Net.Mentor creates and manages compelling content for a wide range of clients including:
Click here to find out more about our content services.
Gene Kelly's hysterical Make 'Em Laugh dance routine in Singing in the Rain is certainly funny, but it's also incredibly clever. It takes humour, but also immense skill, energy, focus and technique. A bit like creating good content.
OK, I'm no Gene Kelly. Apart from anything else, the last time I tried to run up a wall I ended up in traction for six weeks. However, attempting the content-writing equivalent doesn't involve such physical danger but it does mean taking some risks.
Advertising copywriters have used humour for years. One of my favourite series is the Carling Black Label ads, Dambusters being one of them. However, it still takes some bravery to not only use humour, but actually make fun of the brand itself. Anyone who has tasted Marmite - the UK's famous yeast extract product - knows that you either love it or hate it.
But to run a long-term brand campaign actually saying it takes a massive leap of faith. In fact, it worked and Marmite sales increased as a result.
Old Spice, an aftershave brand looking to revitalise its image, is taking on the uber-pretentious mens' fragrance ad market with a great series of self-deprecating adverts and social media activities. If ever there was an industry that needs to take a look hard look at itself, this is the one. Let's hope Old Spice can prick the bubble of fragrant falalah.
Humour certainly works, but content writers are not always brave enough to use it when it comes to web copy. "We're a serious company with an important product" screams the website. "We're worthy, important and"..well, actually quite dull. But it doesn't have to be like that.
I have recently completed a website for a firm of accountants in Essex. Now, apart from the obvious jokes about gold lamè slingbacks and dancing round handbags, humour in this context has to be handled carefully.
However, it can be done and it becomes an enjoyable process producing content that delivers a serious message but allows an element of humour to go with it. It is, of course, vital to have the client's support and having a laugh together makes the whole process a great deal easier.
I think it's about time content writers were braver with their clients and encouraged them to bring out the humour in their messages. Sure, there is a danger of losing some of their more po-faced customers who just wouldn't countenance such frivolous verbocity.
On the other hand, they might just gain a few new ones that will make it more enjoyable to get up and go to work in the morning.
Published 26th July, 2011