Want to Use Humor Tastefully in Your Content Marketing Plan? Discover the Nuances

On an average, there are thousands of white papers, blogs, infographics, and other forms of content which are being published online daily. It is becoming increasingly challenging for marketers to ensure that their content stands out from the crowd. As a marketer, you may be following the basic guidelines of content marketing, such as creating high-quality content, optimizing the content for search engines, and including appealing images to enhance the content. In spite of these efforts, you may discover that your content is getting lost in the content black hole. If you want to wade through the conundrum and connect with your target audience, you need to inject humor tastefully in the content.

Today people are interested in meaningful and smart content. If you write an informative piece, the audience may quote you. But, if you write a funny piece, the same audience will remember you. By injecting humor, you will not only be successful in establishing a personal connection but also increase the shelf-life of the piece of content. The audience may end up following you or telling their friends about you. Humor allows you to humanize your brand and get closer to the audience. Could you ask for more?

Why humorous content is effective?

Among all the emotions which we experience on a daily basis, it is humor what business communications mostly lack. Few marketers are of the opinion that humor can get risky. Contrary to this belief, it has been seen that humor if executed intelligently has been effective in B2C as well as B2B marketing. Let’s examine how humor can prove to be an effective content strategy:

  • Helps forge a bond: According to psychological studies, humor helps in social bonding. It is an effective way of diffusing tension and it results in stress relief. If you are successful in facilitating laughter or bringing about a wry smile, you can expect the audience to remember your brand for a longer time. Not only will you establish a bond but can also ensure brand loyalty.
  • Promotes virality: You cannot deny the fact that humor is contagious. When we discover something funny, our natural instinct is to share it with someone who will find it equally funny. Compared to dry content, humorous content ranks higher in terms of virality.
  • Creates the right brand voice: Humor can make your brand memorable and invite conversations. Well-placed wit can show off a brand’s personality making you more relatable and engaging. You must take note of the fact that the humorous tone fits your brand’s voice and the target audience. It is necessary that you choose the humorous tone wisely.

Rules for adding a dash of humor

When you decide to use humor in your content strategy, you must bear in mind that everybody is not a natural-born entertainer. It can be challenging to master the rules of comedy. Here are five rules you need to follow to ensure that you use humor in your content without sounding absurd:

  • Start with small projects: At the onset, it is a better idea to start small. A smaller project will involve lesser concerns and risks while providing a fertile ground for promotion of humorous content.
  • Ask the right people for help: To create humorous content, get help from the right people. Some individuals understand the elements which tickle the funny bone better than the rest. You can take help internally from the creative staff. If need arises you can get in touch with an agency. Be on the lookout for naturally funny people in your organization who will understand the nature of content you need to create.
  • Time the content: When you add humor to content, timing is one aspect you cannot ignore. It is recommended that you create and publish an amusing copy early on in the buying cycle, at the top of the funnel. As consumers inch closer towards making the final call, they will need content which is more serious in nature which addresses their concerns and queries.
  • Draw distinct lines: In some extreme cases, humorous content may work against you. This is more likely to occur when entertaining content crosses the lines and is offensive to a section of the audience. When you write something tongue-in-cheek, it is advised that you keep the copy clean and relatable. By steering clear of distasteful jokes and controversial topics you will always stay in the safe zone.
  • Be relatable: Your content should resonate with the audience. Take stock of what your followers respond to and this will give you a clear picture of what will perform well in the future. Use storytelling to close the gap between you and your customers. Infusing humor in stories is easier. By using humor, you can remind the audience that there is humanism behind your brand. Being relatable also helps establish strong business relationships.

Being funny and sensible at the same time

Content which makes the audience chuckle or smile is more likely to stick in their heads. As they share the content on social media, they will view your brand more favorably. According to a recent survey, 56% of Americans prefer ads which make them laugh compared to ads which just give them facts. Adding humor to content is more than a few hilarious tweets. If you use humor incorrectly, it can cause damage to your brand’s reputation. But don’t get discouraged. If you follow the simple strategies discussed below and use common sense, humor will prove to be a profitable tool:

  • Know your audience: Knowing the audience well will give you a clear picture of what they find funny. It will also give you an indication of whether they will respond to your content. Understanding the audience’s sense of humor will take a little research, a bit of reflection, and trial and error. If your audience comprises of internet savvy millennials, you can include memes and GIFs. If your audience is older, you may have to cut down on the edgy humor. Hence, it is important to remember that humor is subjective. You also need to ask yourself whether humor is appropriate for the brand. Some brands may lean towards humor whereas others may prefer to keep their message professional.
  • Strike a genuine note: As you use humor to engage with the audience, make sure that you remain genuine. Younger consumers today are savvy and can see through the falsehoods. They are used to being marketed at every turn. When you use humor to target this age group, it is advised that you remain authentic. Do not pretend to be something you are not.
  • Think about the story: Products may not be funny but the story around how they are used, the people who use them, and the environment in which they are used are. These elements can be turned into something funny if the right angle is chosen. Marketing mostly focuses on selling a product but the customers are keener on knowing how you can make a difference to their lives. Instead of talking about the product, you can consider illustrating the problems which consumers face in a humorous way. Think about how you can tell a story humorously as you may lose your audience if the content is indigestible and boring.
  • Give your brand a personality: Irrespective of the size of business you have, humor can give your brand a personality. When you plan to add a dash of humor to your content, ascertain who you are talking to, be original, use the right judgment, and try being a great storyteller. When you use humor in your messaging, it indicates that you are willing to take risks. It is an important quality which is found in groundbreaking and innovative companies.
  • Use pain for humor: We often laugh when people fall or trip. Comedy in business can be around the pain which one experiences with bosses, committee meetings, and cubicle culture. You can narrow down on the pain points which your prospects are experiencing and use them as an inspiration for humor.
  • Be Concise: Most readers will not want to put in a lot of effort to enjoy your content. Avoid technical and flowery language which will not appeal to the readers. It is best to keep the content concise and combine it with high-quality and unexpected visuals. You may have noticed that cleverly captioned memes always perform well. When your content is fresh and concise, your audience will be more receptive. They are more likely to remember and share succinct and interesting content.

Infusing humor effectively

Getting humor across in writing can be challenging. It may require a lot of effort to earn actual laughs. Whether it is a tweet or a video, make sure that you remain true to your brand. If you veer too far from the brand image, your purpose of connecting with the target audience may just fail. When you write a humorous piece, evaluate it from someone else’s perspective. Seek different opinions before you publish the piece. When you use the power of humor, make sure that you use it strategically. Further, use it sparsely. Limit the humor you use to selective references. The main aim of using humor should be to make a particular point in a creative way and not come across as an entertainer. While you experiment with humor, ensure that you do not lose your focus.

Investing in comedy

Humor can go a long way in establishing rapport and likeability. However, humor needs to be handled right. Being funny online needs you to be direct and swift. At times, cool quotations can work wonders. Take for example this particular tweet, “Do not take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive.” As you dip your toes in a humorous approach do not forget to increase your spend. Instead of spending on a promotion you can invest in a comedy team. Get a comedy writer to write the script or get a video directed by a comedy director. Experts feel that investment in the quality of content can be more impactful than spending on the distribution of content.

Proving the value of humor

If you need to provide metrics to support your tactics of using humor, compare it to the content without comedy. To prove the value of using comedy in your marketing efforts, show that the content you have created has the greater ability to reach more people. With marketing automation tools, you can track the content’s influence. Showing that the humorous content actually influenced and closed deals is an effective way to prove its value.

Humor can be a powerful tool, but only if it is appropriate for your brand. It can be easy to get caught up in the playfulness of creating a funny story on grounds of content marketing. As you experiment with using humor in your brand, make sure that you remain committed to providing value to the customers while maintaining consistency in the brand voice.

This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor