Some brands are all about the funny. If you’re familiar with my use of archetypes in branding and content creation, you’ll know that one of the core archetypes used in branding is the comedy brand.
Brands that exist purely to entertain people, to make them laugh.
Compare The Market, Tango, Skittles, The Big Bang Theory (and every other sitcom ever created), and Magners (to name but a few), are all brands that run on comedy.
If comedy is the heart of your brand, you’ve likely already dedicated a lot of time to considering how to create funny and entertaining content. But if your brand isn’t all about fun, entertainment, and making people laugh, you may not have thought about it.
Why would you? After all, your content is there to inform, educate, build relationships, sell, and make you money.
Infusing your content with comedy is likely the furthest thing from your mind, especially if you have a sensitive brand voice and like to keep things professional.
Business blogs often feel like the place comedy goes to die. It frequently seems like there’s just no room for jokes and entertainment in serious content creation.
But here’s the thing, and it’s a BIG, IMPORTANT THING:
Your readers need your content to entertain them.
You can create the most helpful content on the planet, but if it’s not entertaining, nobody will stick around long enough to read it, let alone read enough of it to fall in love with your brand.
And that is the name of the game, after all.
Every Blog Needs A Little Comedy…
Archetypes are incredibly powerful in branding, and the core of my own signature content marketing service is the use of the twelve personality archetypes to help you decode the psyche of your ideal client and really climb inside their heads. This allows you to create content that speaks directly to them deeply and fundamentally.
A level that goes far beyond simply understanding their age, gender, hobbies, interests, the social media sites they hang out on, and magazines they read.
It delves well beyond demographics and even psychographics and looks at the psychological makeup of your ideal clients as whole people.
Not just the part of them that needs and wants your stuff, all of them.
Doing this allows you to create true balance in your content marketing, by figuring out which topics and areas your content should cover and the proportion of your content marketing schedule you should dedicate to each subject.
And that includes comedy, humour and entertainment.
One of the twelve archetypes I use in Divine Blogging to map your ideal client’s psychological profile is the Jester. And despite the fact every ideal client profile is dominated by a core archetype, all twelve archetypes are used because people are multi-faceted.
If you keep talking about the same topic over and over, week after week, they will get bored no matter how much they love that particular topic. If, on the other hand, you identify a range of topics that all relate to your niche but speak to the different aspects of your ideal client’s personality, they’ll never get bored.
So, Divine Blogging is very heavily focused on keeping your readers entertained and engaged by varying the types of posts you create. And even if that weren’t the case, writing funny and entertaining blog posts would always be an essential aspect of any content schedule because the Jester is one of those twelve archetypes.
The need for entertainment and humour is a facet of every human being.
Precisely what constitutes entertainment varies massively depending on your audience, but the need is there, I guarantee it.
Urgh, But I’m SO Not Funny!
I know a lot of people already struggle with the thought of creating regular content, and when the realisation hits them that not only do they have to write all this stuff, they have to make it entertaining, the reaction usually goes something like….
So, you’re not funny?
Can’t tell a joke to save your life?
Have no idea how to write anything even vaguely amusing or entertaining?
Don’t worry; most people aren’t naturally funny or entertaining in their writing. If you’re naturally a funny and entertaining person, you probably have a better shot at doing this effortlessly, but most people (even the belly-laugh-inductively funny ones) have to work at it when they write. This is often why some people prefer vlogging or podcasting because they find their natural sense of humour more easily when speaking off the cuff. But when you’re writing or scripting content, when it comes to bringing ‘the funny’ or creating something entertaining, you need to work at it.
Not because your content needs to be hilarious all the time. Unless you have a comedy brand and/or ideal client with a dominant Jester archetype, your readers aren’t coming to your blog to laugh after all.
They come to you for information. Because you’re useful, helpful, and offer value and insights.
But successful bloggers aren’t just informative and educational; they’re also performers.
How To Write Funny Blog Posts
Your content doesn’t need to be a laugh-a-minute comedy extravaganza, but it does need to offer enough entertainment to hold people’s attention long enough to get all the crucial information across and (ideally) keep them reading/watching/listening to the end and then searching for more.
The key to entertaining is to try not to worry about it too much! Anyone can infuse a little comedy and entertainment value into their content using a few super-simple tips…
Start With Bite Size Snacks
Content can be a lot to process, especially if you’re creating long-form content that’s 2K words plus.
It’s generally a good idea to break up your content as much as possible using headings, subheadings, images and other ways of introducing a little blank space in written content. But whether you’re writing or recording, using quick, bite-sized tips near the start of a piece is a great way to grab people’s attention and keep it.
You might start with a bold statement or ‘teaser’ of what’s to come, or you might give them immediate takeaway value. Either way, chunking it all out into snack sizes (especially at the start) will help keep things entertaining. If you have long points to make, save them for the end (unless you need to order them in a certain way, so things make sense!).
Be A Little Offensive
If you’re feeling a little courageous, say something that’s just a little offensive or at least slightly controversial. Something that will intrigue the people who secretly agree with the sentiment but aren’t brave enough to say it and piss off the people who disagree with you.
Either way, you’ll hold their interest!
If you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to play devil’s advocate, either with your initial sentiment or later on in the piece – whatever you’re saying, give the opposite side of the argument, at least in passing.
Your readers will eat up every word of controversy you give them, but do be aware it can be a double-edged sword – if you get it wrong, you’ll just end up alienating and annoying people!
Tell Stories…Lots And LOTS Of Stories….
I’m a huge fan of the power of corporate storytelling and the use of narratives in your content. Whether you’re using a fully-fledged anecdote that ends in the point you’re trying to make, or you throw in a sentence or two here and there, stories are great ways to improve the entertainment value of your content.
They make it more relatable and much more entertaining!
Create Interactive Posts
One super-easy hack to create entertainment in your posts is actively engaging people in the content by making it interactive. If you’ve ever lost hours to the plethora of quizzes on Facebook, you’ll understand this trick and how well it works!
This will sound weird, but take it from a pro – when you sit down to write, SMILE.
Smile like the universe just saw fit to inexplicably fill your office with puppies and then dropped a flaming meteor on the head of your arch nemesis, who had coincidentally just won the Euro Millions jackpot and updated their will to leave everything to you (don’t worry about why they’d have done that, they just did).
Sometimes you’re not going to feel like writing content. You’re certainly not going to be in the headspace that naturally leads to you writing pithy, witty, and utterly hilarious copy.
There will be days you’re tired, overwhelmed, stressed, preoccupied with the million other things you need to get done, or generally would just much rather be sitting on a beach somewhere enjoying an unnecessarily expensive cocktail and soaking up some sunshine.
Instead, you’re going to have to create because marketing doesn’t work unless you have consistent content, and content doesn’t create itself. Successful content marketing means knuckling down and powering through your content creation, even if you don’t feel like it. And if you’re in the mindset while creating, it frequently shows!
So sit yourself down comfortably, take a minute to commiserate with yourself over the unfairness of having to sit at your desk and work instead of being able to sit in a glass boat and float around Bora Bora, and smile.
Even when you hate yourself, the world, and everyone in it.
If you’re creating content, plaster a smile on your little face and keep it there while you write.
Our facial expressions mirror our thoughts, which is why we usually frown or look sad when we’re upset, but it goes both ways. A smile will genuinely make you feel at least a little better and put your thoughts on a more positive note.
A nice big smile is the best way to shift yourself into the mindset needed to write things people will find enjoyable, even if you’re faking it ‘til you make it, and the manic look on your face ends up freaking out the dog…
Get Inspiration From People You Find Funny
Unless you’re naturally funny, you probably have no idea how to add a little humour to your content. You may even have tried and found it bombed, went right over people’s heads, or simply missed the point completely.
The easiest way to rectify this conspicuous lack of a funny bone is to take inspiration from naturally funny people. Pay attention to the content you find entertaining and funny and ask yourself:
What’s holding my interest here?
Beyond that, follow people who are actively and purposefully funny – the comedy brands, comedians, and social channels that regularly give you big fat belly laughs.
If you’re struggling, you can borrow from these people with a simple, ‘As XXX would say…’ and quote someone else’s joke or witty one-liner.
Find The Entertainment Value Of The Mundane
Take advantage of the fact that your subject is dry and truly dull.
You’d be surprised how much entertainment value there is in the utterly mundane. Of acknowledging the mundanity of everyday life and the bizarre and ridiculous ways you cope with it.
If you’ve seen Seinfeld, this is the perfect example of mundanity transformed into comedy.
You don’t need to have a funny subject to be entertaining. Just come at it from the wry perspective of someone who fully appreciates that it is completely ordinary and that the very mundanity of it is, in itself, mildly entertaining.
Anthropomorphism And Anthropomorphic Personification
One of my favourite ways of creating a little entertainment in content is to animate the inanimate by giving them human thoughts and feelings (anthropomorphism). To ascribe a human character to a concept or idea, I’m dealing with (anthropomorphic personification).
If you’re familiar with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, he was a master of anthropomorphic personification. There are many examples of this throughout the Discworld novels, and indeed a lot of fiction, but the most memorable is Death.
Not the inevitable consequence of all life, something unavoidable, frightening, cruel and upsetting, but a literal humanoid figure. A little on the thin side, granted, and kinda creepy, what with the dark hooded cloak and scythe, but still, an amusing character.
Death is a concept that all humans share, and sometimes when concepts are BIG they take on a life of their own. It’s easier to relate to them if we give them personalities and humanesque actions and motivations.
The weather is another great example – how many gods and goddesses in the ancient pantheons could control the weather?
It’s not an inexplicable force causing the sky to flash with lightning; it’s just Zeus having a temper tantrum.
By giving inanimate objects and concepts that are difficult to understand or handle more human characteristics, you make them understandable, relatable, and can very easily create entertainment from a situation that shouldn’t be funny.
Death is no laughing matter, yet Death and the Death of Rats are two of my favourite characters in the Discworld because I find their antics so amusing.
Use Original Photography
I briefly mentioned the benefits of using images in your content to break it up and keep things interesting. Stock photos are a great way to do this, but they can get repetitive, particularly if you’re working in a specific niche and relying on the same stock sites as all your competitors.
People end up seeing the same sets of images everywhere, and rather than making your content more entertaining, it detracts from it, reducing people’s interest and making it feel less than unique – even if your copy is outstandingly original.
One way to avoid this is to put some real thought into your brand and come up with a very clear set of guidelines for the types of photos you use – images that reflect your branding, ethos, and USP in an original way or at least have a distinct and unifying characteristic, like your main brand colour of a filter. You can do this to some extent by only downloading stock photos you’ve never seen before, which are unusual enough that you’re fairly confident they won’t be widely used. But to guarantee originality, you can take them yourself.
Having a bespoke brand photoshoot done for your overall website branding is the perfect way to give you an original base that makes any repetition in stock photos less obvious and more palatable.
If you have the time or resources, you might decide to only use original photography.
Certain content lends itself to this more easily. For example, whenever I write a post centred around a specific book, I take original photos of that book, and when I did a special Halloween post a couple of years ago, I spent quite a bit of time collecting all my spooky stuff and taking some unique images.
Use Pop Culture
You can also create entertainment value by borrowing from existing entertainment. You’ll notice I’ve used a couple of gifs in this post, and this is one way to do that. Another is to simply refer to pop culture in your content by using TV shows, books, and other media your tribe is familiar with to provide examples, analogies, and amusing asides.
Self-Deprecation For The Win
One of the simplest and easiest ways to inject a little humour into your writing is to poke fun at yourself now and then. Pointing out your own faults, playing up your screw-ups, and turning your mistakes and flaws into opportunities for teachable moments that everyone can laugh at is incredibly effective.
This has downsides – you need a skin thick enough to be comfortable mocking yourself and having others join in the joke. If you’re going to get offended that people have a good laugh at your expense, do not try this one!
But if you’re quite happy to rip yourself to shreds, it can be very funny for your audience. And it’s a lot safer than doing it to other people.
You can say whatever you want about yourself, joke at your own expense, and generally create humour from your own misfortune. Nobody takes issue with it because you are the butt of the joke, and they assume you wouldn’t have said it if you weren’t completely comfortable with it.
When you make other people the butt, you risk offending them and others taking offence on their behalf.
If you have negative observations about your industry, niche, or the actions and behaviour of certain people, taking those things on yourself and demonstrating that you came to the revelation because you were being completely ridiculous by thinking/feeling/doing these things allows you to be very critical without being offensive. You can position yourself as a thought leader and demonstrate the depth of understanding you have for your niche, all without reducing yourself to criticising or seeming to attack your competitors or clients.
Remember, a huge part of your marketing is showing you understand your ideal client, that you’ve been in their shoes and found a better way of doing things. If you’re not careful, doing that can come across as criticising your ideal clients and their current situations, actions, or opinions.
Flipping it around and framing it as ‘I used to do this’, or ‘There was this one time I really screwed up’ takes the ‘blame’ off your audience while allowing them to relate to you, and make that self-selection connection of thinking, ‘Oh my god, she could be describing me!’
One point of caution – don’t take it too far! Keep it light and genuinely funny, rather than turning it into a pity party. You can run things by your friends and family before posting them to check this sounds like a good joke and not an unwitting ‘cry for help’ (I detest that phrase!).
The Fine Art Of Exaggeration
Sometimes you just have to indulge your artistic license and take a few liberties. Exaggerating for comic effect and entertainment value is something we all naturally learn. The fish we caught wasn’t
******************THIS BLOODY BIG!******************
Seriously, so big, it could have eaten me!
Exaggerating things a little can help you eke out a little entertainment value from things that would otherwise be pretty dull. Whether you’re telling a story, using an example, or throwing around an analogy, a little exaggeration goes a long way!
The Finer Art Of Sarcasm
Writing for so many varied clients has taught me that people have very different levels of tolerance for sarcasm. Some find it hilarious, and it comes as second nature to them, meaning they’re happy to include it in their brand voice. Others view it as acceptable in moderation. Some find it to be completely unprofessional. And some people find it downright offensive.
Sarcasm certainly isn’t for everyone. It may not suit you or your audience, but I am a very sarcastic person, so have no issue with employing this tool to help my content or my clients’ content if it’s appropriate for their brand.
If sarcasm is something you’re comfortable with that you feel your audience will respond well to, test it out, and see how they react. If you get a positive reaction, it’s a great way to provide a little raw commentary on life, business, and whatever your core topics might be.
It’s also a fabulous way to work in a little self-deprecation, and you’ll likely find sarcasm directed at yourself is much more acceptable than when it’s pitched at other people.
Whether you embrace sarcastic quips, avoid them completely, or use them in moderation, be aware that they can backfire, so proceed with caution!
Breathe into the funny – it shouldn’t be stressful, hard, or worrying about incorporating entertaining elements into your content. Just as smiling when you’re creating will help you write more upbeat content, stressing yourself out over ‘making things funny’ will have precisely the opposite effect you’re looking for.
So take a breath, take it easy, don’t overthink it, and most importantly, don’t overdo it! Only use funny elements when they’re appropriate, relevant, and will have the most impact. Remember, just because you need to include entertaining factors in your content doesn’t mean you need to be ‘funny’ all the time – entertainment comes in many forms!