(By Randy Lane) Two words separate good shows from great shows: What else? Once you have a good idea, what else can you add to give it more impact?
Last week in Content Ideas we reviewed the most important five minutes after your show that we call The Post-Show Review. Now, let’s look at the Pre-Show Checklist and a deeper look at the what else factor. What else is the fourth component of our Execution Rule of Four. After you’ve planned your show, asking “what else” to every content segment can propel it from good to great.
The Pre-Show Checklist
1. Does the content segment contain at least one A-level premise?
• Humor: Humor trumps all content premises.
• Stories: They captivate the audience and they’re memorable.
• Conflict: But is the word that leads to conflict. (My husband wants a dog, but I don’t).
• Drama: Is there an emotional connection with the audience, or is someone displaying emotion through their voice? Is there vulnerability?
2. The beginning and end: The takeoff and landing are the two most critical points in airline flights. The same is true in every content segment. How are you taking off, and how are you landing?
• The 8-second grab: Plan an attention-grabbing headline to engross the audience within the first eight seconds of the segment (the average attention span, according to Microsoft). Example: “My husband and I almost died on our Hawaiian vacation!”
• The impactful exit: Even for the most successful shows, the difficult part of executing content is a memorable exit. Closing the segment on a high note (conflict resolution, a hearty laugh, the conclusion of a great story) rather than missing the exit requires keen intuition and judgment. Many shows will continue commentary and the segment will fizzle out.
3. Multiple segment content: Can this content extend to a second or third segment to increase time-spent-listening? Move the audience to the next segment by preparing captivating teases on each exit.
4. Serial content: Set up a scenario that pays off today AND sets up a continuing mystery that will be resolved at the same time tomorrow. Nielsen ratings are powered by tune-ins. So, increasing the number of days on average that people listen directly influences ratings.
5. Create a video that will potentially go viral.
6. Pattern breakers: Re-engage the audience’s attention by planning elements to break up monologues and dialogues. Examples:
• Audio: Sound bites, movie & TV excerpts, sound effects, thematic music, etc.
• Caller interaction: Callers chiming in on discussions, interactive games the audience can play along to.
• Guests: Experts who can shed light on a subject.
• Lightning-rod statements/stances taken by a show host or caller.
• Dramatic pauses: To accentuate points.
• Challenges: Between hosts, callers, guests, an entity, or the audience. I learned this technique from the late and great Kidd Kraddick, who never stopped at a good idea. He would drive his team crazy asking, “What else?” multiple times, forcing them to stretch boundaries.
Continue to ask the what else question and you’ll discover new ways to create killer content.