Blog Humor is Stubbornly Provincial

Two smiling clowns  isolated over a white backgroundJoe Wong is that Chinese American chemical engineer who became a career comedian, coming to fame after appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Wong now hosts TV shows in China.

In the New York Times Magazine, Christopher Beam talks about some of the challenges implicit in bringing humor into communication with the public. When Wong first started, stand-up comedy barely existed in China, and the media was largely state-run. “Humor,” says Beam, “is largely provincial. Comedic tastes differ by regions, and most jokes don’t translate well.”

You don’t need to be in China to face challenges when using humor. Humor can be a real “hot potato” in blogging for business. First of all, there’s a moral dilemma when it comes to any kind of marketing.  On the one hand, humor can be a way to connect with your audience and “humanize” your brand or company. On the other hand, we don’t want to allow the “joke” to overshadow the message, or come across as mean-spirited towards the competition.

While, unlike China, we have no “provinces”, humor really is provincial in that it doesn’t play equally well with different audiences. Humor may have the same impact as a strong headline in terms of grabbing attention, but it can also divert attention from your main task and it can offend. An interesting study was conducted by the Saimaa University of Applied Sciences to find out the impact of humor on consumer purchase decisions. The finding? Humor attracts attention, but does not increase persuasion.

Remember, as a blog content writer, your mission is to introduce readers to the products, the services, and the people in the company or the professional practice. Humor can add spice, but, as is advisable with spices in general, it is best used sparingly.

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