First of all, why would you want to use humour in your writing in the first place?
Making jokes hardly seems like a professional copywriting technique does it?
Well, the fact is that humour CAN be a very, very effective marketing technique. It’s always been useful in writing and advertising but social media means that it is now one of the most powerful writing techniques (thanks to the marvellous invention that is the ‘share’!).
Here’s why humour is such a useful tool in content marketing:
* It works. It stands out. If your primary aim is to get your content read (and it should be) it works. People are much more likely to read funny stuff.
* It gets remembered. People remember and recall humorous things much more readily than things that aren’t.
* It builds that rapport with the consumer that’s so important today. If people read something humorous and laugh, or even just smile, you’ve got them hooked.
* It is much more likely to be shared. People have always shared humorous things, such as jokes, but social media has made anything humorous more shareable than ever before.
You don’t need to take my word for it. Humorous stuff is one of the most, if not THE most, shareable things ever. Have a look for yourself and see. (Cats v cucumbers is one of my personal if slightly cruel favourites. Take a look at cats v cucumbers on YouTube if you don’t know what I mean .)
If you want to use humour in your content writing here are a few things to bear in mind:
* Is it relevant? For maximum results the humour should be relevant to whatever you’re talking about, whether your product or service or whatever. If you just use humour gratuitously, as a cheap crowd pleaser if you like, if won’t be as effective.
* Is it appropriate? In some cases it definitely isn’t, other cases are a bit borderline. Remember that in the online world it’s very easy to offend people, and the backlash can be considerable if you overstep the mark.
Here’s a piece I wrote about the dangers of offending people with your copywriting: Read it here.
It’s often said there is no such publicity as bad publicity though!
* Is it actually funny? Humour is a very individual thing – although shared humour is a great way of building rapport – if your humour isn’t humorous it could come across as just plain odd.
Here are a couple of ways to deal with the possible pitfalls of using humour in your content:
* Know your audience – or get to know your audience – before you actually write anything funny. In any case, knowing your audience is one of the very best ways of writing engaging copy.
* Experiment. Try your humour out, slowly at first. Try dropping a few witty little comments into your copy before going all out with your best gut-busting jokes. See what works and what doesn’t.
One more point, think carefully before using full on humour in your headlines. Puns are often not a good idea in headlines either. It’s tricky enough to write good headlines without having to try and work a joke or whatever into it too. Humour in headlines can be terrible for SEO too.
I ought to add, my sense of humour is bizarre. It can be funny haha and funny peculiar, often both at the same time. Think of it as a combination of dreamy and romantic and dry and cutting all at the same time. That probably makes me a terrible person to be a humorous content writer but if you fancy risking it for your content, well, just give me a shout.
Mark Hempshell is a copywriter and content marketer. You can find more useful articles on copywriting and content marketing here: www.markhempshell.com