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Don’t Fear the Funny: 5 Lessons from Content Marketing Conference

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at Content Marketing Conference in Boston. While I really enjoyed sharing some new concepts and ideas with the attendees, I enjoyed the sessions even more. One of the unique things about this conference is that the keynotes are all about the intersection of content marketing and comedy, which makes for a pretty entertaining 3 days. I came back armed with some great insights. Here are just a few of them:

1) When in doubt, ask your audience. You don’t have to go it alone. Sarah Cooper likes to talk about things that annoy you. That makes people relate to what you have to say and is fodder for endless humor. And how does she know what annoys you? Easy – she asks. By the way, since you’re already here, what annoys you most about content marketing? Tweet @TrenDemon and let us know!

2) Look to affinities for inspiration. You’re in a saturated market, and you’re out of ideas? Bonin Bough suggests a great way to be unique.  Check out your Facebook stats and see what your users actually like. A lot of companies may be writing about marketing automation. But how many people are writing about how marketing automation is like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise? You may see a lot of blog posts about picking a mortgage. But how many blog posts have you seen about why picking a mortgage is just like The Hunger Games? (Feel free to steal either of these ideas, by the way).  Looking at what your audience likes can be gold when it comes to creating content that’s relevant to your audience but also stands out from the crowd.

3) Say “yes and” not “no but“. If you’ve ever taken an improv class, you already know the power of saying “yes and”. Kat Koppett has seen it and built a whole business around it. How many times have you been in a brainstorming session where someone has shut down everybody’s ideas? What about ones where ideas flowed freely? Which of those were more productive? Sometimes acceptance of bad ideas can lead to good ideas. Don’t shut others out, listen, agree, and then create.

Sometimes acceptance of bad ideas can lead to good ideas.#InnovativeThinking Share on X

 4) Don’t be afraid to be odd. Have you ever heard of the Von Restorff Effect? It’s the psychological concept that states that the oddball will always get noticed. One red shoe in a row of black shoes. One purple bird in a row of white ones. Nancy Harhut says using this little psychological trick can be incredibly effective. For example – imagine a big red heart emoji in the middle of your drab inbox? Chances are you’d read that subject line, and probably open it (at least until everyone else starts doing it).

5) Timing is everything. Coming from arguably the funniest place in the world – The Second City – Marylin Cox, VP of Marketing and CRM knows a bit about timing. Marylin credits a large part of The Second City’s success in B2B marketing (yes, they do workshops for companies! Sign me up!) to knowing when to approach potential customers. If someone is leaving a Second City Show still laughing, that’s probably the best time to let them know that they can laugh that hard at work too.

So really – what annoys you most about content marketing? Tag @TrenDemon on Twitter and enlighten me!