10 song lyrics that are also great copywriting tips

The other day, I heard the Scouting for Girls song, ‘It’s not about you’ for the first time in a while. But instead of just thinking back to the heady days of being 15 at one of their gigs, I thought “Oooh, ‘It’s not about you’, that’s also a good copywriting tip.”

This got me thinking about other songs that aren’t about copywriting, but happen to have lyrics that are also good copywriting tips. Here’s what these 10 songs can teach us about writing good copy:

1.      Scouting For Girls ­– It’s Not About You

When writing copy, it’s not about you, it’s about your target audience. Tell your reader why your product or service will help them, what problem it solves and make it relevant to their needs. Talk less about you and more about them: use the words ‘I’ and ‘we’ less and ‘you’ more.

2.      Boyzone – Picture of You

Keep your writing relevant by picturing your target audience in your mind, or even draw them on a post-it and stick it to your computer screen. Unlike Boyzone, make sure your picture of your audience is correct. Ask yourself: What do they look like? How old are they? What’s their gender? What job do they have and what are their hobbies? What keeps them awake at night? Asking these questions will help you to get to know your target audience and make your writing resonate with them.

3.      Ice Cube – Check Yo Self

Check yo self before you wreck yo self, i.e. proofread. Read back through your work before you hit send, whether it’s a tiny tweet or a long email. Even the smallest of errors can make you look unprofessional and damage your brand’s reputation.

4.      Hear’Say – Pure and Simple

Keep your language pure and simple by using everyday vocabulary. Explain things in writing as you would if you were talking to someone face-to-face. This keeps your message clear and allows your copy to be understood. Avoid jargon as it can alienate people, not to mention bore them.

5.      Rag’n’Bone Man – Human

Humans buy from humans so make sure your tone of voice is friendly, show personality and make your content relatable. Don’t pack your web copy unnaturally full of keywords in an attempt to rank higher on the search engines. Not only does Google penalise you for this, your copy won’t flow nicely and your human audience will find it hard to read. Don’t overcomplicate it, we’re only human after all.

6.      P!nk – So What

Focus on the benefits of your product or service, rather than its features. Imagine your customer asking, ‘So What?’ or ‘And?’ after everything you tell them about your product/service. Answering this question will help you expand on the features you have listed and express the real life-changing benefits that will persuade people to reach for their credit card.

7.      Blondie – Call Me

Include a call to action that tells the audience what you want them to do after they have read your copy. If you want them to call you or subscribe to your email list, tell them to do exactly that. On a website, the call-to-action is often in the form of a button that takes the reader to the next step in the buying process, e.g. a ‘Get in touch’ or ‘Subscribe now’ button that leads to a contact form.

8.      The Velvet Underground – I’m Sticking With You

Include a form of social proof to show your audience that people exactly like them are using your product/service and recommend it. Like it or not, humans naturally want to fit in and, if everybody else is doing something, we’re more likely to do it. We find security in numbers. Create trust by using customer testimonials in your copy to back up how good you are. Don’t make testimonials up as consumers are super savvy nowadays and can smell a fake review a mile off.

9.      Maxïmo Park ­–­ Apply Some Pressure  

Imposing a limit on supply or creating a deadline for an offer can create desire to buy your product/service. If people think they’re going to miss out on a great deal, they can be tempted to buy quickly. Don’t fake a deadline though, or start the same offer as soon as the last one ends (like those sofa companies that seem to have a sale ‘ending this Sunday’ every week). Your audience will cotton on to this and won’t be in a hurry to take up your offer.

10.   Charli XCX –­ Break The Rules

Despite what you were taught at school, you can start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But’. It can keep your copy punchy, active and fun to read. Go on, break the rules.

Can you think of any more song lyrics that are also great copywriting tips?

This article was originally published at

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