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  • Julie Levitch

"Don't You" Forget about Your Content Writer

For Gen Xers like me, a song that undeniably defines our generation is the hit spawned from the movie The Breakfast Club—“Don’t You (Forget about Me)” by Simple Minds. It still conjures up images in my mind of angst-ridden John Bender (Judd Nelson) with his fist in the air, whenever I hear it on the radio.

But despite its chart-topping success and status as an iconic teen anthem, “Don’t You” nearly didn’t get recorded. And the backstory of the song not only reflects the title, it also describes an experience that countless B2B content writers face each day—being forgotten during planning meetings.

Back in 1984, “Don’t You” was written by producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Schiff while the duo was scoring The Breakfast Club. Being big fans of Simple Minds, they wrote the song with the band in mind, and Forsey presented a demo of it to the band’s label, A&M Records.

A&M thought the song had hit potential and invited Forsey backstage after a Simple Minds show to meet the band and discuss the possibility of recording the song.

But, oops!

A&M never bothered to notify Simply Minds that he was coming. The missed connection resulted in the band declining the song. Disappointed that Simple Minds turned it down, Forsey shopped the song around to Bryan Ferry, The Fixx, and even Billy Idol. But it just wasn’t a good fit for any of them.

Months passed, and Forsey attempted again to reach out to Simple Minds. This time the band’s front man, Jim Kerr was reluctant to record a song that wasn’t their own material. Finally, after coaxing from A&M and Jim’s wife at the time, Chrissy Hynde (lead vocalist and guitarist from the Pretenders), the band grudgingly recorded the song. And it went on to become their biggest hit.

Bring the Creators in Early The moral of the story of “Don’t You” is that it’s crucial to bring the creators in at the earliest stage of a project’s development. If Simple Minds had been notified that the songwriter was going to meet them backstage, the song probably wouldn’t have been bounced around to other artists. And Jim Kerr might have had a more favorable initial reaction to recording the song.

Like with song development, the creation of content takes a team of people. Subject matter experts, demand gen, web publishers, SEO experts, and designers all play a role in turning an idea into a well-crafted asset.

But First and Foremost, Content Requires a Writer Without a writer, content doesn’t get created—just like a song without a band to record it. Yet far too often, writers are left out of preliminary planning meetings where messaging and strategy are discussed. Instead, they’re brought in long afterwards, sometimes having little to no interaction with those who want the content. It not only hinders the ability of the writer to create something of quality; it’s a recipe for making a writer feel left out and not important.

Why Do Writers Get Excluded? Over the years, I’ve heard plenty of answers to this question, and none really add up. More often than not, writers are left off meeting invites because they’re simply forgotten. And this probably goes hand-in-hand with the fact that we’re among the most solitary and independent of employees, rarely creating attention for ourselves.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re not important. Actually, when it comes right down to it, we may be the most important individuals in those planning meetings. We’re the ones who have to synthesize what’s being said and transform that into something that hits a very specific target. And that requires skill and a bit of magic, not unlike what Simple Minds did with that song when they finally agreed to record it.

So, “don’t you” forget about your content writer for that next kick off call!

Song of the Day: Don’t You (Forget about Me), Simple Minds

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