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Writing Humor: The Art of Making Readers Laugh

Writing Humor: The Art of Making Readers Laugh

“I’ve got 99 problems, I feel bad for ya son…I’ve 99 problems but my humor ain't one!” As I write those words, all that I can think about is how embarrassed my 14-year-old son would be reading that opening statement, and it makes my feel goods go wild.

Writing was not my initial career choice, I found it later in life, but it didn’t take long to figure out that I love writing with humor, even if it is a bit “sus” at times.

That’s right, you jumped onboard the dad joke train, and I am here to be your spirit guide on your journey to tickling your reader’s funny bone.

[Switches to serious face] Now that you know what you are in for within this particular article. We need to have a serious discussion about why you would want to include humor in your writing and the mechanisms to help you connect with your audience.

Humor’s Role In Writing

From a chuckle to a deep belly laugh like a baby that just saw a cat do a backflip, laughter is an amazing thing. Making your readers laugh is truly an art form that some get and others don’t even try. I am here to tell you that inserting humor into your copywriting is a great way to ingratiate yourself with your audience and earn some street cred.

You don’t have to be Jack Black, Robin Williams, or Richard Pryor to get a laugh from your audience, you just have to find ways to connect with them that go beyond mundane text.

5 Tips For Writing With Humor

I like to equate writing with humor to throwing darts. When you first start out, you are happy to find the board. As you practice and perfect your craft, you get more and more accurate and are able to create copy that resonates. As you get started, you will miss the board from time to time, and that is OK. Even the best comedians have jokes that bomb.

While I am by no means a professional comedian, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you make your readers crack a smile.


Be Yourself

When it comes to humor, the best thing that you can do is be yourself. If you aren’t authentic in your approach or the humor that you use, your readers will be able to tell. For example, I love a good dad joke, just like I like Nickelback, and I’m not afraid to admit it either.

The more of yourself that you can incorporate into your writing, regardless of style, the easier you will find it to build an audience. 

Keep It Light-hearted

I will admit adding jokes into copy can be a bit of a wild card. Simply put – not all clients will appreciate a more casual tone or approach. The reason for this is that they don’t want to accidentally offend anyone as it is their business and reputation on the line.

If you choose to add humor to your next piece of copy, be sure to keep it lighthearted and stay away from controversial topics. The more charged the comment, the more likely it will miss and alienate some segment of your audience. Point in case I may have lost you at the Nickelback comment, but that is just me weeding out those that can’t appreciate some classic(that hurt’s to say) early 2000 jams.

Use Universal References

If you are worried about missing the mark, avoid hyper-specific jokes. The more general you can keep it, the better. Over time, as your audience grows and becomes accustomed to your writing style, you can slowly work in some zingers that are more focused.

Use Audience Appropriate Jokes

Let’s back up the wagon a bit, and clarify that any jokes within your copy should be rated no higher than PG-13. This keeps you in the nest, in a tree of trust and understanding. Dropping an [radio edit] in your copy is a surefire way to lose a client.

But audience-appropriate jokes have additional layers – such as life experiences. What one group finds funny may completely go over the head of another group. Think about who will be reading your article, and plan accordingly. Some things, like Nickelback jokes, transcend age gaps or other demographics. 

Sprinkle It On

Unless you are writing an article like this, humor isn’t like Frank’s Red Hot – you can’t put that stuff on everything. Sprinkle it in here and there throughout the copy rather than slathering it on. For one thing, you will lose readers pretty quickly. The fact that you got to this point in this article clearly shows that you are a glutton for punishment.

Second, when it is used sparingly, humor creates memorable moments within the text. There are a million articles on “the internet” and a good place joke can help you stand out to readers.

Master The Art Of Writing With Humor

I will leave you with this last piece of advice – don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t predict everything, and unless you try something new, you will never know if it resonates with your audience. Even if you write with humor in small doses, just for yourself, it can instantly improve your storytelling and copywriting skills.

For more writing tips and tricks of the trade, be sure to check out the other Hire a Writer blogs. Because you know what they say – “Ain’t no party like Joy Youell’s tea party.”

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