What songwriters can teach us about writing content
27 / 06 / 2017
I love listening to music. It isn’t just the haunting melodies that grab my attention, but also the lyrics. I remember listening to Kelly Clarkson’s Piece by Piece for the first time, the lyrics were so powerful I started to cry. Just like a good book or an emotive article, the way words are used to capture an event or feeling in music can really move you. Songwriters can teach us loads about writing content, they are always drawing on their own personal experiences as inspiration. It is well documented that Taylor Swift’s back catalogue is littered with songs chronicling the highs and lows of her love life.
Sharing personal experiences are an emotional and powerful way to connect with your audience. It shows that you have empathy for what they are experiencing and that you are a human being as well as an estate agent.
Opening yourself up to share ‘brand you’ is frightening; the idea may be extremely alien to you, especially if you always write in the third person.
Just like songwriters, by using personal experiences you will be sharing a piece of yourself that the reader most likely doesn’t yet know.
This connection starts to build trust, which is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? To have clients that trust you and your agency enough that they will choose you and recommend your services.
Events or culture
Only recently I watched a clip on Facebook where Lady Antebellum were talking about one of the songs on their new album, Famous. During one songwriting session, they had been discussing films and TV programmes they had seen. The Amy Winehouse documentary came up, and they set about seeing if they could encapsulate in a song the sense of when fame gets so large it becomes overwhelming, and how you handle it.
“Living in a world, daddy’s little girl
Never hears a no
Everything you want, never what you need
Mirrors and the smoke
Put another spin on the rehab, rehab
Whole world’s waiting on a comeback
Welcome to the show
Watch it all fade to black
Damn, she’s famous
Everybody knows what her name is
Kinda breaks your heart when you think about
Everything she gave and the life they stole away
But you can’t blame her
Everybody’s drawn to the danger
Looking through the lens of make believe
Ain’t a mystery why a star goes down in flames
Famous, yeah she’s famous”
Famous, Lady Antebellum
Although you may not know this particular song, you will I’m sure know of Amy Winehouse, and you may even have seen the documentary, so these lyrics will already be resonating with you.
This is a shared experience. A shared experience is an event, a moment in time, a movie or a song (I could go on) that you and your reader have in common. When something is familiar to you, you can relate to it, and often want to engage by talking about what it meant to you.
They speak directly to the listener
Many songs are written in a conversational tone, take Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.
“When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks
And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are.”
Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
Using ‘you’ and ‘your’ makes it feel as though he is speaking directly to you. I have spoken before about the importance of ‘you’ in content. What do you think your clients would prefer? To be spoken to, or spoken at?
Making it fly
When a song has been recorded and, for example, it’s uploaded to their website, they don’t just sit there and wait for their fans to find it. No, they get busy and share it across their many social media channels.
They look at how they can engage with their audience to encourage them to share it; in other words, they are making their fans a little marketing army.
No one will find your content unless you share it in as many different ways as possible over a period of time. Just as one play of a song on the radio will not guarantee a number 1, nor will sharing a post via a single Tweet guarantee it will go viral.
Talk to their following
Before the heart-breaking atrocity in Manchester I had heard of Ariana Grande but I confess I couldn’t name a single one of her songs, nor could I have picked her out in a photo line-up. The strength and maturity she showed, as well as the love and affection she clearly had for her fans and their families, won her many new followers. Even I have a couple of her tracks on my playlist now.
Although this event is unprecedented, ‘stars’ know the importance of staying connected to their fans. Backstage videos, live Q&As, signings, and all forms of social media – they use them all to speak directly to their audience. Do you?
The content writing riff
Your voice is just as important as that of a songwriter. You have a wealth of things to say, and the ability to create engaging content that breeds loyalty and trust.
Become the songwriter in your agency.