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Can Spoken Word Poetry go mainstream?


I’ve been asked this question by different people at different times in different formats. My answer has always been “YES.”
Then they ask me…

But I don’t think “how” is the right question. I think the right question is “Why.”

Why will Spoken Word Poetry go mainstream?
I will try my best to break it down.
Let’s go…

The possibility of the art form going mainstream is high. This can be narrowed down to two, or perhaps, three broad factors, these are:

√ Enablers
√ Business models
√ Business formular

Let’s start with the Enablers.
Basically, an enabler is a person or thing that makes something possible.
So what are the enablers that can make spoken word poetry go mainstream?
They are as follows:

1. Audience: they are growing by the day into thousands. But they can become millions in a short while with enough awareness.

2. Platforms: these is further broken into three, as follows:
a. Content/ performance
b. Training
c. Media/ Distribution – new media and traditional media.

3. Product(s): this is usually derived from platforms. The number of products will grow as the platforms get bigger.

4. High value contacts: again, we can further divide this into two:
a. Investors looking for returns.
b. Organizations looking for a solution (that spoken word poetry can solve).

Next is Business Model.
This is a representation of different ways of adding value to goods and services.
It is the multiple possibilities to generate value and revenue.

There are various forms of Business models. I’ll mention the few that comes to mind and existing examples.
a. Marketplace e.g. eBay
b. Subscription model e.g. Netflix, Spotify
c. On-demand model e.g. Uber
d. Sharing economy e.g. Air BnB
e. User generated content e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Nairaland
f. Freemium e.g. LinkedIn.

From the above Business models, the major one poets currently adopt is Freemium. This involves giving out content for free in the hope that it will connect with one or two of the viewers, who will in turn invite the poet for business aka paid performances.

Given that only one Business model has been adopted from the several models available, there is plenty room for growth and plenty of money to be made, if the other Business models are adopted and optimally utilized.

“You can’t be seen until you learn to see.” – Seth Godin

The 3rd factor is the Business Formular. Basically, this is your strategy and/or actions to be taken to achieve success in your business endeavour.
The Business formular can also be divided into three (using David Parrish’s viewpoint). They are as follows:

a. Creative Passion: in this instance, it is Spoken Word Poetry.

b. Understand your competitive advantage: this involves two questions to help you clarify your competitive advantage. The questions are:
i. What are you good at?
ii. What are you good at in comparison to other competitors aka poets?

c. Choosing the right customers aka investors: truth be told (and I say it carefully), spoken word poetry is not for everyone. By saying the above, I mean, everyone might enjoy it, but not everyone will be willing to pay for it. Thus you need to find your market.
How do you find your market?
Well, you combine your creative Passion with smart business thinking. You can also adopt the Principle of the Sower aka Parable of the Sower.
When you find your market, how do you sell to them?
You need to decipher their pain points and then coin your message to massage their pain points.
This is because, the reason you sell is not the reason they buy. You are selling an art form, they want a solution.
M + I = P
Marketing plus Innovation equals Profit. (Peter Drucker).
Also, people will buy from you, if they know you, like you and/or trust you.

Now that I’ve pointed out the “why” (Spoken Word Poetry will go mainstream), can you decipher the “how” from it?
The “how” is in plain sight if you look closely.

The Enablers are on ground in one form or the other. The Business Models are waiting for adoption and the Business Formular requires you tweak it to accentuate your strengths.

I hope I’ve helped you. Well, I’m available to further break it down at your convenience.

Olumide Holloway (aka King Olulu not from Zulu).
Twitter olulu4ever, Instagram @olulutheking, olulu4ever@gmail.com, +2348025070892

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