Hiya, Rock Star!
Let's eavesdrop in on a recent conversation between Nina Interlandi Bell and me:
"We need an anthem about how we are Better Together," I said. "High-energy. And in a memorable way."
"I got it," said Nina. "Like Queen and Def Leppard."
" I said. And just like that: The opening video for last week's MarketingProfs B2B Forum
was born ROSE UP!
I saw the whole idea snap into place in my mind. I imagined band leads Freddie Mercury and Joe Elliott as the perfect spokes-singers to carry home our theme, Better Together. I was all-in... way before Nina shot a single frame or recorded a single note.
We were plotting on a video call, Nina and I.
So to signal my joy and exuberance I attempted a hand-horn—the classic rock 'n' roll salute. 🤘 Plus I wanted Nina to think I was as cool as she is. To momentarily be thought of even as the kind of person who casually throws up rock star moves.
But I'm not cool. I accidentally held my thumb out, too, so it came out like "I love you" in American Sign Language.
But I guess that works, too?
* * *
Here's the story we ultimately told: Freddie Mercury opens the show with a parody of the Queen classic We Will Rock You, rewritten with marketing lyrics. Joe Elliott crashes the Queen-party-of-one with a parody of Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar on Me.
Freddie is peeved. Then it dawns on him: Joe is basically his soul mate (rock mate?). The mashup of their two sounds makes them... wait for it... Better Together.
* * *
Specific sells an idea.
The high-speed lane to stronger writing is this: Be as specific as possible.
Specific is also the guitar riff that makes your content your own. (That's a mixed metaphor with the high-speed lane metaphor, maybe. Oops.)
Whether you're writing a blog post, captioning a social media post, scripting a video: Specific sells.
Name names. Offer enough detail to create an image in the mind of the reader.
Because specifics paint pictures. Details create connection.
We imagine things more vividly and robustly. Your writing comes to life. Your brand voice feels real and relatable.
* * *
Writer Natalie Goldberg describes adding details as giving things "the dignity of their names." (I love that.)
Instead of > Say this
Flower > Poppy
Dog > A fat pug named Carl
Food-service truck > Vietnamese sandwich truck
Dance class > Zumba
Our client > Mabel from Finance
SAAS solution > Pay-as-you-go messaging platform
Rock star > Freddie Mercury
Rock star bestie > Joe Elliott
* * *
Naming a specific thing is also funnier. It's way funnier for Freddie to be peeved by Joe Elliott than it would be to have an annoyed generic rock star peeved at another generic rock star.
It's funnier still to imagine them plopped into an unlikely scenario: as B2B marketers singing about marketing things:
Ads on your face
A big click-rate
Automated nurture all over the place.
Two musicians who may not be super familiar to the audience are now relatable.
You don't have to be a fan of Def Leppard or Queen to relate to the opening video. But you do have to be a marketer. Which is, after all, the intended audience.
In comedy writing, specific details flesh out a scene or a product or idea—making them feel real to an audience.
My friend & comedy writer Tim Washer told me this recently, when I texted him to ask what I knew to be true intuitively: Why is specific funnier than nonspecific?
"We need a certain level of reality, even in what we know to be hyperbole," Tim texted back.
Without the details, we as the audience "feel like we're listening to a bunch of made-up stuff, and that won't even begin to pull us into the reality that the writer has created," he said.
Ah! So that's why minivan is funnier than car.
Lentil soup is funnier than soup.
Cardigan is funnier than sweater. But "Brooks Brothers cardigan" or "a cardigan from Sears and Roebuck" also carries clues about the character who is wearing the cardigan.
And of course... rock star Freddie being irritated by enthusiastic rock star Joe is funnier than two unnamed rockers' interaction.
It's all in the name.
* * *
Try it! Let me know how it goes.
And let me know if it inspires your audience to give you BOTH a rock star salute AND an I Love You!
* * *
💥 💥 💥 FLASH SALE >>> EVERYBODY WRITES
Everybody Writes: Just $2.99 today only!
Jeff Bezos called me last week to tell me that Amazon is dropping the Kindle price of my WSJ
best-seller from $15 to $2.99 today only: Sunday, April
The book contains about 60,000 of my words, each hand-selected, polished til it glowed, and placed lovingly on the page. At $2.99... that's $0.00004983 a word.
What else can you buy for $0.00004983 that promises so much value to you?
Nothing. Literally not a thing.
DEPARTMENT OF SHENANIGANS
Shouts from around the internet this week.