"Don't bait fishhooks with what you like to eat, bait them with what fish like to eat." -- Lord Baden Powell, Boy Scouts Founder
An application of this quote is something called "benefit based" advertising. When you advertise a show you list the things that your target audience will like about your show. Leave out those things that you like. In 1993 I was honored by the World Clown Association as their Clown of the Year. For a while I listed that in my promotional material, including my business card. Then I realized that people considering booking my performances did not care about that because they didn't know anything about the World Clown Association. They had no way of knowing the criteria for the award. I replaced that line with the phrase "Creating Happy Memories that Last a Lifetime" and got better response.
I use the same concept in writing descriptions of my variety arts classes. I focus on the benefits the student will receive from the class. For example, I am doing a session called "Jest Because" at the WCA Convention next month in Borneo. I needed a short capsule description for the program. I focused on two benefits to the student when I wrote, "Jest Because -- Modern research has confirmed that humor and laughter positively impacts creativity and health. Learn why your work as a clown is important because of its benefits to others and learn how to more consciously use humor to improve your life."
I can write about benefits when I do descriptions because I keep them in mind when creating my classes. For example, other entertainers have commented on the customized silk scarves that I make for some of my performances. I realized that they wished they could do the same thing. The process that I originally used was complicated. I didn't think the majority of students would use that process. Then I discovered a simpler way of making some scarves that I felt anybody can learn to use. I have begun teaching that method in some of my classes, and have heard from students who used that method to make their own customized scarves.
I always start work on a class by deciding what would benefit the students and then choosing something that will provide that. For example, I know that in card magic learning to force, which means controlling which card will be chosen, is an important skill. I know several methods and select the one I think the students in that class would benefit from the most. When teaching a class on card magic for caring clowns I teach a method that complies with infection control guidelines because you are the only one to touch the cards. I also want students to learn that picking a card is not a trick. The entertaining part is how you reveal the identity of the selected card. For that reason I usually teach several revelations for each method of forcing a selection.
I select the routines that I use in my shows based on what I think the audience will like. I use the same concept when planning a meeting. I try to select elements that the attendees will like. In my training as a Cubmaster my instructors stress that during a scout meeting the boys don't like announcements and the parents don't like announcements. The only person who likes announcements is the person making them because they get to be in the spotlight. The longer the announcements continue the less time there is for things the boys and parents do like. While attending meetings and conferences of variety arts organizations I have frequently seen the educational program, which is what members are interested in, cut drastically because the announcement portion took too long. It is my experience those groups struggle due to declining attendance. (The Scout program recommends keeping verbal announcements to a minimum by utilizing printed announcements.)
When you design your promotional material are you including things you like or that your target audience will like? What benefits can you provide potential clients? How can you put that into writing? When you teach a class what things will your students enjoy and benefit from? If you run meetings for a variety arts organization how can you focus on those things that your members like?