Don’t Try Any Funny Stuff

Michael Hume - Word Play logo

May, 2021 * Volume I, Number 5

Dear Shrewd Reader,

This edition of your favorite news-free newsletter, Word PLAY, is finally here, and you’ll find it in this edition.

You’re about to learn time-tested secrets that explain just about everything you’re wondering about, if all you’re wondering about is what level of funny is JUST right for your firm’s marketing copy.


Joking aside, THANK YOU for reading… for not opting out just yet… and for making Firewords Creative Copy your go-to source for the words that win and the funny that makes money. I am humbled by your support, and seriously grateful for your business.

- Michael

Michael D. Hume, M.S.
Senior Author and Clown Car Driver
Firewords Creative Copy

Meanwhile, in this edition of Word PLAY...

Don't Try Any Funny Stuff

(Unless You Can Do It JUST Right)
Word PLAY… Playful Monthly Commentary
On Persuasive Copy For YOUR Business

As a shrewd marketer or business owner, you know only too well that nothing makes money like funny.

Make your marketing copy fun to read, and readers will read it. Not only that, they’ll be predisposed to like you – which is only a hop, skip, and pratfall away from trusting you enough to buy what you’re selling.

But when it comes to actually sitting down and writing mildly-amusing marketing copy, many writers are in real danger of messing it up.

And even if you don’t mess it up yourself, the committee of stiff-suit-wearing editors who review copy at some firms will certainly get it as messed-up as a soup sandwich by the time they’re finished taking out everything “inappropriate.” (Meaning, everything fun to read.)

I’m reminded of the movie Good Morning, Vietnam in which Robin Williams portrayed a truly funny disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio who used his prodigious talent to distract soldiers who were trying to live through the horrors of war. His funny stuff was super effective in building troop morale.

However, just like that Stiff Suit Committee at some companies, Williams’ character was “reined in” by a character named “Lieutenant Steve,” who insisted that Robin’s over-the-top antics were not appropriate (no matter how effective they were), and took over the show himself.

“Funny is good,” Lt. Steve said, “but only if you can do it with comedy.” Or something like that. “Here, let me show you.”

If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happened next; if you didn’t, you can probably guess. The phone lines to the Saigon radio station, which would light up whenever Robin Williams did his genius funny stuff, were silent under the iron-fisted “army comedy” of Lt. Steve.

Nobody called in. Nobody listened. Nobody cared.

Turns out, Lt. Steve just wasn’t very funny. He tried, Lord help him… but he just didn’t have the knack.

So you shouldn’t let Lt. Steve write your newsletter, blog articles, or email campaigns.

There’s a correct level of “funny” which is perfect for your readers; see if you can identify that level in this single-question pop quiz. Is it:

  • Boring and unfunny,
  •  Army-like YOU WILL LAUGH NOW comedy, along with lots of technical information and sales pitches,
  • Funny enough to amuse your readers while still being useful to them in making One Big Point about how cool your business is, or
  • Side-splitting clownish hilarity which might go viral, but has nothing to do with your business or your attractive offerings.

If you answered “C,” well, you are as shrewd as I always thought you’d be.

Try funny stuff – and get it wrong – and nobody will call in. Nobody will listen. Nobody will care.

Nobody will buy!

It’s best to go with a professional writer of funny marketing content. Why? Because a pro will have the talent to combine persuasive sales copy with just the RIGHT amount of amusement to put you firmly in the “Likeable, Probably Trustworthy” category in your readers’ minds.

Do that with a newsletter or periodic blog post, and you’ll refresh that spot in your ideal prospects’ minds on a regular basis, once or twice every month… and then, when they’re ready to buy what you’re offering, you’ll be the first call on their list.

So find a writer who’s honed these funny-copy chops over years of trial and error and having to actually write stuff for the Army, thereby learning the difference between truly funny stuff and “army comedy.”

I know a guy!

But you may have to run it by your Stiff Suit Committee first. I think that’s where a Vietnam veteran named Steve is working these days.

So good luck with that.

Key Take-Aways From This Edition

  • Make your marketing copy fun-to-read, and your readers will actually read it.
  • Somebody – possibly a guy with a short haircut and a stiff suit – will give you the “free advice” that you should treat your marketing efforts with more seriousness and decorum than that.
  • If you can ignore that guy (or, better yet, start a business in competition with him), you can make your copy much more effective than anything HE would publish… you’ll build instant likeability and trust with your ideal prospects… and you’ll get rich! Rich, I say!

You’ll get more amazing marketing wisdom from next month’s news-free edition of Word PLAY!


Discussion Questions

  1. 1
    Have you ever laughed at someone in a stiff suit – but not for reasons they’d like?
  2. 2
    Was it because they took themselves WAY too seriously?
  3. 3
    Would you like to be a hop, skip, and pratfall away from being the ONE company in a competitive market seen as instantly likeable by your ideal prospects?

Send your answers to The most creative, inspirational response will be eligible to win a PRIZE! *

(* Prize is at the sole discretion of Michael Hume, his heirs and assigns, and a small-but-lively focus group of judges who don’t own any clothing more formal than t-shirts and flip-flops. Grand prize is equivalent to, or greater than, or less than, a t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops. Veterans will be given preferential treatment, because thank you for your service, but entries from veterans who can produce nothing more fun-to-read than army comedy will be quickly sprayed with funitizer as soon as funitizer is back in stock. Offer void. See details. Blah blah blah. Insert standard disclaimer stuff here, but first spray it with industrial-strength funitizer. Deadline is… oops! There it went. But we’d love your entry anyway, and we’ll keep the competition open for you. Boring, lackluster, or unimaginative entries will be given a buzz-cut, dressed in a stiff suit, and snickered at for all the wrong reasons. Best of luck!)

Last Month’s Grand Prize Winner: Stephan H. won with this: “Another well, done newsletter!” I’m sure he absolutely meant to put that comma where he put it, indicating that last month’s newsletter was, well, DONE, and that was the most he could say for it. No offense taken… I couldn’t have put it better. Call to claim your prize! And thanks for entering! It’s great that somebody calls. Somebody listens. Somebody cares.

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I write HUME-orous marketing copy for happy clients who take their professions very seriously… but whose customers like and trust them because they (the clients) don’t take themselves too seriously. Want more info? Get in touch…

Call me: (303) 478-8702
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Copyright 2021 by Michael D. Hume, M.S. All rights reserved.
Word Play is wet when slippery

FireWords Creative Copy, 195 South Rancho Vista Drive , Pueblo West, CO 81007, United States

Michael D. Hume, M.S.

Michael Hume is a freelance writer, singer, and songwriter, and author of The 95th Christmas. He's an honor graduate of the Defense Information School, and holds an M.S. from the University of Colorado School of Business. Michael is the author of hundreds of online articles, including the popular series Great Leadership Requires Inspiration, The Conscience of a Restorationist, Appreciate Your Adversaries, and Take Care of Your Business.

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