Humor in PR

Public Relations

By: Hailey Herzik

Humor can be risky business when it comes to professional PR writing. It can be inappropriate, unasked for, and distracting, but it can also be a great way to make a press release stand out. Inserting a humorous headline or introductory sentence, when executed correctly, can make a press release dazzle in a journalist’s inbox.

There are thoughts to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use humor in a press release. Ken Scudder, co-author of World Class Communications writes that humor must be used, “…appropriately, safely and in moderation, and it shouldn’t interfere with the workflow…” Before sending out a press release, or speaking publicly, it is important to understand the audience and the subject matter. Knowing your audience is crucial when deciding if humor should be used and what kind of humor; different age groups find different things funny. If the topic is serious or pressing, humor is highly inappropriate, and using it in these types of situations is buying a one-way ticket out of a job.

There are several benefits and risks to using humor in PR writing. Humor can liven up an otherwise dull press release and help journalists or audiences remember it more. It is vital that the humor is appropriate and relevant.