“…And this next song”: What Cheap Trick Can Tell Us About Brevity in Content

Robin Zander’s stage banter from Cheap Trick at Budokan is legendary. Not so much for what he does say, but what he doesn’t. Like Miles Davis playing jazz, with Zander it’s all about the words he isn’t saying that makes it work.

Check out this clip from the album:

Zander’s cadence and use of few words to introduce every song at this concert is so iconic it was sampled in a Beastie Boys song. So what does this have to do with content marketing? It’s all about brevity.

If you aren’t familiar with the story behind this album, here’s the short version: Cheap Trick, at the beginning of their career, hadn’t found much success in the United States. For whatever reason, however, their first few albums really connected with audiences in Japan. Their popularity in the East was such that they were referred to as the “American Beatles.”

When the Rockford, IL-based band finally made it to Japan, they were able to sell out the legendary Budokan arena with throngs of screaming fans. This audience, despite loving the band so very much, didn’t understand much English. So Zander did what was necessary: he said exactly what was needed in as few words as possible. This comes off as robotic, but it just works. The audience might not have understood in-depth stories or jokes, but it certainly knows how to react to “I want you… to want me!”

As content producers, we aren’t necessarily faced with a language barrier like this. But we are faced with an audience that has infinite entertainment and reading options at their disposal, which might as well be the same thing. It’s important to think like Robin and say exactly what you want in the most concise way possible.

It’s a cliché to say that brevity is the soul of wit, but it’s true. Especially when you’re dealing with branded content; in these scenarios your audience is already only half-invested. Draw them in with strong, short content and you’ll get them back.

Here’s a great example: this blog could go on longer, but it’s over now. Concise! Rock out:

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