What Content Marketers Can Learn from Songwriters

Songwriting. It was the original storytelling — before writing — before type, newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

It’s discounted as a storytelling device in these 1500 -2000 word blog post era but they had only a few minutes to convey emotion and tell their story so you’d play their song over and over.

With the death of Glen Frey this week, I was reminded of my favorite line of their songs:

“I was standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona such a fine sight to see.

It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.” Take it Easy by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey

Though I’d never been to Winslow, Arizona I could picture that exact scene in my mind.

Visual Writing

Does our copy conjure up images in the reader’s mind? Do we connect with their past experiences and emotions?

We content writers can learn quite a bit by studying these lyrics. They had no time, musical space, or enough syllables for extra words like “very” or to ramble on and on without getting to the point. In the early record age the maximum recording time was three minutes.

Below are a few of the lyrics that have visual and emotional power — in five lines or less.

Harry Chapin: Cats in the Cradle

“Well my son turned 10 just the other day,
He said “Thanks for the ball Dad, come let’s play.
Can ya teach me to throw? ” I said
“Not today, I got a lot to do.” He said “That’s ok”.”

Jim Croce: Operator

How to Start a Blog by Bridget Willard

How to Start A Blog

I was asked by one of my Twitter followers this week how to blog. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never written about it.

Why you should blog is here.

Why should you blog?

In my view, there are two aspects of blogging: the writing and the technical.


My nemesis is motivation.

Other people are daunted by the technology.

Still others, time.

All of these things can be overcome.

We know that one of the keys to being social is content. Too many people, including myself, think there’s nothing more to be said. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

What if I have nothing to say?

Have you ever thought to yourself that everything meaningful has already been said? Maybe it has. I’m sure there is another blogging series or posts that are better than this one. But this is my creation and the words come out in my voice.

Believe me, you, too, have ideas. You have your own style. You have a voice. You can add value to the world. Are you worried you’ll just state the obvious? Maybe the obvious isn’t that obvious.

“Everybody’s ideas seem obvious to them. Maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else.” Derek Sivers 

Just Write

You just have to do it. This is what all of my friends tell me. I tend to write in binges, much like everything else in my life.

Carol Stephen recommends using a timer:

“Yes, you can write in small increments. Yes, it will help your startup. Back when I started to exercise, I gave myself an out whenever I went to the gym. If I didn’t feel better after 15 minutes, I allowed myself to leave. During many years of exercising, I’ve only left twice. So set that timer for 15 minutes and get going! You can do it!”

repurpose your content

What Layla Teaches Content Marketers About Repurposing

What can we learn from musicians when it comes to repurposing our own content? Read to find out.

As a child of the 70’s, “classic rock,” as we now call it, was always on the radio and turntable. You become familiar with the music, if not the lyrics.

Fast forward twenty years and, as a married woman, The Mr. and I are watching MTV Unplugged. Much to our surprise, and to a few in the audience, Eric Clapton had rearranged his own song, beloved “Layla” from his Derek and the Dominos Days. Pure Brilliance!

Derek & The Dominos

Eric Clapton MTV Unplugged

The angst and anguish of the lyrics are matched in the first version by the rock anthem followed by it’s classic instrumental, causing one to reflect. The heartache and soul sorrow of the lyrics was highlighted in the blues version on MTV. Their moods are totally different. Their pace are different. The message is the same:

“Layla, you got me on my knees!”