Everyone likes to laugh, right? It makes us feel happy, positive and stimulates our minds and our bodies. From social media posts that have you lolling and viral videos that make you spit tea as far as the eye can see to witty blog posts that give you a cheeky chuckle, content and humour combined can be a powerful tool for building deep connections with audiences.
Using humour in your content can be risky, though. Just like art, comedy is subjective and can be divisive - so what’s funny to you may not be to others. Worse still, it could even cause offense. So, it goes without saying that you need to know when and where to use humour appropriately to make sure you have your audience engaged and not appalled.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help you navigate this potential minefield. Offering helpful tips on how to successfully inject humour into your content, we’ll make sure you deliver that punchline with panache.
Know your audience
Using humour as a brand isn’t that dissimilar to how you’d use it on an individual level. The main aim is to entertain and get a laugh. As a brand, though, you also need it to leverage a connection between your joke, your brand and your audience.
This makes it essential for you to know who you’re talking to, making sure the comedy is audience and brand appropriate. For instance, cracking out some lads’ banter on a luxury blog is not going to resonate with readers or reflect well on your brand. The same can certainly be said for B2B brands - the tone and style of jokes need to be fitting.
Is humour right for your brand?
Have you ever told a joke that’s gone down like a lead balloon? Mortifying, isn’t it? So, next comes the question of whether humour is right for your business - and the simple answer is yes.
Keeping content light-hearted and quirky with a few jokes can work for almost any sector. Just because you may be pushing a corporate product or service doesn’t mean the people you’re interacting with don’t have a sense of humour. Let’s remember the success of Compare the Market’s meerkat phenomenon that transformed a typically serious service into a funny, relatable and memorable one.
We’re not saying that every brand needs a gimmicky persona or hook like those pesky meerkats, but you have to admire how the concept stuck in everyone’s minds, even today!
When weighing up whether comedic content is the way to go, don’t underestimate how it can help to humanise and authenticate your brand - an important factor according to 86% of consumers. However (yes, another disclaimer), it’s essential to use the right style and dose of humour, and at the right time.
If there’s too much humour or it’s too lowbrow, you run the risk of turning readers off and potentially undermining the purpose and impact of your content. For instance, if you’re writing an informative piece, you want to make sure the valid points you’re conveying aren’t lost in a sea of punchlines.
How to use humour
To pull off funny content, the key is to keep it simple. If a joke needs explaining, it probably isn’t a good joke.
Take comedy giants like Peter Kay who effortlessly poke fun at themselves or those common traits we all have (whether we like it or not) to instantly create a connection between the joke and the recipient:
“Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don’t point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?”
This isn’t just funny for the sake of being funny - it actually resonates with most people as something they do or someone they know does. This type of humour can work brilliantly with B2C readers, giving content more relatability.
It becomes a little more complicated with B2B audiences, though, as this base humour may not be the right fit. That’s not to say you can’t use a more subtle approach, though. Tactics that work well in more conservative settings include self-deprecating humour or inside jokes that are purely relevant to your industry.
This could include identifying a common problem or issue people in your sector have that makes them think, ‘I have that problem, too’. Providing your content goes on to address that issue, you can harness the power of humour while also enhancing your authority.
When (and where) to use humour
Considering when and where to use humour can be a challenge, but the key here is to make sure you use it appropriately and consistently. We don’t mean making sure every page on your site is bursting at the seams with one-liners, mind. Just like professional comedians, you need to know how to read the room to avoid a rotten tomato in your proverbial face.
First and foremost, the humour needs to be relevant to your brand and actually add value to the reader in terms of relatability and engagement. However, the value element will vary depending on which stage of the customer journey they’re at.
For instance, in the initial interaction with your brand - such as online advertisements or blog posts - you can use humour more frequently as a way to entice people, helping them to understand your brand and demonstrate that you understand them.
The further into the customer journey you go, the more engaged users will be. This means that, for on-site category and product pages and other pages that have higher potential to drive sales, your content needs to be less about the jokes and more about adding value to the consumer. Toning down the humour (in favour of content that delivers substance in these areas) will work to better inform users and drive conversions.
With the right approach, using humour in content can open the doors to better engagement with your readers, so why not spice up your content with a smattering of jokes that will have your readers rolling on the floor?
If you’re not quite sure how to apply humour to your content marketing strategy yourself, we’re on hand to help. Our team of expert content writers are dab hands at gauging the right balance of humour and value to engage readers.
Get in touch with the writing experts at Paragraft today to discover how we can make sure your content is applauded rather than booed off stage.