On the Internet, almost everyone goes for the easy joke. Someone pulls a “that’s what she said” or writes an article based entirely on popular memes and people laugh with their usual “lol” which isn’t real laughter anyway, but an attempt to show they appreciate their friend telling a joke that they likely didn’t find funny. There’s a reason that “lol” looks like a bald man drowning – the state of humor on the Internet is poor, and getting worse every day.
But to be fair to the humorless masses, being funny online is hard. What’s funny to one person isn’t funny to someone else, and without inflection it can be difficult to show others that you’re even telling a joke. Lots of copywriters claim to be hilarious. Few are. When your goal is to add humor to your website, you need to reach the broadest possible audience with jokes that don’t overreach.
What Makes Funny Copywriting
There is no secret to humor. You’re either funny or you’re not. The best humor is the type that flows naturally. If you can’t think of anything funny to say, you probably shouldn’t say anything funny at all. Still, most humor copywriting – at least the copywriting that’s actually funny – tends to have the following in common:
- Purposeful Randomness
One thing that most people can appreciate is randomness. When someone puts unexpected words, sentences, and ideas together, the reader is surprised, and more likely to find the writing engaging. This is especially useful an online environment where the only book most people read starts with “Face…” The shock of seeing your clever word choice keeps eyes on the page and often leads to an audible laugh or three.
- Implied Inflection
It’s tough to do for most writers, but when you can write in such a way that the reader actually pictures you saying the words, you’re going to get a smile. It’s more than simple punctuation and formatting. You can imply inflection with things like sentence length. A long sentence with little punctuation that sounds like a rant because people that rant write really long sentences even though it’s really annoying to try to read a long sentence in your head because holy cow you want to take a breath but the writer won’t use a comma is usually a good way to show people that you’re trying to make a joke to sound like a crazy person. You can also use one word sentences. One. Word. Sentences. It makes the writing sound important.
Finally, humor copywriting requires originality. If you stole the joke from another copywriter, it’s probably not that funny. If you stole the joke from an ABC sitcom, it’s definitely not that funny. If you stole the joke from Phineas and Ferb, it’s probably funny but people won’t appreciate it because it’s a cartoon. The easier the joke, the more likely it isn’t original, and the worse your writing will be.
When your goal is to make your website light hearted and funny, you need someone that understands how to convey humor in writing. It’s not a matter of telling a million jokes and hoping someone occasionally laughs. It’s about subtlety, originality, and the ability to write naturally without forcing a joke where no joke is to be found.
Exhaustive studies of the Internet have shown that there is currently only one copywriting firm that knows how to write humor online correctly, but if you know what you’re doing, you can at least come close. Just remember that when it comes to copywriting, quality should always take precedence over everything else. If humor doesn’t work for your website or you just can’t hit the right note, try another tactic – there are a lot of ways to capture attention.