Quick, say something funny.
Did all your thoughts disappear in a cartoonish poof? Did you get mad when you read that? Fair enough. Being funny is actually kinda hard. Taking apart something that’s funny to figure out why it’s funny is even harder.
But if you feel like your brand voice could be funny and you have no clue how to use humor in your content marketing, we have a few tips. Tips that are more about good writing than telling a good joke. (Thank goodness.)
Tip #1: Know your audience
If you’re laughing at the humor in your content and no one in your target audience is, that’s a red flag. In most cases, it doesn’t mean you’re not funny. It means that you need to understand your audience a bit better.
Humor is nuanced, so find out what type of humor your ideal client enjoys. Dad jokes? Snark? Puns and cheesiness? High-brow wit? Absurdism? Experiment a little bit with your humor from time to time and see what lands.
You may also be surprised to find that humor isn’t what your audience is looking for. And that’s okay, too.
Speaking of absurdism and knowing your audience, check out Ryanair. This low-cost European airline is a treasure trove of weird-ass memes, savage roasts, and topical jokes? And almost all of their posts and videos manage to be travel-related. Brilliant.
If they’re trying to appeal to millennials and Gen Zers looking for cheap flights, well…they’re doing something right.
Tip #2: Don’t try too hard
Remember how we said “Being funny is actually kinda hard” in the intro? That’s for people who aren’t brilliant, natural comedians. We have to work on reading the room, timing, and delivering the right joke to the right audience.
You gotta work on those skills, but don’t try too hard to be funny. Trying too hard is almost always unfunny, and almost always awkward and cringey. (And not in a funny way.)
Instead, be yourself. Let the humor and jokes in your content writing come naturally. If you see a good opportunity for a joke, take it. Don’t wedge humor into your content and copy where it probably doesn’t belong.
Here’s a brand that never seems like it’s trying too hard: outdoor retailer Moosejaw. Browse through their Instagram and every caption is mild, a little sarcastic, and dry to the bone. No exclamation points or super-trendy memes to be found on their feed.
Oh, and they get bonus points for putting user-generated content to excellent use.
Tip #3: Remember the purpose of your content
Any bit of humor you use in your content and copy should never take away from the main idea. It’s the reason why you’re talking to your audience in the first place. So avoid overdoing humor (even if you’re doing it well) by focusing on the message you’re trying to impart.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re ever unsure whether you’re overdoing your humor, you probably are. Go back through your writing and check if your jokes are supporting the purpose of your content or distracting from it. Get another pair of eyes on it if you need to.
Here’s a brand that always brings it back to the products they sell: sunglasses manufacturer Goodr. Look at the footer of their website. Here’s where you’d usually find abridged versions of a company’s mission statement, like “building a better world” or “a community-driven platform.” You know, serious phrases that remind you what they’re all about.
Goodr has this little blurb: “We are recklessly committed to fun…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, sunglasses.” Which concisely sums up what they offer, their brand voice, and their sense of humor.
Damn, they’re good.
Tip #4: Just be yourself
I’m gonna slip into mom mode for a minute to close out this blog, so indulge me.
The best way to insert humor into your content marketing? Just be yourself, sweetie. Write in a natural voice, as if you’re speaking to a friend. Don’t try too hard, overdo the jokes, or use humor that your audience dislikes.
You’re not creating content and copy to solely be funny, remember? You’re trying to expand your brand reach, or sell an offer, or build trust with your existing audience, and so on. Feel free to spice up that content with references and memes…but don’t let them run the show.
If you’re stressed at the thought of trying to be funny but not trying too hard, let us help. We don’t have any comedians on staff, but our team is chock-full of witty, snarky, punny, funny ladies who’ll write the jokes for you.