Hey Rainmaker, it’s Monday — which means it’s time for me to answer YOUR questions!
Before we get to today’s question, here’s your obligatory reminder…
Mailbox Monday is like a great tree that provides so many benefits — shade, shelter for animals, wood that you can use to build your shelter. (Or, ways to build your business, get more customers, and enjoy increased revenue and success.)
It’s up to me to water the tree, and provide sunlight and good nutrients to help it grow.
But it relies on you to do one thing — without which there is no tree.
It relies on YOU to plant the seed. To submit your questions to be answered.
So… Plant a seed, get a tree. Send your questions about business, marketing, selling, copywriting, life, whatever to Roy@RoyFurr.com and I’ll add you to the queue to answer your question in an upcoming issue of Mailbox Monday.
Okay, on to today’s question…
This one, from a regular correspondent and student, Jackie.
It’s about music, and musicians. Inspired by the recent passing of the unparalleled great, B.B. King.
A day to pay tribute.
A question for you: What can music – and musicians – the finest among them – teach marketers and copywriters?
Okay, so I’ve got a soft spot for anything having to do with music…
While I’m a basement electronic musician… I used to perform in other people’s basements, and now just make the music in mine… I love ALL good music. And that love and appreciation has only grown with age. Classical, jazz, blues, rock, soul, country, electronic, pop, punk, metal, and more… If it’s really good music, I can enjoy it.
And so, of course, “The King” of the blues deserves a spot in the rotation.
Now, I’ll admit to not being a devoted fan (my bandwidth for who I can appreciate is much bigger than who I can be a devoted follower of)… But there is a little sadness in my heart to think I’ll never see the great B.B. King perform live.
That said, there are many lessons we can learn from him, as well as from all great musicians, which I’ll make the broader focus of today’s article.
First, a great musician connects with listeners on the deepest level…
One of the things that I find about songs that become immensely popular is that they’re seldom complex. They’re seldom all that “deep” in terms of the academic, heady definition of being deep.
And yet, they reach into our hearts and touch our souls with a simplicity that’s impossible to misunderstand or ignore.
B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” (linked above) is a perfect example. It starts…
“The thrill is gone / The thrill is gone away / The thrill is gone baby / The thrill is gone away / You know you done me wrong baby / And you’ll be sorry someday”
So, so simple. And yet you instantly connect with him on such a deep level.
Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” is another…
“I hope life treats you kind / And I hope you’ll have all you’ve dreamed of. / And I wish to you, joy and happiness. / But above all this, I wish you love. / And I will always love you.”
Or how about Prince’s “When Doves Cry” …?
“How can u just leave me standing? / Alone in a world so cold? (World so cold) / Maybe I’m just 2 demanding / Maybe I’m just like my father, too bold / Maybe you’re just like my mother / She’s never satisfied (She’s never satisfied) / Why do we scream at each other / This is what it sounds like / When doves cry”
All of these capture one of the most powerful musical themes — love fragmented and lost. There are others that capture other emotions and themes. But what you can see, consistently, when you look closely, is how simple they really are in the message.
And yet if you’re a fan of any of these songs, or any like them, you feel such a deep connection to the artist from these simple word pictures because of shared experience.
How does this apply to marketing?
Don’t underestimate the value in sharing even simple stories or anecdotes of shared experience. This is how you’ll form a real human connection with your readers.
If you want to achieve a deep emotional connection with your readers, prospects, and customers, it’s not about some manipulative trick or tactic. It’s about being real, being human, being honest, and being open.
Those who’ve had a similar experience to yours will resonate. They will feel attachment. And you’ll be connected to them on an incredibly deep level that goes far beyond any superficial business-based relationship. This is how you create fans for life. (Which, it should be noted, B.B. King definitely had!)
Second, musicians definitely know the power of 1% per week.
By the time I reached my 20s, I became jealous of people who’d already picked up a musical instrument they loved.
There’s something about the freedom of youth that’s immensely supportive of being able to learn to play an instrument.
When you’re able to come home from school and instead of spending hours in front of a glowing screen, pick up an instrument and noodle away for hours, you have a huge advantage.
You get your 10,000 hours practice that some say is required for “expert” status.
Not only that, if you’re focused on improving just 1% per week through your practice, you can get really, really good by the time you’re an adult.
Let’s say, for example, you decide when you’re 12 that you want to learn to play guitar. You pick up that guitar, and awkwardly pluck the strings. You’re not good at all. But every week, you try to get just 1% better. As that knowledge compounds, amazing things happen.
52 weeks after you’ve started, you’re not 52% better — you’ve improved 68%. You still may not be all that good, but maybe you can strum some chords. (This forgets that the first year you can often improve a lot more than 1% per week, with a little focus.)
As the knowledge compounds, you just get better. 2 years after you’ve started, improving 1% per week, you’re 181% better than you were at the beginning.
Fast-forward to when you’re 22 years old and you’ve been practicing with the goal of 1% improvement per week, and you’re now 17,565% better than you were when you first picked up the guitar.
Now, anybody can do this at any point in their life. And that should really be the lesson. But the reason I was jealous of my peers who’d already mastered their instruments by their early 20s was that they already had that behind them. And they’d done it during a time in their lives when they had schoolwork, yes, but little more than a part-time job and no family.
That said, we should all look to improve ourselves by that 1% per week at anything that matters to us. Business, marketing, relationships, music, whatever…
Third, who you surround yourself with matters a lot.
B.B. King was the front man, the star, the name behind his act. And that was the case for pretty much his entire life.
And yet, almost any time he played, there was a band behind him, supporting him.
And sometimes, like in the video I linked above, that can make things really exciting. My favorite part of that performance was from 4:15 on. The guitar (then horn) stabs on the 2 and 4 just give it such incredible energy, while “The King” is doing his thing up front.
Having the right team for anything you do can make an incredible difference. Even if you’re the star, it can be your supporting players that allow you to shine and give that little extra bit of energy needed.
BONUS: Music isn’t just a creative act, it seems to help with creativity…
While I don’t have time today to dive into all the research, I will speak from personal experience.
Music can help your mind work well, in a few different ways.
First — and maybe I’m particularly predisposed to this by my ADHD — music seems to help me focus. And you’ve probably felt the same way.
Listening to the right piece of music for you (it’s different for everybody!) can give your mind just enough stimulation that you’re able to focus better on writing or other work, for longer periods. For me, it’s instrumental music, and preferably something with upbeat energy but not too dramatic or too well known. Beethoven doesn’t work that well for me — at least not the most popular works — but Rachmaninoff does. I also like guitar music, solo piano, and instrumental electronica for writing.
Also, certain music does seem to impact the brain in different ways, with more complex music seemingly contributing to you making more creative connections as you work.
That is, listen to some of the better classical music while you’re researching on your next copy project, and you might just run into the new and unique big idea that will be your next control!
Or, you can just pick your favorite piece of music, turn it on, close your eyes, and let it take you on a journey. Whether it’s relaxing or stimulating, it’s good for the soul. And that’s good for when it’s time to do more work later!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
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