Remember the opening crawl in Star Wars? “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Making the audience read was an effective way of bringing even non-science fiction fans up to speed on the fantastical storyline.
Like a movie, your show needs explanation. In storytelling, this is called exposition. Clarity and detail are especially important for new shows. Established programs have to consider making their content accessible to a larger audience beyond dedicated P1 fans, including:
- Secondary and casual audience
- First-time audience
- People unfamiliar with your topic or subject matter
- Newcomers to your city
At certain crucial points, think of yourself as like a flight attendant giving pre-flight demonstrations on seatbelts. Someone out there still needs that explanation.
Names. The audience forms an emotional bond once they know your name. Use your partner’s name intentionally in conversation to speed awareness. Reserve use of the word, “you” for addressing the audience. Use descriptors for lesser-known characters like, “my husband, John” or “Carly, our meteorologist.” On sports shows, describe the player’s team and position – “Patriots quarterback Tom Brady” — when initially bringing up their name.
Your first words. How you begin is crucial. Start segments with a half-sentence summary of the topic. Be clear instead of creative, select verbiage thoughtfully, avoid big words and dumb it down. Once the topic is established you can improvise and be more conversational.
Resetting. When revisiting previous content, take a moment to bring everyone up to speed. Most of your audience was probably not around for the previous segment or podcast.
Benchmarks. Along with the name, give a one-sentence explanation of the feature. Instead of just, 7 On Your Side…add, “where a viewer suggests a problem that needs attention and we investigate.”
Add a clip. A picture or audio is worth 1000 words. Instead of describing a moment from a TV show, film or sporting event, air a sample of that moment.