“Hello from the other side.” said Adele, and we’re hooked from the opening line. As content marketers, we can learn a lot from songwriters, because producing informative, useful, well-written content is not enough.
No matter how informative it is, it can miss the mark. Why? Because it’s missing that human connection behind the information, emotion, when you have an emotional response be it delight, sadness or surprise you’ve made a connection to the writing.
So how do you make sure your articles, blog content pieces connect with readers? By using the construct of storytelling. Since the dawn of time, we’ve shared stories with each other, even bathing our children in them from a young age so they can learn about the world around them.
Storytelling and Great Content
We’re also hardwired to respond to stories, think of a young child’s eyes shine with glee at the prospect of story time before bedtime. The logic of stories is how we think “cause and effect” if we do X then Y will happen; so stories show us what’s accepted in society offering the listener “feelings they don’t have to pay [full cost] for.”
Information has been passed down for generations via storytelling teaching children about the world and what’s acceptable behaviour in their society. So If you want to be remembered, open with a compelling story. People are reading your content, people who have feelings and emotions and they are just waiting to respond and connect.
A successful story, for entertainment or business, should leave the consumer with a feeling of wanting more—wanting the story to continue. Good stories include a human element, tension with a resolution.
“Character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points” said Paul J. Zak founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies.
Everyone’s a publisher!
Anyone with a laptop and internet access can be a publisher and we’re drowning in bland content, tired stories told half-heartedly. To avoid bland generic content details, specifics and originality make stories memorable and content worth remembering.
“Stories are the original viral tool,” says Jonah Sachs, CEO of Free Range Studios and author of Winning the Story Wars.“Once you tell a very compelling story, the first thing someone does is think, ‘Who can I can tell this story to?’
Songwriters are very successful at sharing their stories of heartbreak or tragedy, connecting deeply with people who buy their music. Song lyrics are specific, they sing with clarity and creativity, every word important telling their story with meaning, no filler allowed!
Stories delivered from a first-hand account, have a way of reaching you. Personal narratives sell—just look at Adelle or Ed Sheran and their number-one hits.
Content and songwriters – words that resonate
“Hello from the other side / I must’ve called a thousand times / To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done / But when I call you never seem to be home”
You can probably hear Adele’s soulful voice in your head. The meaning hits you, immediately. Adele’s album ’25’ which featured “Hello” is certified diamond for selling over 10 million copies in less than a year. As a content marketer, you want to create a bond, not just inform. It’s more than driving traffic you want to build a community with content that resonates.
The writer’s voice can enhance a piece beyond the bland to connect. Determining how much first-person narrative to include in your content marketing piece isn’t easy. Write what you know, so any first-hand experience to give your piece authority and drag people to it. People want to connect with people. The more human we can be in our marketing efforts, the better off we’ll be.
Content versus songwriters
Songwriters have a great way of making timeless music, using universally relateable themes like love, power, life and death. They spans decades you only have to look at the Eagles, their Greatest Hits album has knocked Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” off the top spot with the Best-Selling Album selling a massive 38 million copies since release in 1976.
The Grammy award-winning song Hotel California by the Eagles, the Writers capturing the essence of California in the 70s and the band’s place in that time.
“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair / Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air / Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light”
What makes a songwriter a good storyteller?
Good storytellers compress events and understanding, wrap emotion into the experience while inciting empathy in their audience. Taking complex subjects and presenting them in understandable, relatable ways. Drawing from the past to shine a light on the future, giving special attention to specifics and details while staying using truth.
Everyone has a story to tell but its not what story, but how you tell it. Listeners and readers are looking for answers, and the best way to do that is to make your material conversational, share your experience with them to carry them all the way to the end of your content whether its an article, blog, video etc.
But remember good content also needs to be backed up with research, statistics linking to authoritative reference sites(where possible), so we can learn from the past and apply it to the future.
Great songwriting is memorable whether it evokes a feeling of being “understood” or excited about new insights. So if you are struggling for content, turn to songwriters (and really listen to their lyrics) to get the creative juices flowing, their words resonate and evoke emotions. And they manage to do this in three minutes or less (what an achievement). As content marketers, we can learn a lot from songwriters, singers and guitar-flingers.