Increase audience engagement with the but/therefore rules learned from South Park

Need Engagement? Use the Simple But/Therefore Rule from South Park!

This idea is so simple it’s one of those things that once you know it you wonder why you didn’t already know it.

In a video that crossed my path on social media, I saw a short video where the two creators and head writers of South Park are teaching their “but/therefore” rule to a group of students.

It’s simple. It makes sense. I’ve now tried it with several articles I’ve written (for LinkedIn, blog posts on this website, and my weekly tips email) and (based on a very small sample size) it does seem to grab people’s attention better.

It not only works for South Park, it seems to be working for business blogging too.

Here is the basic idea…..

Every story consists of “blocks” or “elements” (in the video they call them beats).

Each beat has to stand alone.

For them a beat is an interval of a story. Each beat has to be a complete sketch.

For your blogging, a beat is an idea or point.

Beats are strung together with connecting words.

 

Their simple rule is that when you string beats together with either the word “but” or the word “therefore” you keep your audience interested, BUT when you string beats together with any other word, you start to lose your audience.

Below is a link to a video of them explaining this idea to a group of students.

The Trey Parker and Matt Stone But/Therefore Rule

It turns out this is not a new rule. It’s been around for forever (or at least as long as we’ve been telling stories). What these guys did is articulate it in such a way that it’s easy for everyone to understand.

This point is illustrated by my re-writing The Three Little Pigs in an effort to help explain this idea to someone else.

The 3 little pigs all knew the wolf was a danger.

But…. the one pig was really lazy and built a flimsy house out of straw.

Therefore… he was done quickly and got back to playing.

But… the house was so flimsy the wolf literally blew it down.

Therefore… he ran to his brothers house.

But… the brother was also lazy (just a little less so) and built his house out of sticks.

Therefore… it too was flimsy.

Therefore… the wolf blew it down almost as quickly as the straw house.

Therefore… the two pigs ran to the house of their other brother.

But… the other brother planned ahead.

Therefore…. he designed and built a very sturdy house out of bricks.

Therefore… the wolf could not blow it down.

Therefore… the wolf tried to enter through the chimney.

But…. the pigs heard him trying that so they put on a pot of water to boil.

Therefore… when the wolf came down the chimney he landed in the boiling water and died.

Therefore… Learn this lesson…. if you don’t have time to do it right, when will you ever find time to do it over?

You’re probably wondering how this applies to the writing of your blog posts.

The best answer I can give is just give it a try.

If you’d like a second opinion, please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to take a look at your post.

In the meantime….

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