What’s With the Attitude? Where Humor Fits In Your Brand’s Content

Humor, when delivered right, can engage audiences across demographics. Since the right brand of humor can help establish social camaraderie, it is often employed as an effective conversation starter. Somehow, it’s difficult to dislike someone who’s able to surprise a crowd with a good joke or two.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Doritos — popular for their startling and comical ads — has already been inducted into the Superbowl ad hall of fame.

But when it comes to content marketing, how much humor can you afford to use? And if you’re looking at crucial strategies in content marketing for the future, will comical strategies really last? The answer lies in how humor makes an effective connection to your brand and with your consumers.

First, we look at the many ways that humor can work as a content marketing strategy.

How Does Humor Work in Content Creation?

Good content should have the essential qualities of value, engagement, and authority. These perennial characteristics are also expected when content marketing for the future. What humor does is to offer value, engagement, and credibility through the following:

  • Lends a more human voice to your brand.

When you evoke humor, your brand ceases to be just a name, logo, and loads of technical, serious information. You are actually humanizing your brand, giving it a voice that people can relate to. It’s like sharing a laugh with someone you’ve met for the first time. There’s an almost instantaneous connection, and the other individual becomes more than just a face in the crowd. The same can happen in content marketing where relevant humor is injected in all the right places.

  • Begins and continues the conversation.

But a good joke doesn’t only begin a conversation or establish a connection. It can also continue the conversation. Content marketing for the future will work only if you are able to hold the attention of your audience and keep it there. With good humor already helping to establish trust and connection, it can also fuel more interactions. This makes humor a helpful tool when persuading — not forcing — your readers or viewers into a certain point of view. 

  • Makes your content more shareable.

This is not surprising. When people are genuinely amused at or moved by something, they are bound to share it with other people. There’s a reason why funny memes easily go viral on social media. Humor helps in making ads unforgettable and relevant, too. In a study done by textbook rental company, Chegg, a whopping 80% of college audiences easily recall advertisements that have made them laugh.

But, Are You Really Being Funny?

And yet, humor in content marketing is not without its fair share of risks. Not everyone will consider the same joke funny. And in an attempt to be more relevant, some brands can go overboard with their desire to spark interest.

One of these brands is DiGiorno Pizza when their use of the Twitter hashtag, whyistayed, became fodder for controversy. The hashtag was being circulated on Twitter to encourage stories of people who have stayed in abusive relationships. However, the pizza brand made use of the hashtag to deliver a disconcerting message that speaks of pizza as one reason for staying in such risky relationships.

So, how do you steer clear of such humor mishaps? In an interview given to Contently, professor and humorist Dr. James Barry of Nova Southeastern University provided two types of humor which can do more harm than good in branding. These are stereotyping and outrageous interruptions. The first one is risky when addressed to a global audience, while the second one — which may come in the shape of ill-time humor or over-the-top antics — can be injurious to established brands.

In fact, these humor catastrophes are riskier than making a joke that doesn’t elicit any amusement or laughter. The last thing you would want to happen when content marketing for the future is to offend your audience.

Thus, your first job as a content marketer is to define what is funny and what is not for your target audience. The following reminders can prove helpful:

  • Research into the effective use of humor.
  • Know your audience well.
  • Steer clear of controversy.
  • Tread well with exaggerations.

Content Marketing for the Future: Using Humor Wisely

But how does humor fit well into your content marketing strategies? What are some concrete examples in its effective use and delivery? How does your brand make jokes like a pro?

  • Understand your industry niche.

Not all types of businesses can get away with humor, so it helps to know whether you can really benefit from being comical or otherwise. If, for example, you operate in an industry that plays on emotions a lot, going funny can backfire. It’s difficult to imagine a brand selling artisan jewelry to infuse their content with jokes or have their video endorser break into a funny dance.

  • When writing, adopt a casual or conversational tone.

Relating a humorous incident or story is difficult when you use formal words or long sentences. When employing written content for marketing, humor is best communicated through short and snappy sentences that build up to the punch line. It also helps to eliminate unnecessary words that wear the listener or reader down.

  • Laugh at yourself, sometimes. 

Somehow, it’s easier to trust in someone who makes us feel at ease with jokes than one who presents himself too seriously. This goes the same with content marketing, specifically content marketing for the future.

When audiences are fed with nothing but technical information and brand benefits that seem too good to be true, boredom and skepticism can set in. Well-placed humor, especially when directed at oneself, can elicit the opposite effect. After all, anyone who can make jokes about the business should be experienced and credible enough to be able to do it.

  • The power of humorous images.

No one wants to read through endless chunks of text that simply speak of humor. It is important to show and not just tell. This is precisely why funny memes go viral in a matter of minutes. The visual picture and the witty text make up a funny story and deliver the intended impact within seconds. And before you realize it your content is already being shared across social networks in a matter of minutes.

  • Make humor connect to your brand.

There’s a difference between just telling a funny story and telling a funny story as leverage to your branding efforts. For humor to be effective in content marketing, it should redound to your brand and its overall narrative. It goal, in the end, should be to humanize the voice of your brand, making it more personable and credible to as many audiences as possible.

Beyond Humor: Engagement and Interest

In a time and age where content is being consumed, shared, and discarded within minutes, it pays to have a proven strategy in place. And humor, with its simplicity and wide appeal, has been shown to work in various marketing efforts. These qualities make humor worth considering when content marketing for the future.

And while not all businesses are good fit for comical attempts, your brand may find itself in an industry where humor actually works. The important thing is to be responsible for what you put out there and to know your market well.

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