Being a talk show host on cable television isn’t as easy as it used to be. The ’90s gave us Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, and our queen, Oprah. In 2022, Maury is still conducting DNA tests, and Ellen DeGeneres just wrapped up her final season.

With so many cord-cutters and people spending more time scrolling TikTok than watching TV, today’s talk show hosts need to be extra compelling to capture attention.

Kelly Clarkson has been hosting her show going on three years now, and if you ask me, she’s doing an amazing job. There’s something about Kelly’s personality that makes us feel like she’s just like us, although we know no one has a voice like hers.

Speaking of her voice, Kelly incorporates a daily segment that promotes the show in a way that’s true to the talent that made us fall in love with her in the first place. Can you believe it’s been 20 years since she won our hearts as the first American Idol?


Kelly Clarkson’s Social Media Brilliance

To start every episode of her show, Kelly takes the stage to sing a cover of a popular song. It can be the latest Billboard chart-topper, or a throwback that hits us right in the feels. The segment is branded as #Kellyoke, and it may be my favorite use of a branded hashtag for a few reasons.

• It’s not a gimmick. #Kellyoke lets Kelly do what she does best: sing. She’s even compiled the songs into a mini album released earlier this year. My favorite is her cover of ‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish.


• All the songs she performs are requests from the audience. This is a brilliant way to foster fan engagement and make her viewers feel like they are contributing. It also creates a powerful storytelling moment. After each performance ends, Kelly will interview the fan who requested the song. Nine times out of ten, there’s a heartwarming backstory about why the song is meaningful to them.

• The covers are shareworthy. You’ll often see them shared on social media after Kelly elevates a song with her own rendition. This is a perfect opportunity to keep her talk show top of mind simply by sharing a fresh new cover every day. The concept is consistent, but each performance is unique. It’s repeatable but never stale. It’s also a great way to tap into new audiences by appealing to different fandoms across generations, depending on the song choice.

• It’s a fully integrated idea. The Kellyoke concept is bigger than her talk show and social media. She and her team are taking it on tour with the Kellyoke bus, where they’re searching for the next big star to sing with Kelly. They’re making stops in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and LA. This is such a fun and creative guerrilla marketing strategy!

What is a repeatable content idea you can incorporate into your marketing strategy? If you need help coming up with surefire themes that help you become a more strategic and efficient creator, check out this article about how to apply the content formula.

Why Social Media is a Lot Like Karaoke

There are a lot of takeaways from Kellyoke, but there’s also something we can learn about marketing and social media from the regular ol’ karaoke you do with your friends during a rowdy night of bar hopping.

In fact, social media and karaoke are actually very similar.

Whether karaoke is your jam or not, it’s a special form of live music. The audience gets to come on stage and share the spotlight. They get their own moment to shine.

To an extent, you can mimic this magic on social media, but most brands get it wrong. They treat their social media more like a solo act.

They hog the mic and make it all about them. They don’t invite others to participate. They focus more on promoting something instead of making people feel part of something.

Your path to conversion starts with more conversation. Instead of always talking at your audience, listen, engage, and share the stage.

Attention is Earned on Social Media

So, how can you make your audience go from a passive person in the crowd, to an engaged participant who is on the metaphorical stage, singing your praises?

A common misconception about social media is that we automatically have our audience’s attention. But just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they follow you. This is quite literally the case because social media algorithms may not distribute your content. But beyond that, your content has to be interesting to capture attention.

Your audience will only feel prompted to engage if your content resonates with them.

More brands need to realize this truth: people want to talk about themselves. It’s not about what your product or service does, but about how it fits into your audience’s lives.

When you find more ways to relate to them and make them feel seen and heard, they’ll find more ways to support you. They will also feel more comfortable opening up and engaging with your content.

With everything you post, ask yourself what’s in it for your audience.

Will they see themselves in your content and identify with it?
What emotion will it make them feel?
Does this content address a relatable perception, pain point, or objection they face?
Why will it resonate? What makes it relatable?

And frankly, why should they care? As marketers, it’s important to practice putting yourself in your customer’s shoes as often as possible. It’s far too easy to get caught up in our company’s initiatives, deadlines, meetings, and corporate ivory towers that by the time you share something with your audience, we’ve lost our way a bit. But it’s always about them.

Sparking Engagement the Right Way

Lastly, I’ll leave you with another thing to keep in mind when creating content.

I see a lot of businesses that think simply posting on social media is enough — as if each post is just to check a box for the day. The biggest mistake you can make is posting and expecting engagement instead of proactively inviting it.

I’m not saying every social media post needs a call-to-action, but why not be direct and tell your audience exactly what you want them to do?

I’ve spoken about this during marketing seminars and one thing people aks is, what happens if you ask a question on social media and nobody responds?

There are two answers to this:

1. Your question may be too complicated or open-ended. People are scrolling through social media — they’re not taking an exam. Simplify your question, or incorporate an easy opportunity to engage like a poll with limited answers. There’s more on this in this post: How the Boy Band Wars Can Boost Your Social Media Engagement

2. We always start off talking to an empty room. If you’re starting from scratch, assume your content won’t get a lot of engagement right off the bat. But if you keep at it, one day, one person will respond. And with the nature of social media, that one person’s response will amplify your post. Their own followers may see it pop up in their feed, and then one more person responds. Audience building is something that compounds over time.

Be patient. Growing your brand and attracting an audience takes effort, consistency, and creativity. Be okay with posts that flop, because it will happen. Experiment and try again. And as Kelly Clarkson says, the posts that don’t kill you make you stronger… or something like that.


READ MORE: The Fool-Proof Content Marketing Formula

RELATED: All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Remember