My Two Cents on Humor’s Pivotal PR Role

Last Friday, when I let newspaper editor Helen Karakoudas know that I had a “timely and hilarious” news release coming her way, she immediately gravitated to the “hilarious” half of that promise.

“Now you’ve got my interest,” said Karakoudas, managing editor of Wednesday Journal, Inc.

I was referring to my effort on behalf of Charo’s Hair Design and Day Spa, involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wellspring of hair.

Karakoudas posted the story on the paper’s web site a few hours later, and the media ball had begun rolling.

Communicating with a sense of humor, clearly, is an immense aid, no matter who you are and no matter what your professional (or amateur) pursuit.

When I was a newspaper reporter, having a sense of humor was an indispensable part of how I built rapport with people, either one-time interviewees or long-term sources.

Did they always appreciate my humor? I strongly doubt it. But at least I tried, and it’s something that I continually strive to weave in to my everyday interactions as I meet a steady stream of new people, from prospective clients to folks riding the elevator with me to dealings with the cashier at Trader Joe’s.

In my experience, the key is authenticity–to work with whatever humor God gave you, and not try too hard. In sports, this is called “letting the game come to you.” In day-to-day life, it springs forth from being an active, attentive listener–not constantly thinking of what I will say next–and identifying the lighter side of things.

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