(The Art of the Sale Using Education and Entertainment)
“The definition of good copy is to cause a person to exchange his or her hard-earned money for a product or service.”
-Joseph Sugarman’s – The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
The Art of Edutainment
Have you ever read something and then stopped immediately because you weren’t interested or entertained? I believe your answer is “Yes.” Me, too. Probably daily. Blogs, newsletters, posts or even the back of a cereal box must have words that speak to us in a straightforward and engaging way. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me buy. Make me feel something.
With a handheld computer always within arm’s reach (cuz that’s what a cell phone is), we’re constantly barraged with information, images, and sales pitches vying for our attention. In this day of iPhones, tablets, and fast food, we’ve lost the ability to be patient and present and are easily distracted. I get irked when I go to Little Caesars and the Hot-N-Ready isn’t hot and ready when I walk in. The nerve.
When it comes to music, the great songwriter/philosopher Tom Petty was quoted as saying, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” In other words, I want to be vested in this from the git go or you’re wasting my time and time is my most valuable commodity.
Where was I?
Oh, it’s no secret that attention spans have dropped over the years. According to a 2018 article in digitalinformationworld:
“The average human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish’s — seriously. A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 (or around the time smartphones hit the scene) to eight seconds today. In comparison, scientists believe that the goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds.”
Just try and have a conversation (if you can get them to look up from their phone) with your teenager. Nine seconds is a major accomplishment, and all the while they stare at you, mouth slack, like a goldfish.
Educate and Entertain
So how do we capture the attention of potential customers or clients with our words?
This is where the term Edutainment comes into play, because this is what you need to do. Our job is to educate our clients and entertain them at the same time. The idea of selling shouldn’t even enter your mind until much later. Let’s build the know, like, and trust factors first. It’s like the proverbial frog in the pot. If you throw the frog into boiling water, he’ll surely jump out. If you slowly turn up the heat… well, frog legs for dinner.
Take a looksee at the television program Forensic Files. Not only is it morbidly entertaining, in a car-wreck on the side of the road sort of way, but it also educates us that no matter how smart we think we are, crime doesn’t pay.
Everybody Loves Free Stuff
I’m sure most people (me included) have been to Costco. It’s like a huge rat maze where they continually move stuff, daring you to find it, but give you a treat on every aisle, so you don’t go postal. Free stuff is the bomb, right? People will almost always stop for “free.”
You may believe the adage that “Nothin’ in life is free,” and ask why you should give away your time, talent, or knowledge without lining the ‘ole pockets. You might say, well, Kenny, I’m running a business not a charity.
Hold on, fella. Let me give you a few reasons to give something away for free.
Free stuff will help you…
- Direct traffic to your website
- Convince clients you’re an expert in your chosen field
- Gain trust
- Increase sales
Not good enough? How about because it makes good business sense. The free exchange of information is what the Internet is all about. Ask Google how that’s working out.
So, how do I go about giving (add begrudging inner voice) my life away?
Video is poised to become the number one way of sharing, and it’s free, unless you choose to boost (don’t) posts or use Facebook (excellent and cost effective if you understand how to use it) Ads.
If you’re trying to gain followers, who will in time hopefully become potential clients, you need to become proficient at making videos. The video revolution has been underway for a while, so get on or get left behind.
Some of you might be deathly afraid of the camera and speaking. No problem. Find a friend or employee who’s comfortable in the spotlight. To plagiarize Nike, just do it.
My advice to you is start with little one-minute Facebook Live video teasers. During those 60 seconds, deliver some gratis knowledge bombs. Help solve your customer’s problem. That’s it. No 20-minute sales presentation.
Write Engaging Copy
I’m sure I just heard a sigh of relief. Some of you said to yourselves, finally he’s going to solve my bad copy problems. Other less patient goldfish have already swum to the other side of the bowl and are staring at the wall like teenagers. Pity. Patience is a virtue, and virtues suddenly seem to be in short supply.
No matter what you’re writing, a blog or script for short video, spice it up. Spaghetti with plain tomato sauce is bland and boring and goes unnoticed. Add a dash of Parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano, and Italian sausage and your family will return for seconds. Guaranteed. Now, do that with your words (copy).
So, whether your spices are in the form of humor, valuable information, free offers, or just your charming personality and wit, EDUTAIN your clientele. Be memorable, be funny, be generous, but above all, be human. Be you.
There are enough bots on the Internet.