I don't know about you, but my favourite songs are the ones that talk to me about something I feel or have been through.
Ones where I can feel the pain, joy, anxiety, hate, hope or whatever emotion is being talked about.
Great songwriters know how to make you feel their emotions... They tell stories of overcoming adversity. They talk about lost love. Things that we can all understand.
So, what can we learn from them? What's the secret to getting this right?
Let's take 'We are Champions' by Queen as an example.
By the end of the song, it's clear how Freddie wants us to feel... It's rousing, uplifting and it takes us on a journey.
And if we look carefully at how the song is structured, we can learn how he did it.
The verses talk about pain, mistakes and struggle - Things we can all relate to, but Freddie owns these... By this, I mean he talks in the first person, so the negative emotions are all attached to him, not us (even though we relate to them, vicariously).
In the very first verse, he says:
I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through
With the exception of the last line, this is a very negative verse... But it's all written from the singer's point of view.
Notice how it changes when we get to the chorus:
We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting to the end
At this point, Freddie brings in the listener... he says 'WE' are the champions, it's not just him. WE join him in the joy, WE join him in the part where the adrenaline peaks.
He's writing with emotional empathy. He knows the pain of his audience because he has felt it too. But he doesn't write about the listener making mistakes or having sand kicked in their face, this is left to the viewer to decide if they relate to it or not.
This is a key idea in marketing when you want to gain traction and have broad appeal.
You need to show your audience that you understand them and that you've overcome the same problems that they have.
It's fine to talk about your own story and your own struggles (or even your own success, to an extent)... But make sure you relate this back to who you are speaking to.
If it's all about you, they'll simply switch off... You must echo emotions and situations that are familiar to them... Make them feel like it's talking about their lives.
So, the next time you are writing a blog post, email or anything where you are trying to persuade another person. Ask yourself, if you were reading this, would you care enough to share it? Is it relatable? Would your audience connect with an emotion?
To persuade anybody to act, it's wise to talk in terms of their success and what is important to them.
Using the words 'we' and 'you' make your reader feel part of the narrative.
They'll see themselves in the story you're telling... And that really is the key to successful marketing.