One of the constant themes of my blog posts over the last year has been the need to cop-create content for your brand with your community. One great example is You Tube sensation, ‘Epic Rap Battles’. Here’s just one example of their videos (apologies for the ad up front).

The way it works is simple. Nice Peter, who started the concept with fellow actor/comedian Zach Sherwin in partnership with Maker Studios, simply asks his community of fans which epic rap battle they would like to see. It started with John Lennon vs. Bill O’Reilly, hit its stride in Episode #2 with Adolf Hitler vs. Darth Vader (62 million views) and quickly built to a dedicated You Tube channel ERB. Here’s sneak peak behind the scenes look at making the video above.

Obviously, not every brand has the luxury of free-wheeling comedy but what made ‘Epic Rap Battles’ successful is instructive for all our marketing efforts. here are five key things they got right:

1. CROWDSOURCE: the simple act of asking your community to tell you what they want has driven the success of this concept, community and You Tube channel.

2. EVOLVE: This concept originally was a live performance but migrated online and to social media to take advantage of the scale of new scalable technologies). As background in 2010 this concept was a live segments called EpicLLOYD and MC Mr. Napkins.

3. REINVENT: The concept takes something familiar from pop culture and reinvents it both in terms of how people are presented but also through the rap battle format.

4. FOCUS: When the Adolf Hitler vs. Darth Vader battle took off, the creative team realized they had something that worked and focus attention and resources on it rather than diluting their audience or messaging.

5. DIVERSIFY: Building on the success of the videos on You Tube, the brand expanded across its Facebook brand page, Twitter, iTunes (buy the rap songs), merchandising and beyond.

To see watch more videos, click here, but here’s the key message. When you see something that really works and that aggressively builds a community of raving fans, see what lessons you can take from their efforts and transpose across to your business.