Take My Tweets Please…

What Comedy Can Teach Us About Content Creation.

I was surprised recently to come across the following question posted on LinkedIn.

“Is Having a Kick-Ass Sense of Humor Essential in a Social Media Manager?” 

It was the first time I had seen “a sense of humor’ listed as a job requirement. How would you test for that anyway?  Ask candidates to please complete the following sentence: “A Minister, a Penguin and a CFO walk into a board meeting…”

A lot of Social Media content relies on humor — at least in theory — so it was no surprise that the answer to the LinkedIn query was a resounding YES! As a content strategy, humor in the right hands has a lot going for it:

  • It’s a natural attention getter
  • It makes people comfortable
  • It’s memorable
  • It’s sharable
  • It cuts across demographics

It can also be tricky. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could be the only one laughing. Nothing falls flatter than a joke that doesn’t work, and there’s always the risk of offending someone who doesn’t quite get it. 

I’ve been known to use humor successfully in my new business pitches and have been the recipient of many a kick under the table by nervous associates who were afraid that we would not be taken seriously if I made the client chuckle. The fact that we closed business said otherwise.

This all got me thinking.

Comedians have been creating “compelling content” since the first caveman stood up around the campfire and shared his observations on the humorous implications of the Neanderthal experience.

“Ogg go to cave to eat bear, bear not dead, bear wake up and eat Ogg… ha-ha-ha”. 

As spontaneous as comedians appear to be, there are guidelines in developing successful routines, guidelines that we can apply to creating Social Media content. 

Be Yourself — Authenticity is the new buzz word in branding, and it’s long been the bedrock of comedy. All good comedy comes from within, from personal experiences and insights. Ditto for engaging content—this “Ring of Truth” won’t appeal to everybody, but it will resonate with like-minded customers and prospects.

Know Your Audience — The first rule of being a successful business is to know your target audience. No one can size up a crowd and tweak a routine faster than a comedian. Likewise, your content needs to resonate with your target market.

Timing—Timing is everything. If you’re looking to capitalise on something funny in the news, for example, you must act fast to get noticed by the ever-shortening attention span of today’s online audience. Jokes about things that happened months, or even minutes, ago are not usually nearly as noticeable (or funny) as ones that deal with something that happened today. Staying current with trends is a vital task that extends to every aspect of social media planning.

Attitude — Sometimes it’s not the material but the delivery—certain “voices” or “tones” are funny by themselves in the right context—Wise guy NYCer, Stuffy Brit, Southern Good Ol Boy. —match the “voice” of your post to your target market

Get to the point— Don’t dwell on it—this ain’t no dissertation. If you have to over-think or over-explain, best to move on to the next post. Attention spans are getting shorter, so make it quick. Jokes are tasty little nugget of information/insights/observations.

Words with a K are Funny — I don’t know how relevant this one is, but it’s a word of advice taken from Neil Simon’s Sunshine Boys — a play and later a movie about an old vaudevillian comedy team planning a reunion. If it works for you, go with God.

 Finally Don’t take yourself too seriously
Just because your company is serious doesn’t mean all its marketing has to be.

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