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I attended an event recently and witnessed one of the speakers do the following:

  • Start out with a joke that fell absolutely flat. Then he explained the joke and guess what, it didn’t get any better.

Then, during his talk he made a couple non-sensical statements, again trying to be funny. One that caught my attention brings up a good lesson on PR. He said he has seen a lot of articles that are really lists, as in, the top 10 things to do, the top 7 things to not do, etc. His “funny” comment was about how the writers must be doing this to get search engine hits.

Well, not really. They’re doing variations of the “Top 10 list” because:

  • PR experts say lists attract people’s attention (they do).
  • The authors want to attract the attention of reporters and if you want to get interviewed or quoted you need to be attractive to reporters (reporters love lists).
  • Negative lists are what capture the most attention, like, “The Seven Traps That Snare Business Buyers and Sellers.” (Reporters especially love things to avoid because they resonate with readers because most people prefer to avoid a mistake over doing something right.)

If you’re not naturally funny, don’t try to be. And, when joking about something, make sure you know what the heck you’re talking about.

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