A Content Marketer Walks into a Bar…
The other day, I committed an unforgivable sin.
I ruined a great joke.
In my delivery of the best joke ever, I ever-so-slightly rephrased the punchline in a seemingly harmless way. It was in the resulting silence that I realized I had stumbled upon a delicate yet vital organ of the joke’s life-source…then mashed it with my clumsy fist.
This brief episode reminded me of a couple of things: 1) I’m often comedy’s equivalent of Lennie from Of Mice and Men and 2) True comedians are the greatest content artists around.
Most comedians say that jokes rely on a combination of material, timing, and delivery. Get one element just a bit wrong, and the whole thing dies. There is very little room for error, making a good comedian a master craftsman.
At the cusp of a content revolution in Internet marketing, content writers should hold themselves to the same incredibly high standard.
After all, if the sheer act of telling a joke won’t automatically make you hilarious, the sheer act of creating online content won’t automatically make you marketable either. It has to be great if it’s going to work.
So when training to become a judo master at content marketing, it’s not hard to see that the three variables of comedy apply. To create effective content, you have to be aware of material, delivery, and timing.
Whether you sell sports cars or the shock absorbers for the sports cars, your material should always be of a high quality and purpose. Be inspired. Don’t be the equivalent of that stand-up routine talking about how men and women are different. Really? I never noticed that or heard that comparison made ever.
Even the best material will fail if not delivered well. Pay attention to your language. Be aware of the various mediums available. There are a lot of poor movies out there that could have been great in another format, like a TV show or even an essay. It all depends on how you dress it up.
Timing is that most elusive creature. With comedians, it’s that instinct that’s impossible to teach. With content marketing, it’s a bit more within reach. Timing has to do with when you discuss certain topics (in relation to the external trends) and how often you reach your audience. The keyword is “slightly.” Stay slightly ahead of trends and stay slightly visible to your audience. Too much of either can make you seem irrelevant and invasive, respectively.
Check back for longer posts focusing on each method. In the meantime, experiment with your favorite joke and notice just how much it changes at the slightest tweak. Great content is such a delicate little bunny rabbit.
Speaking of which, here’s a Looney Tunes homage to Lennie Small, and a metaphor for how I mangle jokes: