4 Things You Must Remember When Including Humor in Content
Here’s what your audience might be thinking about your content.
It’s educating. Engaging too. It certainly shows your expertise.
And, it’s boring.
But I bet you don’t realise it.
There are few businesses that manage to pull only serious content and retain large audience. But for the majority, if they don’t include even a touch of humour, their audience is gone.
Why, because your readers might need a break.
And why humour? Because nothing brings people closer together.
Let’s see how it works.
It’s no surprise that 69% of ads in the US would pass for humorous. And half of the ads in the World are considered funny or light-hearted. Humorous ads are more persuasive and memorable.
But that’s not all.
- Humour is a great way to grab the audience’s attention.
- It appeals to their emotions.
- It helps your audience to remember you and
- Humour can go a long way in building relations. After all, we tend to remember a funny thing we watched, heard or experienced.
But using humour in content is difficult
In spite of all its advantages, companies rarely resort to including humour in content marketing. Why, because it’s so damn hard to do.
It’s easy to offend someone
What’s funny for you or your boss might not necessary make your audience laugh. In fact, their reaction can be quite opposite.
In 2013 someone at McDonald’s thought it would be a good idea to poke fun at mental health ads and parodied them with their “You’re Not Alone” banners.
(Picture by David Yamada, used with permission)
Unfortunately, the audience didn’t find the ad funny and the backlash that followed prompted a company to issue an official apology.
It’s hard to be really funny
Humour is also difficult. You may consider yourself hysterical but unfortunately, chances are that your sense of humour isn’t strong enough to get your audience on fire. No offence there.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include humour in your marketing. But always proceed with caution and test your attempts against your intended audience before you hit publish.
It’s hard to believe but someone at Kenneth Cole must have thought this tweet was hilarious.
Wrong humour can impede your customer communication
Lastly, as the two examples above show, wrong humour can hinder your communications and cause stir in your audience that might not be forgotten for years.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include humour in content marketing
Quite the contrary in fact. When you do however, make sure that you keep few simple rules in mind:
1. Always start with your content personas not the content
Here’s the thing with humour, it’s subjective and personal. Moreover, ideas that could work for some people might look plain silly to others.
When you come up with humorous content ideas, start with the audience to ensure that jokes you devise will work for the people you intend them to.
Remember, your humour in content should amuse your target audience not yourself.
2. Be useful
Humorous or not, your piece should communicate something that’s useful to your audience. You could of course post just a bunch of jokes but will they be as effective? Hardly.
If you’re not useful, your content is not going to stick with your audience. Moreover, your point is not going to get across.
3. Pick a topic from your customers’ frustrations
When looking for topics for your content, start by looking at the most common frustrations of your audience. This will make it easier for them to relate to the topic and your message will be easier to decipher.
SERPs SEO cartoons were based on a common gripe many people in the industry have – the misunderstanding of SEO among the C-Suite. And thus “SEO in the boardroom” series was born.
This is the first cartoon we published. Knowing how much the industry suffers from spam SEO companies, we tackled the issue with this humorous piece.
4. Lastly, if you have to poke fun at anyone, make it yourself
Here’s the biggest problem with humour – even if it might seem obvious to you, your audience might not always realise that you’re joking. They can take making fun tongue in cheek at their expense seriously and get offended.
Therefore, when you really have to make fun at someone, take the safest route and poke fun at yourself. This way there’s very little chance of anything going wrong.
Apart from a handful of industries, there’s probably nothing that prevents you from including humour in your content. Of course, there are lines you shouldn’t cross but some moderated humour will enrich your content, grab the audience’s attention, connect you with them and help them remember you.
Creative commons image by JD Hancock / Flickr