I’m going to be honest with you… August is not my favorite month.
I live in the Midwest, and August brings us some of the hottest days of the year.
If you’ve never experienced a hot, humid summer day in the Midwest, here’s a fun game to play. Sit in your cool, comfortable house and fill a large bucket with warm water. Now mix in about a cup of honey so the water is just a little bit sticky. Got it?
Okay, now, step out the front door of your cool, comfortable house, and immediately dump the bucket of sticky warm water over your head. Feel how it makes your clothes stick to your skin? Notice that immediate need to go back inside and take another shower?
Welcome to the Midwest in August!
So… what does any of this have to do with you and your business?
Well, there is one other thing that happens in August: the kids go back to school. I know for some people, this is their favorite part of the year. No more bored kids lazing around on the couch. It’s a new year, new classes, new teachers, new adventures.
That makes August a great time to start thinking about what – and HOW – you are educating your audience.
Don't Just Educate, Edutain
The term “edutainment” was first coined in the ‘40s by none other than the Walt Disney corporation. The purpose of this so-called edutainment was to educate the audience while keeping it fun and exciting at the same time.
This is exactly what your readers want from you. And luckily, you don’t have to be Walt Disney to make that happen.
Here are a few easy tricks to take your content from blah to ta-da!
1.) Tell a personal story.
Relate your information back to something personal to you. Even if your audience can’t directly relate to your experience, it will still help them feel more connected to you and your message.
2.) Write conversationally.
You are not writing a formal essay. Sure, I will argue for proper spelling and grammar, but your content does not need to read like a college thesis. Imagine you were telling the information to a friend or family member. How would you say it out loud to them?
3.) Put yourself in their shoes.
Pretend you are the audience consuming your content. Did you fall asleep halfway through the first paragraph? It doesn’t matter how important your message is… if it’s boring, people will tune out.
4.) Less is more.
Okay, feel free to call me out here. I am fully aware of my long-winded tendencies. I have accepted this as who I am, but I really do try and edit myself, believe it or not. To keep your audience engaged, try and limit your sentences to 20 words or less. Make your point, then move on. Like I’m going to do right now…
5.) Lighten up.
I get it. Not all business endeavors are well-suited to a frivolous, comedic atmosphere. But being entertaining does not mean you have to be witty or clever or funny. It simply means you need to lighten up the message a bit.
Putting It All Together
So, let's start with an example of what not to do:
“I’m Marie, and I’d like to tell you about my business. I have a lemonade stand on the corner of 5th and Main. I sell lemonade for $1.00 a cup between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Please come and buy some lemonade.”
Hmm. Technically, I have provided all the necessary information to my readers and potential lemonade consumers. BUT… it’s not very interesting. I have educated them about my business, but I have not edutained them.
Let’s try that again:
“I’m Marie, and ever since I was a kid, I have always loved the taste of lemons. In fact, my mom used to tease me, saying it was a miracle I was so sweet considering how many sour lemons I had consumed. Now, I’m turning my love of lemons into, well, lemonade! For just a $1.00 per cup, you can join me in the sweet life down on 5th and Main. I’m here every day from 10 am to 3 pm, and I’ll have a refreshing, ice cold glass waiting for you!”
Now, for some of you, all of this is a no-brainer. Livening the conversation comes naturally, so you are ready to rock and roll on this topic. But… this is not the case for everyone. Some people struggle with – and have to really work at – making this happen. It’s okay. We’ve got your back!
Having trouble incorporating edutainment into your content? Tell us about your struggles in the comments section below, and we’ll give you some feedback and advice!
I am a working mom with a degree in Business Administration. My career passions include hunting down pesky commas and exploring the dark underbelly of Microsoft Word. I live to edit and edit to live!
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