How to inject humour into your online content
We can all learn to be funny. Did you hear that? It’s true. Contrary to what so many of us grow up believing, being funny isn’t a birthright. Like many other creative and writing disciplines, comedy is an art form. And within it, you can find rules and formulas for comedy theory that can be learned and applied by everyone; by you, by me, and yes, even by that boring guy Norman in accounts.
How do I know? Because five years ago I became a comedian. After a bad date went horribly wrong (inbox me if you want the gory details), the only way to deal with the prospect of spending my future as a lonely cat lady was to recount the disastrous date to my friends. They were laughing so hard at my misery, and soon enough, so was I. That laughter was so powerful it made me forget how terrible I felt hours earlier and made me realise ‘Comedy is so much faster and cheaper than therapy’.
So I made it my mission to learn everything I could about comedy. I read comedy books, listened to audiobooks, got comedy coaching and practised. Every single day. Over the last five years I’ve hit the stage at clubs in Los Angeles and New York, and have performed sold-out shows in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
So, trust me when I say the rules and principles of humour are accessible to us all and applicable to your content creation; blogs, how-to guides, video scripts, social media updates, meme creations and more.
The power of humour in business
Importantly, through my comedy journey, I’ve learnt how powerful humour is as a business tool. Why? Because humour allows us to create an instant connection. Sure, we can’t all create the type of video scripts that Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David would whip up, but there are formulas you can adopt, and adapt into, your own content.
Even if someone has never heard of your product or service, if you make them laugh with a video, image or article online, they’ll connect with you. That’s because when we laugh, we’re truly engaged and ‘in the moment’ which, for businesses in today’s age of digital distraction, is an epic achievement. Plus, because comedy is so subjective, it gives your brand a distinct point of difference that really helps you stand out.
It’s important to note, nobody is expecting laugh-out- loud humour from brands. Unless you’re a comedian, you don’t need to be funny all the time. Simply triggering a chuckle, a smile, or a warm and fuzzy feeling can give brands a distinct point of difference. Even a small amount of humour can have a huge impact.
Here’s a few examples of brands that stand out by using humorous content to connect with their audiences. Check out this:
Cooking Rule: If at first you don’t succeed, get Taco Bell.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) May 3, 2016
You frost me right round, baby, right round A video posted by Cinnabon (@cinnabon) on
Did you smile? Did you laugh? Did you get a craving for a delicious cinnamon scroll? Yeah, me too.
So, how can you get funnier, right now?
As I explain in my new book, Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content, the easiest place to start is with the simple RULE OF THREE strategy. In literature, a list of three has always had a charm to it. It is said when we are presented with a 1-2-3 rhythm, we remember it better. For example:
Lights, camera, action
Blood sweat and tears
Lists of three present a great opportunity for a joke because of the pattern set by items one and two. So when you replace item three with something unexpected, that surprise makes us laugh.
Lights, camera, back to the couch
Blood sweat and anxiety
The rule of three will have an even bigger impact in online content than in a comedy club because fewer people would expect the unexpected in a business context.
So, when you’re writing a list, or working with a collection of bullet points, try to find ways to turn them into a list of three to get a laugh. You can do this in multiple ways.
Rule of three – in list form
Top three tips for social media marketers
- Prepare your posts
- Prepare your editorial calendar
- Prepare to not sleep. At all.
Rule of three – in sentence form
When taking photos for Instagram, I carefully consider: composition, lighting and which filter will best cover up my desperate need for attention.
Or, you can also FEATURE A FUNNY TURN at the end of a longer list.
Your content calendar should outline your
- Goals and objectives
- Content topics
- Target audience
- Social media tactics
- Caffeine and tequila breaks
My challenge to you
Try incorporating the rule of three or a funny turn into your next blog, how-to guide or grocery list. (See what I did there?) Give it a shot – it’s fun. And tweet it to me at @JordanaOZ. I’m always up for a good laugh!
Jordana’s new book, Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content is your ultimate guide to getting creative online. Filled with hands-on strategies and techniques, plus workbook-style exercises, Capture My Attention will help you instantly generate captivating content that will attract attention and make you stand out from your competitors.Back