What you need,

baby. I got it.

What you need,

do you know I got it?

All I’m asking

is for a little respect.

Now, I’m sure that most of you recognize that little ditty as a song by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. That’s what we’re going to talk about today – giving your content a little bit of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

The Queen of Soul did that song in 1967, but did you know that somebody else recorded it first? It was actually recorded and written by Otis Redding, who was Sitting at the Dock of the Bay. Aretha did it two years later in 1967.

Now, Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but she was crowned the Queen of Soul in Detroit, Music City. In the course of her lifetime, she recorded almost 30 albums and performed in eight films before she died in August of 2018.

This story is about respect, and I certainly respect that woman, man. She was amazing. But respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or some thing elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Obviously, Aretha achieved a lot.

I think we all want to achieve something, too. We want to earn respect from our listeners, from our viewers, wherever we’re creating content and trying to get people’s attention.

There are three things you need to know about respect.

  1. It has to be earned. It’s not something that just comes out of a box.
  2. Content needs to be respected in order to be viewed as credible. In other words, you as the author have to have some relevance to the content. You can’t be an expert on something that you’ve never done, right?
  3. The next thing – people respect consistency. When Aretha stood up and got on stage, man, you knew what you were going to get.

When you’re providing content, you have to do the same thing. Here’s what I’m suggesting – give your content a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.


Let’s start with the R. R stands for research. Now, I had to go into Wikipedia and some other websites to research all of the information about Aretha Franklin. No, I didn’t know that she was from Memphis. I did know she recorded in Detroit. I didn’t know her mother moved to Buffalo. Not all of that information is important, but I still researched it so I knew what I was talking about. That’s what you have to do. You have to find information, stats, quotes, whatever you can to bolster your information. The more you give people some good solid base behind what you’re saying, the more they’re going to respect it.


Next is E, experience. Personal stories add so much to credibility. I could talk about Aretha Franklin because I owned a recording studio, I actually sang on some national jingles, and I’ve been a musician, pretty much, my entire life. I understand music from a different perspective. That, my friends, is adding credibility through experience.


The S if for sympathy. You have to show that you care about your listeners. I don’t know whether you like rhythm and blues music, but I think everybody can agree that there are certain people in music that formulated just about everything. From rock to rap to whatever. You may not care about Aretha Franklin, but I want you to know I care about you and your music.


The P stands for purpose. Your audience asks itself, “Why does this matter to me?” I think my podcast and blog matter to you because you need to put yourself in the position of the end user, the consumer, the listener, the reader, and get inside their head. You need to say what’s important to them and figure out how to get your message across.


This E stands for education. People love education. They want to learn something. I don’t think you come here and listen to me for 10 minutes because you like the sound of my voice, right? You want to learn something. People love bulleted lists and they love steps. I’m giving you seven steps today. The R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Those are my, “Seven Steps to Getting Respect for Your Content.”


The C is for context. You have to show results or proof of concept. The way that we can measure that is through things like Google Analytics or through likes, clicks, shares, and comments on your blog posts inside of social media. You want to show that certain things have better results than other things. So no matter what you’re trying to do in getting your message across, make sure that you have some way to show measurable results. That’s the context.


Finally, takeaways. People love to have something actionable. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go back and read a piece of content that you’ve either written or recorded and see if you can find the R-E-S-P-E-C-T in there.


Have you done the research? Did you go and see if you could find some supporting materials behind what you’re going to talk about? Do you have experience with it? Is it something that you have actively done? People pay more attention when you’ve been there and done that. Does your piece have sympathy? Will it resonate in the minds and the hearts of the people that you’re speaking to? Does it come through with a purpose? By making people feel akin with your purpose, they’re more likely to come back for more, or, better yet, share it with their friends. Do you provide education? Are you giving people step by step information that they can use? Is there context? Can you show proof of concept, results – something that says it’s worth the time to do? Then, finally, what action are you asking people to take? Even more importantly, are they willing to take the steps necessary to do what you’re suggesting? That, my friends, is giving your content a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Final Thoughts

Now, let me give you a couple of final fun facts about all of this. Number one, you may or may not have known that Aretha Franklin was in the movie, The Blues Brothers. The guitar player and the bass player in the band for The Blues Brothers were Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn. Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn were in the original band that recorded Respect with Otis Redding. The lead singers for The Blues Brothers were Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Now, here’s another fact. In high school, one of my light men, his name was Bill Belushi, John’s little brother. That, my friends, is how I get six degrees from (Kevin) BACON to Aretha Franklin.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?