Poor Dr. Oz got himself into trouble a while back because he shifted his focus from real medicine and health issues to promoting unproven weight loss supplements. His reason? He was trying to engage his audience. There’s no doubt that having a highly reknowned medical authority come out on national television and tell about a new “magic” cure to the obesity crisis would lead to higher ratings and therefore more cash for the network. But, when those products aren’t proven or regulated, it’s not the best idea to back them with your mouth or your money.
Even then, I was nearly convinced to try a few of the so called miracle pills to shrink off my stubborn belly roll. Everytime I see the chocolate covered acai berries I want to buy them, and have bought them, because perhaps it will help. Note to self: chocolate covered anything will not lead to weight loss, duh.
One of the most sensitive topics for people these days is their weight. It’s sad, but true. The American lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to a trim midsection by any stretch of the imagination. Anything that talks about weight loss is a guaranteed success, whether it be a TV show, book, or even this blog.
What got Dr. Oz in trouble is that he was standing in the role of a medical doctor and using that to legitimize the products he was promoting and he did it because he knew that people were hungry to hear about it.
You can engage your audience without stepping into this trap. For those of you who use social media, what was the last thing you clicked through to read while on Facebook or Twitter? For those of you who don’t, what was the last thing that caught your attention, that made you want to read more?
Some things are universally engaging, human interest stories, cute puppies, and celebrities doing naughty things tend to catch our attention. For sports fans it might be news about the last big game, or perhaps an in-depth feature of a favorite player. For writers it can be links about how to better our prose or find a publisher. The point is you can find interesting things that are engaging to write about whether it be in a piece of fiction or a blog post. The trick is to identify those things that you are interested in and would want to read about and then put your own spin on it.
What will you do to engage your audience?
This post was inspired by the always funny John Oliver on the Last Week Tonight Show, when he tackled the Dr. Oz issue. Here’s the video if you want to see it: