Using Humour in Your Content Marketing
When used correctly, humour can be a fantastic way to strengthen your brand’s awareness. It can foster positive reactions by making people laugh, thus making their experience with your brand more memorable.
Thanks to a cognitive bias called the halo effect, a good first impression can influence people’s perception of your brand as a whole. In the words of Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman:
“Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept.”
Similarly, if a company or brand looks and sounds friendly and trustworthy, you may assume that everything else they do matches that expectation. Humour is often a reliable way to create that environment.
Still, humour should be used just like perfume: people shouldn’t be able to sniff it from a mile away. In most cases. That’s because, if someone sounds like they’re trying hard to be funny…they most likely are. And even then, this can be a type of marketing strategy. That’s how versatile humour is, and how well you have to match it to your brand.
As long as you keep it in line with your brand voice and your customers’ preferences, humour can be your #1 differentiator.
So, Why Does Humour Work So Well?
Not only is humour attention-grabbing – which is essential for marketing purposes – but it’s linked to enhanced recall and attention.
The results from a study published in 2013 involving health advertisements have confirmed that “compared to non-humourous health ads, those using humour received prolonged attention, were judged more convincing, and their messages were better recognised.”
What’s more, funny content is more relatable. It makes people laugh, and can sometimes be ridiculous enough that you just have to share it. Both of which help your marketing efforts in the short and long term.
There are plenty of opportunities to use humour throughout your content marketing. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Dollar Shave Club’s cheesy tagline “Shave Time. Shave Money.” has been used all across the brand’s content marketing, including their website. There’s a reason why it’s used as a prime example of taglines across marketing blogs: it’s ridiculous. And that’s what makes it awesome.
Your website’s ultimate goal should be to guide your audience. Yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cheer things up a bit. Taglines, headlines, and crossheads are places where humour can shine through, giving your brand an edge over those who stick to conventional, boring language.
The next example features an Instagram post by Dollar Shave Club, which showcases “wearable” hairstyles for the summer.
As you can see, the humour doesn’t stop at the image. They’ve made sure to fill all the gaps with an equally funny caption.
As a top-of-funnel medium, your social media content should do a great job of connecting to people before it can try to sell them anything. Sharing funny images relevant to your brand or writing a humourous post are fantastic ways to make that happen.
Since we’re talking about shaving, this next example is by beard product company Beardbrand.
Now, this is what most brands would call “risky humour” due to the language they used.
Beardbrand is known for their catchy, snappy subject lines for their emails. Subject lines and email body copy are great places to add some humour, as they draw the eye and move people to the next line.
We’re pretty sure the Beardbrand marketing team had a solid reason to believe this line would resonate with their subscribers. If you know for a fact that tongue-in-cheek humour appeals to your audience, we’d say go for it.
If you’d like a pro marketing tip, these guys do a stellar job of transforming bad testimonials into hilarious email marketing fuel. In one testimonial, an unsatisfied customer told them that their beard oil had “a horrible taste.”
To which they created the subject line: “Please don’t eat the Beard Oil.”
When it comes to humour, blog posts reign supreme. Because they allow room for more detail, voice, and personality, they also create the perfect ambiance for a joke or two.
In the following excerpt of Beardbrand’s blog, How to Stop Beard Dandruff for Good, the writer has painted word pictures with terms like “blizzard,” and even mentioned the brand new term beardruff.
That’s not to say that every single line should strive to be humourous and clever. Remember the perfume rule. If you crack a joke whenever you get the opportunity to, are you even funny?
In the end, the type of humour you share with your audience matters.
It all boils down to knowing your customers and the type of humour that’s most likely to resonate with them. Some people can take a joke, while others may find it revolting. That’s just how people are.
If you’d like your marketing to be successful, be sure to know your audience before trying anything exceptional. And as a general rule of thumb, steer clear from offensive humour.