Podcast 66: is it ever OK to use comedy in B2B copy – and if so, how do you do it well?

Humour is an ultra-subjective thing, so you might think it’s best to avoid comedy in B2B copywriting. But is that really true – and if not, how do you go about getting it right?

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Making people laugh is hard at the best of times – but when you’re writing in the guise of a brand, it’s even harder.

How do you know what your audience will find funny? And what if your audience doesn’t share your sense of humour, and it actively damages your brand’s reputation?

With the risks so high, you might think it’s best to avoid humour altogether in B2B copywriting. But is that really true – and if not, how do you go about getting B2B comedy right?

Three B2B comedy experts share their insights

In this special edition of Good Copy, Bad Copy, I talk to three people who know a thing or two about comedy and B2B copywriting.

The result: a full 45 minutes packed with expert tips on how to do B2B comedy well; what to avoid at all costs; and when it’s better not to try to be funny, even if you really want to.

Here’s the line-up:

Craig Beadle, comedy journalist-turned-copywriter at B2B content marketing agency Velocity Partners, gives us the lowdown on:

  • Which content formats work well for comedy – and which don’t (06:30)
  • How Velocity uses its own brand of humour to attract the right kind of clients (09:00)
  • The one time they took things too far – and discovered a line you can’t cross (13:21)

PLUS: Why this trio of ads by Sandwich Video for Wistia is his favourite bit of B2B humour.

Pauliina Jamsa, senior online marketing manager at Siemens and veteran of over 70 stand-up appearances, spills the beans on:

  • How she uses humour to liven up conference presentations (19:11)
  • Why B2B brands shouldn’t try too hard to be funny (22:52)
  • Why customers are your best source of comedy inspiration (just don’t make them the butt of the joke) (28:59)

Richard Preddy, comedy scriptwriter with TV credits including The Fast Show and Green Wing, and writer-for-hire on corporate video projects, gives us his two cents on:

  • When it’s appropriate to use humour in your content – and when it isn’t (35:04)
  • How to convince sceptical client stakeholders your idea is genuinely funny (36:38)
  • Why visual content lends itself better to comedy than text (38:23)

PLUS: Why this video earned Zendesk Richard’s vote for funniest B2B tech brand.

Thanks once again to our three fabulous contributors for their time, honesty and humour.

Want to contact the show?

If you have any questions for our contributors, or comments for us, fire away. You can reach us via @radixcom on Twitter or podcast@radix-communications.com (you can even email us a voice memo, if you like).

How to listen…

You can download the episode here (right-click and “save-as” to download). Or stream the episode in the player at the top of the page.

(Alternatively, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here. Or maybe add our RSS to your preferred podcast player.)

Have you heard the one about… interviewing subject matter experts?

That’s the latest topic in our new, short-form podcast series, The B2B Content Audio Blog. Each one is a quick, easy listen on a specific aspect of B2B content writing – from writing for ABM to the evils of using the present participle in headlines. We’d love to know what you think.

Credits:

Podcast editing and music by Bang and Smash

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