In John Vorhaus’ The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even if You’re Not you’re schooled on how to be funny and how to write funny. I don’t care if you want to do stand up or if you want to dominate the web, there are tips in this book that will help you write better.
Here are seven things Mr. Vorhaus taught me (or reminded me) about web content writing.
Humor is truth and pain.
Most of us can get a laugh from friends, but that’s by accident. To produce a reaction from people you don’t know (a/k/a your website visitors), find out what hurts them and then talk about it honestly.
Say what you think.
Vorhaus tells readers that you need your own point of view to be funny. Pick a side. Have an opinion. Don’t back down.
Clash of context for great headline writing.
Imagine trying to fit an elephant into a bathtub. Apply this logic to headline writing. Give your readers an unexpected image.
Decide on the high-concept idea.
A high-concept idea is a story idea that is understood in one sentence. For example, snakes on a plane.
What’s the high concept idea for your business? Make sure that sentence appears on your home page and about page.
Clichés should be avoided in all types of writing. If you have to use one, make it different. Vorhaus uses this example: I never kiss on the first drink.
Give the reader character keys.
Don’t tell us how you excel at customer service. Give us small insights into the type of business you run. Vorhuas calls these small insights “character keys.” Tell us about your guarantee. Tell us about your quality assurance program. Tell us about your hatred of phone trees.
Apply the rule of three.
Two words to describe something isn’t enough and four words is too much. Three, on the other hand, is perfect. In comedy writing, and in web content writing, if you’re looking to produce smiles, apply the rule of three with a twist. Make the third item in the list something unexpected. For example, XYZ business knows nuts, bolts, and how to answer the phone on the second ring.
What writing techniques do you follow in your web content writing? Have you read any writing books lately?