.
Oh, I almost forgot — for the uninitiated, No Shoes Radio is named after his song/philosophy “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.” See the video below.

Hat tip to Nichole Brown for bringing NSR to my attention.