In 1976, I was so enamored with the top pop hits of summer that I spent hours in my room listening to the radio, writing down the songs in order on a large piece of butcher paper that I then taped to my walls.
The top hit was Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, by Elton John and Kiki Dee. Say what you want about 1970’s pop musical taste.
In those days before YouTube or Spotify, if we wanted to catch our favorite song, we had to stay glued close to the radio.
When our favorite song would come on, we would crank it up and either dance around the room or scream the cheesy lyrics in the car.
What is it about the song of the summer?
There is something about the song of the summer that gets in your bones (and sometimes becomes an earworm). Mixed with the warmth and long days of summer, it has the ability to shift your mood in a minute, making you stop and dance in the grocery aisles, or sing loudly in the car, much to the chagrin of your teenagers and their friends.
What does it take to make your marketing sing like the song of the summer?
When I was teaching a session in The Widest Net Retreat about messaging, the metaphor came to me that if we want everyone to know what we do and how to refer us clearly, it is like everyone in a room knowing the lyrics to the song of the summer.
What does it take to create this level of awareness and familiarity in our marketing?
1. Clear messaging on what you want to sell
This sounds so basic to almost be insulting, but when you have been in business for awhile, it is easy to clutter your messaging with what you used to do for clients, what you used to sell, and how you used to be known as an expert.
The framing question is: what do you want to sell?
If you are pivoting in your business, you need to make your new focus and offer as clear as day so that people understand how to buy from you and how to refer you.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell some things that current clients ask for as you transition into a new area. You just don’t want that cluttering the outward-facing messaging on your website and content that attracts the future of your business.
Decide what you really want to sell, then work the rest of the process.
2. Clear framing of the audience, defined by problem, challenge or aspiration
A new, sharper offering often shifts the audience you have historically served. Susan Baier of Audience Audit teaches that you define your customers by problem, challenge or aspiration..
Make sure to update your website and messaging with a clear definition of your new audience.
For example, for years, I was known as the “Escape from Cubicle Nation Lady” because of my blog and book. I worked with people in corporate who wanted to leave to start a business.
As the years have gone by, I have shifted to working with seasoned thought leaders and entrepreneurs who have strong IP that they want to use to scale their business.
The messaging to these audiences is quite different, and it has to be all through your website, presentations and social content.
3. Messaging and content with zip, punch and feeling
There is a structural reason we can all sing songs of the summer at the top of our lungs — they are designed to be easy to remember.
I decided to use ChatGPT for the very first time to see what it said about what it takes to write a hit song, and dagnabit if it didn’t nail it:
- “Start with a catchy melody: A memorable melody is the foundation of any hit song. It should be something that people can easily sing along with and remember.
- Write relatable lyrics: Good lyrics should resonate with your audience, telling a story or expressing emotions that they can relate to. Avoid cliches and try to be authentic and original.
- Keep it simple: Simple songs are often the most successful. Stick to a simple structure, using easy-to-understand language, and avoid making the song too complex.
- Add a memorable hook: A hook is a catchy phrase or melody that sticks in the listener’s head. It should be something that they can’t get out of their head.
- Experiment with different genres: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different genres and styles to find what works for you. Try blending different elements and see what comes out.
- Collaborate with others: Working with other musicians, songwriters, or producers can often bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the songwriting process.
- Stay true to yourself: While it’s important to consider what is popular and what will appeal to your audience, don’t forget to stay true to your own voice and style. Authenticity can make a song stand out in a crowded market.
Remember, there is no guarantee that any song will become a hit, but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of creating something that resonates with people and stands the test of time.”
If you, like me, do not have natural talent creating zippy taglines and catchy hooks, you may want to hire an expert to help you.
4. Strong presence on the channels your ideal customers frequent
Now that there are a lot more channels of communication than a radio, you want to prioritize where and how you show up with your clear message.
You don’t have to be everywhere, but you do want to choose the top channels and watering holes where your ideal customers hang out. (The Widest Net can help you with that.)
5. Repetition, repetition, repetition
One thing I have learned over 27 years of business is that things take much longer than you think!
This includes messaging. If you are pivoting what you used to do into a new area, you need to repeat that message over and over and over again, in all of your communications.
Some entrepreneurs get tired of saying the same thing, and find creativity and flow in exploring new ideas and insights.
It is fine to work new ideas in the back end of your business, but if you want to connect clearly with your audience, you need to help them “learn the lyrics” to your core message.
For example, my recent all-in shift to helping clients build licensing and certification programs has been building since 2015, when I offered the first program on licensing. I have been slowly working on the methodology, and now am ready to develop a clear tune, clear messaging and lots of new content in this area.
Your Song of the Summer messaging could be for an indie audience or mass market.
What matters is that you make it as easy as possible for your ideal current and future clients to sing along with you.
If you really want to go down memory lane, check out Every Song of the Summer for the last 46 years!
My all-time favorite is Prince’s When Doves Cry, because 1) It is a legendary song 2) It was the song of the summer in 1984 when I met my best friend Desiree, and we danced and sang around the college cafeteria where we both worked. I will remember that moment for the rest of my days.
What’s your favorite? Let me know the song and the story behind it in the comments.