Earlier this spring Canadians lost a national icon: Stompin' Tom Connors, legendary songwriter and musician. Stompin' Tom ignored every conceivable rule for success in the music business, and won legions of fans in the process.
How did he do this? And, more importantly, what does it have to do with copywriting or content marketing?
Well, here's the apocryphal story of how Tom got his start:
Once upon a time in Timmins, Ontario ...
In 1964 Tom rolled into Timmins with about 35 cents in his pocket. Even in 1964, that wasn't enough to buy a beer.
So the bartender at the Maple Leaf Hotel eyed Tom's guitar and offered to spot him a drink in exchange for a few songs.
Timmins, for those of you who aren't from around here, was (and is) a proud mining town in northern Ontario, the kind of place where people work hard, play hard, and sometimes die on duty.
Tom took the bartender up on his offer, and ended up coming back to sing night after night. At the end of a month, he had a crazy-loyal fan base of rough-and-ready miners, factory workers, loggers, truck drivers and more - folks who remained loyal to his unpretentious music for the rest of their lives.
Copywriting lesson: write for your audience
So, and here's the writing lesson, how did he do this?
He wrote songs about his audience. Almost as soon as he landed in Timmins, he started chatting up locals, listening to their stories, finding out about their lives. Then he spun what he heard into songs especially for them.
He wrote songs like There's A Fire In the Mine, and Sudbury Saturday Night. Songs about hockey games and arenas, and about soldiers saying goodbye to their sweethearts while dancing the Maple Leaf Waltz.
And folks who were sick to death of hearing music from far-away Toronto or LA felt like finally, someone was singing about them.
So much corporate writing misses this.
Don't write about yourself. Don't write about your product. Or your mission. Or your godawful "solutions" that "help our clients manage change."
Write about your clients. Their problems. Their questions. Their issues. Explain simply who you are, and how you can help.
Stompin' Tom would be proud.
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