So tonight I decided to attend the Digital Hip-Hop panel which was the final panel of Social Media Week in NYC. I was up in Maryland but decided to rush back down to attend this panel because I really wanted to hear where some of the great minds and leaders in the Online Hip-Hop space feel about where we are and where we should be going. Unfortunately no one knows where Online Hip-Hop is going to go. And they only person on the panel that has the brand to move Hip-Hop Online into a new direction is AllHipHop’s Chuck Creekmer.
So this panel was very well attended but I wasn’t 100% sure what the goal and the focus of the panel was suppose to be about. While most of the panelist talked up their brands and some things coming up to on their site, none of the panelist really know what’s in store for the future of Online Hip-Hop and if they will be at the forefront of it.
So here’s who was on the panel:
Amanda Diva – Artist, TV Host, Online Personality
Chuck Creekmur – CEO & Co-Founder, AllHipHop.com
Corey “CL” Lewellyn – CEO & Co-Founder, Digiwaxx
Alan Rambam – President, MobileBehavior
DJ Vlad – DJ & CEO, VLADTV.com
Miss Info – Hot 97 Radio Personality, Blogger and Hip Hop Journalist
So most of the panelist owe their success to being in the hip-hop space and getting some good AllHipHop.com love. Since Chuck and the AHH crew where in the space long before anyone they really own most of the market share. Chuck admitted to being sucker punched by bloggers usurping the online Hip-Hop space. With the easy cost of a blog to get up and running vs the team that Allhiphop has built up over the years it’s easy to see how a small blog can come in a fill up some of the void. But the real burning question is “there enough ad dollars to spread the wealth around to Allhiphop.com (The CNN of Hip-Hop) and to a lot of smaller Hip-hop bloggers?”
And that seemed to be the big pink elephant in the room. Most of the people on the panel and I’m sure most of the people in the room wanted to know “HOW DO I MAKE MONEY OFF OF THIS?” And to many of us that’s the only question we really want to know. Myself included! I think about how to make GreasyGuide.com a money maker daily. We have a nice flow of traffic and loyal followers coming to the site. A ton of brands have hired me out to work on their social media campaigns but what I mainly see that is NONE of the major brands want to take a risk with the edginess of Hip-Hop. When I see new decks or marketing proposal from major brands I almost never see urban as apart of the target demographics.
But why is that? And the reason is that most of these sites need a REAL ad sales guy. Not one that going to go and get you a generic ad. Hip-Hop sites need urban ad sales guys and 1 designer that can go to a brand, talk to their about their demographics, and then work as a team to create ads that speak to their audience. The ads on most of the Hip-Hop sites I’ve seen do not do this at all. And this is where AllHipHop.com wins the game. This ad above is from Honda and it blends into the look and feel of AllHipHop.com. It speaks directly to the core reader and provides the perfect type of ad for the readers.
This ad on VLADTV.com does nothing for the site. Or is the VladTV.com viewer a middle aged white woman? I think not.
So where do we go from here:
1. Hip-Hop/urban sites really all need to fine their own unique voices.
2. Hip-Hop/urban sites need to really understand social media. Social Media marketing is about extending your brand, going to where your possible new readers are, and giving them the easiest access to view, share, and discuss your content.
3. MOBILE! Who will crack the mobile code…only time will tell. Allhiphop.com has mobile hip-hop on lock but they could do a ton more. Dynamic mobile sites, increased alerts, mobile freebies, mobile video, there are a ton of options that AllHipHop can look into to help build, activate, and monetize mobile.
4. All of these players have to realize that a lot of sites are not going to make it past 2009. Ad dollars are drying up and brands are going directly after their core audience. So to survive hip-hop and urban sites need to research, study, talk to, and fully define their audience. Once you do that you will know exactly who to pitch and talk to about your site.
5. Blogging is Hip-Hop. Rip, Remix, Share.