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There’s a strong link between comedy and content marketing — here’s how to tap into your funny side. 

There’s a reason why this year’s Golden Globe Awards received the highest ratings in 10 years — funny ladies Tina Fey and Amy Poehler ran the show. Adding humor to what can be a slightly serious (and static) Hollywood show resulted in more viewers, more buzz and more moments to be talked about for years to come. For what has been known as a pretty predictable show, Tina and Amy weren’t afraid to shake it up through their comedic ways.

There’s a strong correlation between humor, content marketing and branding. If you can get readers to laugh at your content, there’s a good chance you can get them to trust you enough to purchase a product from you. If you don’t consider yourself a natural comedian that’s OK because you can develop the skills you need with just a little practice and guidance. So if you’re interested in taking a light-hearted route with your content marketing strategy, here are three guidelines to keep in mind.

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1. Focus on Your Audience

The secret to comedy is to focus on your goal, not on your tactics. Comedy writers don’t focus too much on getting laughs. If they do, the joke falls flat. Similarly, you can’t focus too much on how to make your readers think you’re funny. Instead, start by coming up with an idea. Ask yourself what might be funny about your products, services, or industry. Then, connect that to your overall goals such as selling more products, getting people to sign up for your email newsletter or getting them to browse your website.

Similarly, the most successful comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler don’t try to imitate other comedians (unless they’re being sarcastic) in order to get laughs. Their laughs come from an authentic and honest place. They tell it how they see it — and people find them funny.

How does this connect to the world of content marketing? Well, you already know you don’t want your products and services to be just like your competition’s product. Now extend that to the world of content writing. Don’t be afraid to be different.

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2. Develop an Original Funny Voice

If you want to ensure your voice is original, start by pretending you are a member of your target audience. Think about what kinds of things your target customers find funny. What are the lighter sides of the problems you are trying to solve? Ask yourself if there’s some levity in the competition in your industry.

For example, content marketers are constantly trying to create and share the “best piece of content.” A funny take on the current landscape would make far more of an impact and rise above the noise as opposed to another blog post about how to write the most engaging Facebook post.

In addition to trying to see things from your audience’s perspective, imagine you’re telling a funny story about your products or services to a close friend — or loyal customer. How would you say it? What would you do to make it funny? The answers to these questions can help you figure out what your own original spin on your material might be.

See also: Five Ways to Turn Your Audience into Content

3. Avoid Going for Shock Value

The biggest mistake that many comedians, including content marketers, make is that they try to shock their audience instead of letting comedy flow naturally. Throwing around outlandish phrases and using unnecessary profanity or  off-color humor can result in a decrease in readership.

If you want to use profanity, sex or anything else that may shock part of your audience, ask yourself if it is necessary to make your point. Depending on your audience, you might want to avoid these topics altogether or use them sparingly. If you do use them, make sure they are tied to a larger goal, not just to the goal of shocking people and getting them to post your content.

However, don’t be afraid to take risks. Always do a gut check to determine if it’s the right strategy for your brand.

If you follow the basic guideline of finding your voice and the funny side of your customers’ needs, you can make your audience laugh. It’s important, however, to connect the humor to your brand so that your customers associate the two. Otherwise, your humorous efforts won’t result in improved customer loyalty or sales.

To ensure your humor is associated with your brand, make sure that your posts stay on topic. Write only about things that are of interest to your customers and relate to what you can do for them.

Have you leveraged humor in content marketing? Share your thoughts with us below.