How To Make Humor Work in Marketing
When you open your email in the morning, what headline are you more likely to click on when you are scanning the homepage: a dry news story or a headline that makes you laugh?
Using humor in your online marketing is a popular way to keep your audience engaged, and with these tips from a stand up comedian you can best use that humor to keep them coming back for more.
1. Get the hook
No, not that thing they used in the old days to pull bad comedians off the stage. Your hook is the setup from which all of your humor is going to spring. You need an angle to work and the ability to stick to that angle.
If you check out most successful stand-up comedians, you will notice that they have a hook that instantly latches into their audience.
It doesn’t matter whether it is how terrible a wife they have or their own weight problems, the best find a way to get mileage out of something that the audience has laughed at a hundred times.
2. Timing is everything
You can’t say enough about comedic timing, and bad timing can kill you. It doesn’t matter if you are posting a humorous blog too soon after a tragedy or you are trying to reference a news story that has left the news cycle, failure to keep your humorous content timely will cost you.
The best way to avoid this is to keep up to date on what is happening, in every sense of the word. Have one eye on what it trending at all times, and if you do reach back to something that’s through, make sure that it is at least old enough to be nostalgic.
3. Be observational
Some of the best comedians to ever be on state were observational comics. They made their living by simply observing and pointing out the absurd or idiosyncratic parts of everyday life. Keep your eye out for the odd and the funny in your own life and find a way to share it with others.
Maybe your cat has an odd way of meowing out the window on rainy days, or you notice how young kids can say the most inappropriate things at just the right time to be embarrassing. These are just two examples of the millions that you walk past everyday that can you can mine for your own comedy gold.
4. Read the room
Many a comic has fallen into this pit trap, and you don’t want to join them. Although you do not have a live audience to size up, you have statistics at your disposal through your analytics to get a good picture of who your audience is.
Before approving any funny content, ask yourself the question: “Who is this for?” If you can’t answer that question, it may be back to the drawing board. The more that you know about your target audience, the more you can tailor your content to what they find funny.
5. Make your punch-lines count
If your comedy set was a boxing match, your punch-lines would be your try for a knockout. Make sure that they actually pack a punch. Even a the simplest internet meme is usually an image set-up followed by a punch-line phrase.
You punch-line needs three things: relevance, emphasis, and impact.
The best way to explain it is that you want the phrase to make a connection with some previous information you have imparted, your personal emphasis in tone, and a having a sudden shift from seriousness to levity (or vice/versa).
6. Be visual
There are a lot of ways to get a laugh, but many of the best are able to get a laugh without a word. From those that are able to communicate comedy with their expressions to the much maligned prop comic, there is a power in the visual medium that cannot be denied.
Even if you are posting primarily serious written content you can realize great results from humorous videos and hilarious graphics. They break the flow.
Cracked.com has built its entire brand on these image/cut-lines in their articles, and they can get a laugh whether or not they have anything to do with the article (in fact, it is often funnier when they don’t).
7. Deal with the hecklers
Any stand up comedian will tell you that one of the toughest parts of the job is dealing with a heckler. Sometimes it seems like the internet is made of trolls.
Don’t feed them, but do take note of their feedback. Even if you don’t take it to heart, they are giving you free information on what irritates them.
If you can’t get laughs, sometimes you can delight the rest of the audience by the simple act of taking the heckler down.