Ariana Grande is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, connecting with million of fans worldwide. In this post, guest writer Caroline Hug shares lessons from Grande’s songwriting we can use to craft copy that positively sings to our readers.
The past few years have been especially hard on Ariana Grande, given the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and the subsequent break-off of her engagement with fiancé Pete Davidson, of SNL fame.
But it’s these challenging experiences that Grande builds on to create the songs on her most recent album thank u, next. Quickly climbing to number one on Billboard 200, the album swiftly transforms compelling, relatable content into economic success.
Here are a few of the valuable lessons we can all learn from Grande’s approach, as we craft copy for an audience who will only be swayed by a message that’s authentic to them—and with which they can connect.
1. Know your audience. Write to them conversationally.
To know your audience is to know your product. You need to understand who your target market is so that you can appeal to what they want—and do so in their language. This means sounding natural, so don’t use extensive vocabulary that sounds forced, as it will distract your audience and make them lose focus on the point you’re trying to get across.
Grande capitalizes on this tip in the curation of her music and lyrics. With a target market of 13-21 year olds, Grande creates content that caters to their need to be understood, accepted, and listened to. She discusses the challenges of relationships and the importance of self-love, while still making her content relevant enough to resonate beyond the bounds of her target audience. Like Grande, always remember who you’re talking to—and what gets them to listen.
2. When telling a story, remember to turn tragedy into triumph.
The expansive success of thank u, next had everything to do with Grande’s ability to turn a tragedy into relatable creative content. Her song, “thank u, next” is comprised of hyperpersonal lyrics that allow listeners a brief glimpse into the incredibly difficult year she’s had. Rather than an admission of weakness or personal failure, Grande spins this tale of heartbreak and loss into a story of acceptance of her past and her newfound self-love.
Similarly, business is not always a perfect path to success. Knowing how to tell even the hard parts of your story with dignity, acceptance, and newfound knowledge are the keys that open the door to a connection with your audience. Ideas are easier to sell when your audience can relate to them, as it’s relatability—and making your audience feel something—that allows them to trust you. The relationship grows from that trust.
3. Be original.
Who didn’t think Grande’s song “7 rings” was a major hit? After sampling the iconic song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, Grande was able to capitalize on using something that had already achieved widespread recognition and success—and add her own unique spin on it. The result? An R&B hit that harmonized a classic musical number and the perfect amount of bass that gave audiences a fresh perspective on the classic musical hit.
In your marketing, it’s important to craft innovative and exciting ways of describing your product to an audience. Break free from the cliches and overused words and phrases you see among your competitors, and in the history of your category. Fresh language gives your words a far better chance to have an impact on your audience—grabbing their attention, and standing out against the crowd competitors.
4. Precision is key. Don’t be afraid to be direct.
You need to make sure you’re being clear and succinct when writing your copy, so that you can directly get your point across. Don’t overcomplicate things, as you will only lose your client’s interest.
You can learn from Grande’s incredibly direct song titled “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” The singer knows what she wants and makes a morally questionable act seem trivial, so that she can get her interest’s attention. Your potential buyers want you to cut the fat and get to the meat of your product. Don’t be afraid to intermix long-form and short-form content when it comes to your writing—just be sure to make your copy only as long as it needs to be, no longer.
5. Surprise your readers with an unforgettable twist.
Speaking of “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”, the music video for that song provides a more poignant message to her audiences—through an unanticipated ending. The last scene had Grande kiss who we assume to be her interest’s girlfriend, shocking audiences who are left to wonder what message Grande is trying to convey, and therefore re-watch the clip.
Then we understand: Instead of trying to break up the relationship between the Grande doppelganger and the love interest, we discover Grande is deciding to choose herself above any other man, once again promoting the image of self-love she wants to give to her fans.
What to take from this? When thinking about your copy, don’t be afraid to take a risk and create something dramatic that will leave your readers with a more powerful message ingrained in their minds. It will make your product all the more memorable.
At the end of the day, creative copywriting is all about image. From what we’ve learnt about Grande, she’s an independent woman who spends big, rolls with her girls and doesn’t have time for drama. thank u, next exemplifies Grande turning her tragic experiences into music and creative writing that exemplifies the badass woman she’s become,who’s moved on and learned from her mistakes. It also serves as a great example of utilizing all aspects of innovative copy to tell your clients a story in all the best ways.
Take Grande’s advice. Create a bold, new image that stands out from the norm and make your product so enticing that your readers say thank u, next to the boring copy of the past.