If you’re trying to make an article funny, and the only tactics you have are inserting emoji’s or lame recycled gifs, then here’s some fantastic tips for you to inject some humor into your article!
Tip #1.) You do not have to be funny to be a great writer!
Ughh this dude is trying way to hard to be cool and funny, and it isn’t working :-/
An article can be great WITHOUT it being funny, so don’t try too hard or it sounds cheesy or cringey.
If you try too hard to be funny, it often ends up NOT FUNNY.
If you’re a boring accountant that loves writing about accounting, then by all means write boring!
Other boring accountants will read your writing also! (Only 14 accountants were harmed in the making of this joke).
Did you see how I made that piece of advice funnier with a one-liner??
Which brings us to the next point…
Tip #2.) Inject “Quick and Punchy” humor!
We want to inject humor into our writing….
….but we don’t want THE WHOLE THING to be one big laugh factory.
The end goal of our copy is to sell product, not to be funny!
This means we can slap in some funny burns.
This means we can slap in some sweet zingers.
All of these things require between 1 word, and 1 sentence to accomplish.
This brings us to our next point…
Tip #3.) Don’t spend time “setting up” a joke.
When trying to hire writers for AppSumo, we encountered tons of people who spent 3 to 5 paragraphs setting up jokes. Yeesh.
You’d be reading a damn email for a full minute and not know WHAT WAS BEING SOLD.
This is comedy overkill.
Avoid making elaborate analogies.
Avoid taking more than 1 or 2 sentences to make something “funny.”
Avoid making long, winding, and “clever” jokes that are complex.
Once again, the point of writing copy is to sell something or get a point across, not show off how clever of a comedian you are.
Selling or educating is our #1 priority, being funny is just a bonus!
Tip #4.) Re-imagine things as being totally ridiculous:
If you’re always selling something, that same old pitch can get boring, so why not sex it up a bit??
See how in just 1 sentence we made this sound so much more lively!?
Here’s another example from The Hustle, about a promotion giving away free merchandise:
Tip #5.) Use funny words, even if they are made up!
I’m sure the grammar police will hate this tip, but just because something isn’t in the dictionary doesn’t mean you can’t use it!
So long as a word gets a message across, it was successful. Here’s words that aren’t correctly spelled or even real, but they successfully convey a message:
That guy is a total wantrepreneur
Hello my loyal Sumo-lings
What the F-Heck??
His breath was super funky munky
She’s a total regifter
I’m greedy and I love smackaroos
He’s a mimbo
There was significant shrinkage
What up brokowski
You get 100 Bonus Points if you caught the 3 Seinfeld references ;-)
Tip #6.) Make a great pun!
Puns are amazing. I dogsat this dog named Sid over the weekend, and spent half the time making puns out of him:
Puns are super easy to come up with, and almost always get a small laugh. Use this Pun Generator if you need help coming up with something punny!
Tip #7.) Use Fun(ny) images!
If you’ve ever read KopywritingKourse, you know the images look like a 3 year old drew pictures on his dad’s iPad.
For example, on this copywriter salaries post we could’ve put a standard stock image kind of like this to start the post:
Instead we decided to make it a little more outlandish so it stands out amongst the sea of other posts:
Tip #8.) Only write when your brain is feeling playful!
Like this dude above, your brain feels playful after having lots of caffeine…..and when your brain is feeling funny and playful, it will output funny and playful writing!
There’s a lot of other times writers frequently have a “Funny and Playful” mind:
While having a refreshing beverage!
After meditating or clearing your mind!
While jamming out to some tunes!
After working out!
While taking the dog for a walk!
After taking a refreshing shower!
It’s in these moments when your brain is playful, and therefore has a better chance of outputting humorous copy!
Tip #9.) Bitch Ass Whiny Losers will complain 100% of the time.
If you start writing to a large audience, there is a 100% chance you will get some BAWL’s that just love to complain.
Especially when you get to the level of regularly broadcasting to 100,000+ people, even tiny amounts of crazy people start to add up.
1% of 100,000 = 1,000 crazy people
0.1% of 100,000 = 100 BAWL’s
This can mean if you’re sending a GREAT email to 100,000 people, you might get 100 people mad about SOMETHING for no real reason.
Imagine getting ONE HUNDRED negative emails. It can feel like EVERYONE hates you. But when you’re sending out to a massive number of people, it might only mean 0.1% of people are actually upset. This means 99.9% of people didn’t fire off an angry email!
Bitch Ass Whiny Loser feedback you should ignore:
I H8TE YOU GO DIE
This is just dumb, and is to be ignored. You must learn to develop a thick skin to stupid anonymous comments.
Normal Person feedback you should take to heart:
I don’t want to be a total prude, but I’ve seen people at the company I work for get fired for remarks like that.
Normally I laugh at all your jokes, but definitely cringed when I read that, as it sounds very old fashioned in a bad way.
I hope you understand.
That was a very level-headed and constructive criticism I got many years ago, and and took it to heart. Times were changing and it was no longer cool to use something like that as an insult.
I don’t particularly care if a joke is a little offensive, but I DO care if the joke isn’t funny at all! And there are topics which are no longer that funny, and need to get phased out when writing for a large audience.
Things to avoid writing as jokes:
Try not to make jokes about hard drugs.
Example: “We just snorted a bunch of blow and decided it’d be a GREAT IDEA to give away a free subscription!”
Why: I learned over the years that drugs have destroyed many relationships and families, and is generally not a pleasant joking matter for many people. I also got A LOT of constructive criticism from a generation or two above me that drug jokes completely turn them off. I’ve had enough of these conversations to think this is.
Try not to make jokes about medical conditions.
Example: “That marketing advice is so old it’s already gone into menopause.”
Why: Obviously joking about things such as cancer brings up some pretty negative emotions for a large enough amount of people.
Try not to use other language references.
Example: “This deal is muy caliente!!” (Many international readers won’t understand the Spanish reference).
Why: I grew up in Texas, and everyone can understand some basic levels of Spanish, but to someone who lives in Sweden for example, they likely won’t know what the heck you’re saying.
It’s like the Swedish person making a joke: “This deal is rykande het!!”
Most of us would have no idea what that means.
Some Examples of Funny Writing:
Here’s some quick examples you can reference when showing people how to write funny.
How to Scam People Article:
Why it’s good: This is another article that gives brazenly bad advice, but in the purpose of delivering good advice. The article seems like it genuinely wants to scam people, but inserts humor through the over-the-top images and advice. [View Article]
“Churn Down For What” Subject Line:
How to Become A Life Coach Article:
Why it’s good: This is a satirical piece that’s written in an “Evil Neville” tone where obviously terrible advice is given. However in the end it turns out the article gives good advice. It’s not just funny for funny’s sake. [View Article]
The Hustle “Four Loko” Email:
Why it’s good: Instead of simply saying “We’re giving away some T-shirts” this email added in some quick-and-punchy humor with the Four Loko reference. This is a great example of injecting humor into an email without taking up too much space. [View Article]
Writing Funny Tips & Cheat Sheet:
P.S. What are you best tips on being funny? Or what publications have funny writing?
I will send the top three commenters a whoopi cushion 😛