Too Humorous or Too Informal – Some People May Mind

Sometimes in business email, Tony Rossiter advises in “Effective Business Writing”, a degree of informality and humor may be appropriate, but this should not be overdone. If you are too formal, the author observes, most people won’t mind. If you are too informal, on the other hand, some people may, in fact, mind.

What about humor in business blog content writing? Everyone likes to be entertained, Joshua Nite admits in, but our content needs to serve a business purpose. There are ways humor can be valuable in blogs, Nite suggests, including showing you understand your audience and teaching lessons.

A conversational tone in your blog has the effect of making you seem approachable, Ali Luke writes in Some hallmarks of that tone include

  • contractions such as “you’ll”
  • active voice
  • chatty phrases
  • short sentences and paragraphs
  • starting some sentences with “and”

    I often explain to clients and to newbie writers that that blogs (compared to, say, brochures, white papers, and newsletters) are casual and conversational. Humor, on the other hand, is a riskier proposition, and it’s best to focus it on your own weaknesses (that you’ve overcome) and on problems your company or practice can solve.

    Also, being personal in blog writing doesn’t necessarily mean being offensively over-casual, we teach at Say It For You. For us blog content writers, getting the tone exactly right for a new client is the big challenge. Then, as the blog writing continues over weeks, months, and eventually years, consistency is important.

    When it comes to blog content writing, I believe, there’s a very special purpose to be served by using first person pronouns and keeping it conversational in tone – even for very serious topics.  The blog is the place for readers to connect with the people behind the business or practice. Using first and second person pronouns helps keep the blog conversational rather than either academic-sounding or “sales-ey”.

    Tony Rossiter has it right, I have to conclude – when it comes to informality and especially humor – it’s best not to overdo.

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