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Knock knock.

Who’s there?

A start to some sort of joke in relation to content marketing.

A start to some-… you get it.  Insert the punchline and a well timed laugh track here.  I think I’ll choose the Seinfeld laugh track complete with that quirky music in the background.

Lately, the consensus in the copy marketing game is to be more personable in your writing.  You want your writing to tell a story that will stick with your audience and keep them talking.  While it’s important to share information, the message in a bottle for content marketing this year is “quality” over “quantity.”  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, be creative and — heck — be funny. Entertain your readers and let them have fun while they read your work.

 

Humor and content marketing: a perfect match in the newlywed game

Back when I was in college I had an English teacher tell me that you had to grab someone’s attention in the first sentence of your story.  This is because there are so many stories out there that if you don’t hook your reader in that instance, they won’t continue reading.  Despite the vast amount of information that you put in your content marketing article, without that first good hook in your article it’s not going to engage your readers.

This is where humor comes in.

Becky Tumidolsky wrote an article for the website “Words in Effect” in regards to humor and content marketing.  The article, called, “Why so serious?  Five reasons why B2B humor is good for business,” makes its intent right off the bat with its title using a quote from the Joker from the Christopher Nolan Batman movies.  The quote “why so serious” is legendary, having been quoted time and time again from a number of sources.  Even before we get into the article, it already has a humorous, personal touch, engaging the reader and urging them to read more.  In her article she touches on five key reasons for humor in your content:  it resonates, it engages intellect, it leaves a lasting impression, it makes marketers more likable, and it differentiates you from the other “industry stiffs.”

 

Caution: not all humor is good humor (but Good Humor is a good ice cream company)

There is a fine line between good humor and humor that gets lost on your audience.  There’s a fine line between being genuinely humorous and trying way too hard to get a smile from your readers.  Let’s look at the 2014 Superbowl for an example.  Like most companies, JC Penney decided to tweet during the game.  A good idea, but unfortunately their tweets looked less than professional. In fact, the general consensus was that they were either hacked or drunk.  Later, the company revealed that they were “tweeting with mittens,” which was the reason for the poor grammar.

Was it funny?  Well, perhaps after the fact, but a lot of sources revealed being more confused then charmed.  Aimee Picchi of CBSNews.com wrote about the incident, her headline revealing that the company’s tweeting plan “backfired.”  She sited other companies like Kia Moters America chiming in, asking JC Penney if they needed a designated driver.  While the tweets certainly got a lot of hits, having an overall response of, “Huh,” is not exactly the marketing you want.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be witty to draw attention to your article.  Take Brian Clark of “Copyblogger.com.”  Recently, he wrote an article called, “Does Your Copy Pass the ‘Forehead Slap’ Test?”  Right away, it speaks to you.  We tend to slap our foreheads when we realize something that should’ve been obvious.  “Of course,” insert forehead slap, “I left my keys on the kitchen counter!”  So how does this “test” relate to copy marketing?  The only way to find out is to read the article.

You can also be blunt with your humor.  Let’s look at Neil Patel of the website “Quick Sprout.”  Recently, he wrote an article called, “How to Steal Your Competitor’s Facebook Fans.”  It takes you off guard because of how blunt it is, but at the same time, there’s a bit of a curious charm to it.  Are they really suggesting that you steal something from someone else?  Is that an ethical course of action in the content marketing game?  The only way to find out is to click the link.

 

The last laugh

The most important thing to take out of this article is to have fun with your content marketing.  The content marketing audience of today wants to feel like they’re having a comfortable conversation, not a lecture that makes them feel like they’re in a required college course at eight in the morning.  At the same time, you don’t want to be funny for the sake of being funny.  Write about something you enjoy within content marketing and give it a light, humorous air.  Don’t force the joke into your writing, just let it flow with your work.  It’s the difference between seeing a comedian you actually like versus your grandfather telling you to pull his finger.  You humor him because he’s your grandfather, but you haven’t laughed about it in years.

Your audience isn’t going to humor you and pull your finger.