Think of some of your favorite songs, what do they all have in common? Most likely they all have a great hook that gets stuck in your head after hearing it just once, the beat catches you as soon as you press play, and the lyrics are relatable and make you FEEL the song.
Melody, rhythm, lyrics and harmony are the elements of a song. As you are writing, you should pay close attention to those elements, and make sure that you fulfill each one. Instead of just hearing a beat, and saying whatever comes to the top of your head, spend more time planning and finding the purpose of your song. Hit songs usually catch a listener in the first few seconds and keep you listening until the end.
One of the most important aspects is the hook. EVERY hit song has a very catchy hook. This might be one of the first things you want to write, and then write the rest of the song based off of your hook. Or if you are a singer/songwriter, sometimes it’s better if you start by figuring out the actual melody of the entire song and then begin writing your lyrics.
While writing a song, there are some questions that you should ask yourself along the way. What is the story that you are telling? Whatever your story is, you need to draw the listener in and keep their attention from beginning to end. What message would you like to bring across? The best songs have a real meaning behind them. Also, is your song formatted correctly? While I believe there is no right or wrong way to write a song, the typical song is usually formatted like this: intro/verse/hook/verse/hook/bridge/hook out. You can also try – hook/verse/hook/verse/hook/bridge/hook out. There are a few others, but those are the most common. Experiment with the formats to see what is the most powerful and interesting for your song.
All in all, it seems like the key to a hit song is simple, put in some EFFORT. Do not rush your creativity. Appreciate the music instead of just singing or rapping the first thing that comes to mind. Ask yourself, do you make songs or do you make hits?
Check out this dope video from Ryan Leslie. His song ‘Gibberish’ is a perfect example of the songwriting process.