Marketers around the world know that humor can be a powerful weapon.
Everyone likes to laugh. If you make your audience chuckle, your job is halfway done, as you will have already attracted their attention. It doesn’t mean that you should use humor at every occasion. In a second, you’ll learn how you should use humor in content marketing, and what are the things that it’s better to avoid.
Gain attention of your audience
We live in a world in which we are constantly assaulted by new useless pieces of information. Ads, Facebook posts, more ads – our brains are overloaded with information. Even if we wanted, it is impossible to keep up with all the stimuli. Our brains get used to this, and as a result, retaining information that we have half-consciously absorbed isn’t what we excel at. At the same time, if we are aware that we are interacting with the content that is supposed to convince us to spend our money, then we are even more reluctant to let our guard. If ads make us laugh, then it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will become paying customers, but at least they have our attention.
Spend enough time on research
Before you start using humor in content marketing, you should ensure that there won’t be any fallout if you fail to understand the context properly. A great example of using humor in content marketing with a catastrophic result is DiGiorno Pizza. It seems that people responsible for handling their social media account didn’t spend enough time on research, and as an effect, they have committed a major bloomer. At the time, a hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter. As an attempt at humor, DiGiorno Pizza account posted a tweet “#WhyIStayed You had pizza”. Regardless of whether it was a lack of understanding of the meaning behind the hashtag, or a joke that fell horribly flat, the reactions to this tweet were abysmal. The company issued an apology, but the damage has already been done. If you want to post funny content on social media, make sure that you know the context well enough, or you might have to apologize for that later. If you want to know how to stay well-informed about the current trends, you can check out guides available at smartflows.com.
The importance of the congruent message
Apart from committing a similar faux pas, you might face a different problem. There’s nothing against using humorous content in digital marketing, but you should choose the type of humor according to the characteristics of your industry. If you want to create funny videos full of puns and low-brow humor to advertise bubble gums or hamburgers, then why not, go for it. However, if you use a similar type of humor to promote a financial agency, then the customers might not appreciate it as much. Potential customers of financial agencies look for trustworthy services, and slapstick humor isn’t usually associated with someone who is reliable. You can add humor to content marketing even if you are creating content marketing campaigns for serious brands, but it should be done more subtly.
Is it always the case? Not really. Although initially, insurance companies were extremely careful not to cross certain lines, nowadays there’s much more humor in their TV ads. What about content marketing? The internet is evolving even more quickly, which means that more things are permissible on the internet, but if not one of your competitors uses humor to present their brand, there might be reasons why things are done this way. Or, you might be like GEICO, an insurance company, whose ads were first to use humor, and you might start a trend.
Remember that when creating a marketing strategy, you should take into consideration cultural differences. Studies have shown that audiences in the Western world react more positively to advertising with higher doses of humor than the rest of the world. You might be facing less severe risks if you try to present your brand using humor in Europe or in the United States, but in the world where information moves at an extremely fast pace, you should avoid causing unnecessary controversies.
Attracting attention isn’t enough
Apart from increasing the chances that your message gets noticed, funny content can also shorten the distance between you and your audience. In some cases, it might be a wiser choice to create content that presents your brand in an exclusively business-like manner, but if you make your marketing funny, you’ll show the human side of your company.
Using humor is just one of the ways to build closer relationships with your customers, but it certainly works. It is essential not to forget that humor is just a device, and making a funny remark should not be the goal in itself. Sure, if you avoid being funny at all costs, then your message might not be memorable at all, but you might face the exact opposite problem as well – you’ll create a genuinely funny piece of content that won’t help your brand in any way. Even if your message is subtle but the content is engaging enough, people will be eager to share it on social media, which means that you won’t have to spend as much on marketing to reach a wider audience.
You can even go one step further and create content that is both funny and educational. If you consider yourself an expert in your industry, why not share some of the knowledge using beautiful infographics? The audience will treat your brand as more authoritative, and they might get interested in the services that you are providing. Infographics are also highly shareable – if you already have access to some fascinating yet unknown facts, you can spend a relatively low amount of money to increase your brand recognition considerably.
In the past, marketing used to be more straightforward, but times have changed. If you want to attract your audience more easily, you could use humor, though you should remember to do it wisely. Otherwise, you could risk inadvertently damaging your brand.