Ha, Ha, Your Web Content is So Funny I Want to Support Your Brand

On November 3, 2010, wrote:

Writing content for your website, company blog, and social media networks? Unleash your inner comic. If you don’t have one, hire a writer who has one.

That’s because a great sense of humor will go far in helping you get noticed on the Web. Sure, your brand may be as serious as serious can get. Maybe you’re in the business of selling insurance, or dental services, or something of the sort that makes you sit straight up in boardroom meetings, wear a crisp suit to work every day, and conclude that funny does not bode well for the bottom line. But in the age of the Internet, in the vast and competitive landscape known as social media, it’s probably a good idea to take a cue from those who can make people laugh.

Why?

Because humor lengthens the attention span: Thanks in part to Twitter and to our link-clicking habits, Web content has been reduced to a matter of 140-character limits and search-skim-and-scan. If you really want to engage readers beyond their 1-minute attention span, say something funny – even if it’s just one joke inserted in one of the earlier paragraphs. Then they’ll read on to the later paragraphs thinking there are more laughs to come.

Because humor is an effective link bait: Most people go online looking to be entertained – so they click, click, click until they find what they’re looking for. So apart from providing them with genuinely interesting content, feel free to sprinkle it with of a dash or two of humor that clicks. Of something that makes people feel good and happy.

Because humor is tried and tested: Some of the most successful websites today run exclusively to make people laugh. Like Funny or Die. The Fail Blog. The Onion. Imagine if those sites suddenly decide to start marketing a new product or brand; the readership base will be off the charts. So don’t hesitate to think up ideas for a funny blog post, or an amusingly retweetable Tweet, or an impossible-not-to-LIKE Facebook post.

Because humor has tremendous viral potential: And because Conan O’Brien has 1.8 million followers on Twitter. Because Justin Halpern of the Shit My Dad Says fame is now a New York Times bestselling writer and the inspiration behind a new CBS sitcom. Because the video “Charlie Bit My Finger” has, like, a gazillion views on YouTube. Because when you have the gift – or the guts – to make people laugh while marketing your brand, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

Because humor can be SEO-friendly: If your content is a hit, you’ll be able to make even the search engines laugh. Or, at the very least, pay attention. By that we mean you’ll be able to naturally generate incoming traffic and build your link authority in a way that will push your way to the top of SERPs, or search engine results pages.

Because humor is rarely inappropriate: Hey, it’s not like you’ll be posting a scholarly thesis on the science and engineering wonders of your product. Come on, this is the Internet. Even if you want to talk at length about the technical details and intricacies of what you’re marketing or selling, it won’t hurt to break the jargon up a little bit with wit.

Because humor is far-reaching: Witty content can help break the barrier put up by those who are fundamentally averse to advertisements and sales talk. It’s an ice-breaker, shell-cracker, attention-catcher, buzz-builder, reach-expander, customer-base-penetrator, gap-closer, divide-bridger…

(Bridger? Is there such a word?)

Because humor is hard to do, and even harder to find: It’s tempting to tweet or write out copy that’s along the usual cut-and-dry lines. Saves a lot of time, right? Whereas comedy writing actually requires you to be candid, fun, relevant, sensitive, un-serious, and politically delicate – all at the same time. It actually requires you to be original. Guess what, though. The minute you’re able to engage your readers in a conversation or content that’s both informative and entertaining, your competitors will start to look really dull and depressing. (So go for it!)


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