What Makes Content Compelling?

It’s a short list

I always say that air talent has about the toughest job in show business. You’ve got to produce entertaining — compelling — content a few times each hour, several hours each day, without a staff of writers and producers.

How do the best do it?

They understand the basic recipe which all compelling content has in common:

  1. Human stories. The triumph and tragedy of others’ lives is a powerful attractant when shared by a skilled narrator.
  2. Fear. It’s hardwired in our brains to be alert to any threat, and we don’t always distinguish between actual threats and imagined ones. That’s why zombie shows and horror movies are so popular.
  3. Hope. When you share hope, you give your listener an opportunity to feel there’s a way out of their problems. Think about the enormous popularity of The Secret.

So when you’re racking your brain prepping for tomorrow’s show, make sure whatever you design has at least two of those three ingredients.

Mindless fluff is fine now and then but if you want your listeners to remember what they heard, and tell others about it, you need to be compelling.