What do The Oatmeal, Cracked.com, CollegeHumor.com, and I Can Has Cheezburger? all have in common? Well, they all burn precious time that I could have used to write articles, that’s for sure. They’re funny, engaging websites that entertain you until you realize it’s already 4 a.m., make you snort out soda out of your nose, and turn you into a lunatic with all the maniacal laughter you do after reading some of their stuff. And, more importantly, they’re viral stuff.
They’re some of the most famous websites on the face of the internet simply because they’re funny. However, their websites’ traffic is no joke. Cracked.com’s article views average around 7-digits (millions). The Oatmeal has a following of more than 800,000 people on Facebook alone. If that’s not serious traffic, I don’t know what is.
So how do they do it? Simple. They’re hilarious. Their straightforward design is what makes them effective and, let’s face it, comedy is gold.
We, as content marketers or writers, can learn something from these sites. That is to break out of usual content marketing or writing’s comfort zone and take creativity to the next level. Being funny isn’t just for entertainment purposes, it’s a key to becoming a popular post.
Here are five reasons that you should inject humor to your content marketing strategy and how it would make the stuff you create awesome.
1. Serious is boring, Shakespeare is hard to digest.
Do you know why safes made to look like old timey dictionaries work? Because, seriously, no one would ever try to get close to—much more read—something that looks boring and technical as that. The same goes with Shakespeare. Sure, he’s one of the most iconic writers in the history of Literature but not a lot of people are keen to study his work because it’s hard to understand.
The same concept can be used to content marketing. People wouldn’t even give you the time of day if you make your content too technical or too flowery with words. If it’s already hard to make people notice what you want to show them in real life, it’s harder on the internet. What you want is to not only capture their attention, but to also make them want to stay, read, and understand you. In other words, use common words in a light, conversational tone.
2. There’s a reason why Jimmy Fallon has more Twitter followers than Time.com.
It’s a well-established fact that hilarious content gets more attention. In the Twitterverse, for example, you’ll have better chances of gaining more followers if you tweet anything chuckle-worthy rather than tweeting commentaries about the U.S. stock market.
Why do you think the hacking of the Burger King Twitter account became the headline of various news sites? I know, I know. This news is still currently being discussed so much that you’re probably tired of it, but let’s analyze it (again) for a second. The news quickly became viral because it’s hilarious. Whenever the topic is brought up, it still produces laughter. Despite this, the hacking incident resulted positively for Burger King.
So the lesson here is: be funny, it receives more likes and retweets.
3. Anything laughable should (and would) be shared to anyone and everyone.
Imagine this: you have this embarrassing video of you back in College that you don’t want anyone to know about, ever. But then a friend digs it up somewhere and thinks it’s a terribly good idea to upload it on Facebook. To your utter horror, it gets a remarkable amount of shares, likes and comments in just a couple of hours.
Let’s hope, for your sake, it doesn’t really happen. But it has to some poor souls in the past (and even now). The thing that makes a video, photo, or idea viral is that it’s share-worthy. There’s something about a viral content that makes people want to hit the “Share” or “Retweet” button. Perhaps it’s different, embarrassing, crazy, or a mixture of all. But, most of the time, it’s just earth-shatteringly funny.
While I don’t suggest embarrassing yourself in front of a camera just to get more views or likes, it is preferable to make your content market styled to something that’s different, unique, and a little bit comical.
4. You’ll make a memorable mark in people’s minds—just like the iconic face on Mars.
Did you know that pigs’ orgasms last up to 30 minutes or that there’s a supernatural being in Japanese folklore that has an eye on its butt? I didn’t until I read it on The Oatmeal and on Cracked before. What made me remember them is a. they’re interesting and entertaining information (although I’m not exactly sure about the pig orgasm part) and b. they were delivered in a way that it would really make you NOT forget them.
You can say that your content marketing strategy is really effective if your audience remembers them. So what can you do? Research. People love to read about interesting and sometimes obscure trivia. Look for a topic that would pique their interest about the product or concept you want to share. Then write it in the way that’s light, humorous, and unique.
5. Everyone likes a good laugh.
If you make an infographic using zombies, only people who like zombie movies would be engaged. If you make an article wittily relating your product or campaign to rock music, you’d only get the attention of rock music fans. Trying particular approaches can sometimes have a downside—getting only a limited audience to tune into what you’re trying to say to the whole world.
Humor is different. While not everyone likes sad movies, action-themed ads, or scary stories, everyone needs and wants a good laugh from time to time. People look for new, creative, and random things to laugh about.That’s why Gangnam Style was popular despite it being a Korean song, why Harlem Shake became a hit despite its nonsense and why the unflattering photo of Beyonce became a meme despite the cautions of her publicist.
The perks of using the humorous approach would not only give you a bigger audience but also better chances of becoming viral.