Woman writing song with guitar and paper

Teach your content to sing

I’ve played guitar for 50 years, but I started to write songs only a few years ago. Here are ideas borrowed from songwriting that can make your content sing.

Make your content hooky

Songwriters continuously search for musical or lyrical hooks that make their songs stand out.

To listeners, a great hook can be so powerful that it turns into an earworm. Once it gets in your head, you can’t forget it.

For example, once you listen to Michael Jackson’s song Beat It, it’s hard to get the song out of your head.

To transpose this idea to the content world, what’s a great question you can pose to buyers? Buyers crave answers for their questions.

When you pose a question, it hijacks people’s attention. Buyers fixate on the question because it triggers a mental reflex known as “instinctive elaboration,” writes David Hoffeld in Fast Company.

When you ask a great question, people will think about how to answer the question – and they’ll think about nothing else. For a moment, you’ve captured their attention completely.

That moment can lead people into your content, the same way a great hook gets people into a new song.

Share your unique voice 

Singer on stage in silhouette
No one else can sound like your unique voice.

Your favorite singers each have a unique voice that you recognize right away. Rock fans hear Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin or John Lennon or Bob Dylan or Tina Turner and know exactly whose voice they’re hearing.

Since you love the distinctive sound of your favorite singer’s voice, their voice alone has the power to seize your attention, so you hear out their whole song.

What if … the voice of your content became as unique as your favorite singers’ voices?

Don’t try to sound like anyone else. Sound like you.

Despite decades of success, Billy Joel did not like his own voice. “I never liked my own voice. I always wanted to sound like somebody else singing.” More than 30 years ago, he stopped writing songs.

But recently he wrote and released a new song, Turn the Lights Back On, which he performed at the Grammy Awards.

Something profound had changed for Billy Joel: “This time I heard the recording with my voice on it, I didn’t hate it.”

To make your content sing, trust your own voice. Questions to ask are:

  • How different is your voice from others?
  • Is it distinct and ownable?
  • Can it rise above the noise?
  • Or does your voice sound like someone else’s?
  • Is anything about your voice unique or differentiating?
  • How can you make your uniqueness relevant and meaningful to people?

Your unique human voice is all you need to rise above the swelling sea of sameness that is AI-generated content.

As B.B. King said, “Everything I record, I just try to sound like me.”

“Nobody else can make the sound you make,” Yo Yo Ma says.

Dare to be different by being yourself – intensely so. Here are tips to help you find your own brand voice.

Establish your unique beat 

Songs with unique beats stand out. They get people dancing, with or without vocals and lyrics.

Your content needs to establish its own beat – the topics you cover and the publishing rhythm you follow.

In journalism, reporters cover regular beats such as national politics, local government, or personal finance. Which beats does your content cover? Which questions and topics do you regularly address?

Covering a beat sets your audience’s expectations about what you’ll deliver to them. And a regular publishing rhythm will help you meet your audience’s expectations.

If your blog comes out every day, make sure it always appears at the same chosen time. If your podcast comes out weekly, make sure it’s available consistently, on the same day at the same time, so people look forward to it.

Establishing your beats and a regular rhythm helps people dance with your content. When you keep your date with them again and again over the years, they know you’ll show up for them every time.

Remember, you hold the power to make your content stand out like a favorite song:

  • Make your content hooky.
  • Share your unique voice.
  • Establish your unique beat.
George Stenitzer with guitar in hotel lobby
Keep making your content sing!