My name is Brandon, and I have achieved blogging success:
- I live with my wife’s parents.
- Nobody knows who I am.
- And I am constantly asked, “When are you getting a real job?”
Thankfully, Twitter needed a Kathy Griffin to join their Angelina Jolies on the Suggested User List. Several months later, I have over a half million people following me. Most of them? They have no idea who I am either.
So why are they still following?
I’d like to think it’s because of my charmingly neurotic personality, or because I use social publishing tools to inspire activism and help those in need. But… based on what gets re-tweeted and my bit.ly logs, they’re still following because I use snap copy.
Snap copy is a phrase I use to describe injecting humor writing techniques into your day-to-day copy. You won’t be a George Carlin, but using snap copy will make you 20% funnier than you really are.
And that’s 100% funnier than Carlos Mencia.
Ways To Be 20% Funnier, Right Now:
1. Be Brief
2. Compare And Contrast Identifiable Objects
If I started out saying Twitter wanted a Brandon Mendelson to join their Robert Scobles, few of you would find that funny.
By using two very different people that your audience can identify, the audience has a funny mental image they can laugh at.
3. Surprise Your Readers
I Can Do WHAT To Seth Godin’s Head?
We laugh at something because it’s not supposed to go together. Or because it is supposed to go together, but we’ve never made the connection. Your job is to make those connections for the reader.
4. Know Your Audience (Without Being Creepy)
I have read Copyblogger for a few years now. I know many of you either have a blog or have some interest in writing online. So I started out with the stereotypical struggling blogger life to help you relate to me.
If you don’t know your audience, and if they can’t relate to you, you will fail horribly in trying to surprise and entertain them, no matter how funny your jokes are.
5. Don’t Kill Your Jokes (Until They’re 18 And Want To Go To College)
You all know, when you edit, you have to be ruthless. But when it comes to your jokes? Don’t cut. Just fling it.
But: If you’re writing in a professional setting, run the joke by some friends. Don’t ask for feedback (group decisions breed mediocrity), but see if they laugh at it.
If they do… go for it.
6. Use The Ken Keeler Principle
Some words are inherently funny. The reason does not matter. What matters is being able to identify opportunities where you can apply the principle, “Underpants Is 20% Funnier than Underwear” and swap out boring words with funny ones.
7. Always Tweak (Says The Guy With OCD)
After you’ve flung your jokes out there, it’s important to measure what worked. Now you can get ruthless and cut the bad ones.
In the event you skimmed this article, here’s what you need to know:
Snap Copy will make you 20% funnier than you really are. All you have to do is:
- Get to know your audience.
- Don’t edit yourself until you have actually used the joke or tested it. Then you can tweak it.
- If you want to improve the likelihood that your audience will laugh, use funny words where you can, use readily identifiable objects to compare and contrast, and surprise them with things they might not have thought about.
About the Author: Brandon Mendelson is the event organizer of A Million High Fives, an ambitious attempt to high five one million American Twitter users and have them volunteer at homeless shelters throughout the country. He is also a freelance writer for hire that can be reached at brandon[at]brandonmendelson[dot]com.