We’ve all experienced that awkward moment where someone makes a joke and no one laughs. If you can’t think of a personal example, watch any episode of the Office, Michael Scott provides plenty!
As writers, we are told to treat humor with kid gloves — use it with extreme caution, because chances are you will offend or ostracize part of (if not all of) your audience.
For me this has always been difficult. I’m naturally a very, very funny person. It has always been a struggle for me to keep sarcasm out of my professional writing. If you have ever read my personal blog, you’ll find it in droves there.
Unfortunately, with content marketing a poorly-timed or in-bad-taste joke, can take your campaign downhill fast! However, when executed correctly, humor can drive traffic to your site, get you noticed and start a conversation around your work.
So, how can you use humor and ensure that it helps, rather than hinders your brand? Here are a few tips.
Readers connect with messages that speak to their heart. In order for your readers to remember your message, you need to make them feel something — joy, laughter, giddy! When content and comedy collide, there is a better chance your message will be remembered and shared.
Focus on warm, fuzzy things — no, not cats. People are more likely to connect with clean, tasteful comedy, think cute kids, than anything R-rated or risque. While you might get a few laughs with a raunchy joke, clean humor is a bigger net and will appeal to more of your audience. Not everyone loves Amy Schumer, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love this:
Things will get awkward fast if you start trying to force jokes, and nobody wants that. Not everyone is laugh-out-loud funny, but don’t let this discourage you! Take this opportunity to put some of your own personality into your writing.
Ease your way into it, there is no reason to stuff your content with jokes, puns or plays on words. Find other writers who subtly work humor into their writing and slowly, but surely, you will begin to find your rhythm and your own unique brand of content humor will begin to emerge.
And, remember, at the end of the day, your copy editor is your very best friend. If you feel uneasy about something, you can always ask someone to give it a once or twice over.
Know Your Audience
This part will take a bit more research. Before attempting to make jokes, you should understand your audience demographics, so that you can better understand their needs. For example, younger audiences (millennials) are more likely to be loyal to brands that use humor. This doesn’t mean older audiences will turn away from your jokes, it just means you might have to do a little more legwork before diving in.
After you have analyzed your audience, it might take a few hits and misses before you find success. Don’t be afraid to try something, analyze it and revamp your efforts based on the numbers.
Like we mentioned above, finding your comedic groove will take studying and work, don’t let this deter you! Get out there and start cracking jokes.