Educating people is important. Not everyone spends all of their online time shopping for the latest gadget or seeing what their friends are doing on social media. Instead, they’re also learning things. They want to read about the world, search for something they heard about but aren’t sure of, and generally just find out things that are interesting to them.
But if the educational content they find is as dry as many textbooks, they aren’t going to want to keep reading. The content also needs to entertain them. You really can mix the two, but you need to do it the right way. Here’s what to consider when you’re putting out educational content, so you can also keep your readers engaged and entertained.
Many Companies are Doing it Right
If you provide educational content that’s also entertaining, you won’t be the first. There are a lot of companies that balance this very well, and know how to do it the right way. But they had to learn that skill, and it’s something you can do, as well. Think about the Charmin commercial. We know we just asked you to consider toilet paper, but stay with us here.
The company is clear about the kind of product they offer, and they educate you on its softness and durability. But they also use cute bears and suggest you should “Enjoy the Go.” It’s educational and it gives you information on their product and why you should use it, but it’s also entertaining and amusing. That keeps you watching or reading their copy. And it also encourages you to buy their product, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. No matter what you’re selling, you can combine humor or other forms of entertainment with your educational information.
Subaru and their driving dogs, the Farmers’ Insurance Hall of Claims, and the Snickers “Hangry” commercials are all part of educational content that is entertaining, as well. It makes people smile, it makes them feel something, and it makes them pay attention. They remember the product from the commercial, and they remember the commercial when they see the product in the store. That association is what helps that product sell.
You Can Be One of Those Companies
You can be a company that educates customers about your product and also entertains them with what you have to offer. It’s harder to do if you’re selling caskets than it is if you’re selling kid’s toys, but it can still be done. It just has to be handled in a little bit different manner.
Entertaining usually means “funny” to most people, but it doesn’t have to. Entertaining can mean enjoyable in many different ways, and is often captivating. People get excited about learning when you offer them “edutainment” – a combination of education and entertainment.
Educational Doesn’t Have to Mean Dry or Boring
You don’t want your content to be dry and boring. If it is, people aren’t going to read it. It’s too much like a textbook at that point. At least, they aren’t going to read it all the way to the end. And that means they aren’t really getting the message they need to from it. With that in mind, you want to hook them from the first paragraph and keep them focused. There are a few ways different ways you can do that, including:
- Tell them a story
- Make them laugh
- Share something inspiring
- Give a personal anecdote (just not too personal!)
- Provide them with a fun or interesting fact
Anything that starts off engaging your readers will have a higher chance of pulling them in and keeping them reading. Just remember to continue keeping it interesting. You don’t want two paragraphs of greatness followed by dusty, textbook-level facts. That’s sure to send readers running to the next website.
Avoid the Stuff That Can Turn Readers Away
When you try to educate and entertain at the same time, there are always pitfalls to consider. One of those is pushing the humor too far and offending people. It’s true that you don’t know what each person might be offended by, but there are some things you should be very careful when “joking” about – because most people aren’t going to find it funny.
Really, you probably should avoid things like race and religion altogether. Maybe politics, too. Oh, and sex, unless you’re writing about a product that’s specifically related to that activity. Give them something they don’t expect, but don’t give them something that’s too shocking or graphic. Make sure you’re not making fun of them, either. It’s much better to poke fun at a particular part of life, than it is to poke fun at the people experiencing it.
Michelle B writes web content, articles, blog posts, product descriptions, and more, and has created thousands of pieces of content for companies all over the world. She holds an associate’s degree in business management and a bachelor’s degree in legal administration.