Your content strategy’s all set. SEO, Google ranking, useful information, calls-to-action, sales funnel – all good to go. Traffic starts to pour in from browsers urgently seeking the solutions you can provide. The problem is though your content is informative, it’s incredibly dull to plod through and many would-be customers are returning to Facebook before your first call-to-action appears on their screen.
Let’s face it, reading stale content is like drying yourself off with a towel that’s moist. It’s cold, unpleasant, and chafing.
So if you’ve never before used humor in your business content, or even considered yourself funny at all, how can you write humorously without taking comedy courses?
Legendary comedian Don Rickles had said, “Some people say funny things, but I say things funny.” And therein lies the key to executing written content that’s funny. Your job isn’t to write funny things. Your job is to write things funny.
Here are some seriously simple guidelines for witty writing that will make your content crackle with humor. (Including one tip that doesn’t require you to pen a single funny word yourself.)
The Words To Do All the Funny
“What turning forty means to me…I need to take my pants off as soon as I get home.” Tina Fey
Most of us have experienced reading an email or text and becoming thoroughly offended by the insulting tone. Steam shooting out of ears offended. But as it turned out, that aggressive tone was entirely invented by the dramaturge of our imagination.
With a few exceptions, the intonation and timing that comics rely on to be funny when speaking will never convey humor in writing that’s solely for reading.
An exception would be to do this for emphasis sparingly. Or depending on your audience you. Might. Do. This. But we all know what happens when THIS HAPPENS.
So for the love of humanity, forget telling jokes. Use only words to create all the humor.
Tell Nothing but the Truth
“I have always noticed that people will never laugh at anything that is not based on truth.” Will Rogers
What’s funnier than your humiliating, and oh so relatable, true story that you lived to write about? Nothing. If you hadn’t lived, clearly it wouldn’t be funny. But since you’re apparently okay and writing about it now to help your readers avoid this exact situation, it’s hilarious.
As long as your story doesn’t involve serious injuries, illnesses, or death, your real but familiar tales will provide ongoing stores of comedy that you can infuse into your content.
Dwell on the Mundane
“I walk around like everything is fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.” Anonymous
The epic brilliance of the sitcom Seinfeld was that it portrayed the absurdity of the mundane. Record-breaking numbers of viewers tuned in weekly to roar with laughter at the characters in turmoil over a regrettable voicemail, failing at becoming a fake architect, or getting blacklisted from their favorite soup shop.
People think situations they can relate to are humorous. But they find the everyday, mundane things they experience over and over a scream and that’s where the treasure in your content lies.
Throw in a few mundane details about what ‘s around you, what you had for breakfast, or the small talk you had with your neighbor in the elevator and your content will become remarkably more intriguing.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Some words are merely funny because they feel like a tiny alien in your mouth when you say them. Sometimes they also sound similar to other unrelated words that invoke particular imagery.
Take, for example, “splurge.” It sounds quite messy. Surprisingly though, it’s meaning has nothing to do with making a mess.
Likewise, “uvula” sounds dirty. And “kumquat” sounds like something you need to do in the bathroom.
A few more examples of other shamelessly funny words:
Using these words, and others like them, when it’s logical to do so will make your phrases pop with amusement. End a sentence on the funny word for an extra amusing splurge.
Laugh at Yourself (But Not Others)
“Am I perfect? No. But am I striving to be a better person every day? Also no.” Anonymous
All joking aside, some self-effacing humor can go a long way in making you approachable, relatable, and someone people want to do business with. It demonstrates that, though you take your expertise seriously, you don’t take yourself too seriously and would be amiable personally and professionally.
However, as useful as it is to poke fun at yourself, please avoid making jokes at the expense of others. Not only can your words hurt but you and your business will be perceived as distrustful and unworthy. And nothing is less funny than that.
If You Still Can’t Write Anything Funny
“Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.” Ellen Degeneres
Don’t feel bad if you have written your best, most useful, content and it still falls flat in the comedy department. When everything else fails, you can always sprinkle in some hilarious quotes, memes, or gifs related to your topic.
That’s right. You don’t necessarily have to write a single funny word to create entertaining content.
Lastly, and this may come as a surprise, avoid being funny at all costs. Your business is essential, and your clients need to know that you take them seriously. There’s nothing amusing about your expertise. Nothing.
The only thing that is funny, brilliant actually, is the honest and playful way that you convey information to your readers with content that leaves them laughing and craving more.
Dina R is a writer, life coach, and yoga instructor with 10+ years experience writing online business, article, and newsletter content. Articles have been syndicated and featured on MSN Lifestyle. Niche specializations and experience in dating, relationships, yoga, fitness, and healthy living.