At the National Speakers Association of Indiana meeting, humor speaker Jeff Fleming had valuable information for speakers which we blog content writers can use. This week I’m sharing some of Jeff’s wisdom with my Say It For You readers.
One technique often used in comedy, Fleming explained, is exaggeration.That can relax the audience, entertain them, and also emphasize points you want them to remember.
Well….maybe, I couldn’t help thinking. Exaggeration is something bloggers for business need to handle very, very carefully. After all, we’re trying to build trust. “Claiming to have expertise you don’t have can create customer dissatisfaction and complaints, ultimately eroding your reputation,” cautions the Ethics Center. So, how can we content writers take advantage of humor to add a refreshing quality to our material?
Comedy writing maven Todd Strong quotes a Johnny Carson exaggeration joke: Johnny was visiting a small town. How small? The Enter and Exit signs for the town were on the same pole!
Now, there’s an inoffensive piece of humor, I thought. Strong offers a concrete method for writing exaggeration jokes. Pick a noun as your subject, say a car. Write down some quality of that noun, say “expensive”. Then associate that adjective or adverb with a place or thing. Strong used a car as the subject. “My car is so expensive, the radiator requires Perrier.” “When I get a crack in the windshield, the repair shop refers me to Tiffany’s.”
Since it’s a good idea in blog posts to give searchers a “feel” for the relief and comfort they’ll gain after using your products and services, you could start out with an exaggerated question:
Are the charges for routine maintenance on your car getting to the point of the ridiculous? Do you sometimes wonder if your radiator requires Perrier or you need to visit Tiffany’s to replace a cracked windshield!
Once you’ve used humorous exaggeration to “hook into” the reader’s concern about cost, it’s time to offer serious, usable information. Edmonds.com does that very well on its website:
“When you take your car to the dealership's service department for repairs, you know you're getting Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) car parts. However, if you take your car to an independent shop, you'll most likely get aftermarket car parts. Is there anything wrong with that? Does a less expensive part mean a poorer-quality part? And in what situations should you use only OEM parts?”
When it comes to comedy writing, Fleming reminded us that “a story must be spiritually accurate, but not necessarily factually correct." On the other hand, while we writers can use exaggeration to lighten the mood, engage readers, and show sympathy for their dilemma and problem, it’s crucial that we be “factually correct” in describing the extent to which our products and services can be of help.