In this article, we give you a few quick tips on comedy writing for social media.
Firstly, let’s talk about content. It truly is the word of the week, month, year and decade. Content (and more to the point comedy content) surrounds us 24/7.
But how do we write and produce good quality content? Well, here’s our essential guide for writing comedy for social media.
Research is Key
Most importantly, in order for your comedy writing to be topical and relevant you need to know what’s popping online, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to immerse yourself.
Find out what you think is good and which current trends are being hopped on. Here are some top tips for keeping up with the best comedy for social media.
- Have a purge – Make sure you’re only following the accounts of creators that truly make you laugh or are trying something new. Smartphones make it incredibly easy to produce content now, but not all of it is good.
- See what works – Follow accounts that are reaching the audience you wish to reach and jot down why you think their comedy writing works.
- Keep up to date – Instagram and Twitter frequently bring out new features including filters, increased character limits and even the launch of bigger updates such as IGTV.
Know Your Platform
Secondly, if you’re looking to kick start or up skill your comedy writing for social media, learning to create for different platforms is key. Not only should you be looking to research the style and talent out there already, but also the platform.
Furthermore, an understanding of the opportunities and limitations will help you to craft your comedy writing and reach your audience in a more organic and meaningful way.
Comedy Writing – Optimal Length
For example, Facebook’s algorithm favours a 4:5 aspect ratio with a minimum duration of 3 minutes, whereas YouTube favours a 16:9 aspect ratio and 10+ minutes. These rules change fast so it’s important to keep up to date.
A great way to do this is to simply follow the providers on their own platforms. To help here’s a quick breakdown of the main platforms and our recommended optimal length for videos.
|Platform||Video Aspect Ratio||Optimum Length||Max Upload Size|
|1:2.39 – 2.39:1||30 seconds (140 seconds max)||512MB|
|30 seconds. You can upload up to 60 seconds max, depending on the quality of your piece||4GB|
|Instagram Story||9:16||15 seconds per story – No limit but stick to no more than 8 per day||4GB (per story)|
|9:16 (recommended) 16:9 supported 4:5 (in feed preview)||Depending on your content you should aim for 2-4 minutes for one off pieces||650MB (Under 10mins) 3.6GB (Under 60mins)|
|Facebook Shared Post||16:9|
|Facebook Stories||9:16||15 seconds per story – No limit but ideally stick to no more than 8 per day||4GB (per story)|
|YouTube||16:9 (can support vertical but will add pillarboxing)||10+ minutes is good as longer form content is currently favoured. Shorter videos should come in at 3+ minutes||128GB|
|TikTok Feed Video||9:16||15 seconds per story (60 seconds in total). No optimum length but make it watchable 🙂||287.6 MB (iOS) and 72 MB (Android)|
More information can be found here for advertising, specialist and paid media posts.
Scripting Online Video
So you’ve done your research and you know which platform you’d like to create video content for, now how do you go about writing comedy for social media?
As a general rule comedy writing for digital should be short and straight to the point. Here are a few more top tips below for comedy writing for social media:
- Try and get a laugh in the first 10 seconds – You want to hook the audience so they carry on watching. Long-winded jokes aren’t going to capture your audience’s attention.
- Think about how your comedy writing matches the edit – For example, are you scripting something for Instagram Stories? After 15 seconds there will be a break in the story – is this an opportune time for a gag or to cut that scene completely?
- Think about how you want your audience to feel – Should they be shocked, disgusted or perhaps able to relate? Comedy writing for social media is about figuring out the purpose before you script, as this will guide you on the kind of jokes to include. It could simply be to parody something, in which case your focus is to mirror the gags.
- Avoid heavy scripting – let your content remain organic. TikTok for example is a short-form platform aimed at moments and challenges. In this case, your scripting would work better if you had a general idea of what you wanted to film. You can let the comedy shine through in post-production and editing.
Comedy Writing – Copy, Bylines and Descriptions
Of course, comedy is not all about scripting a filmed piece, the magic is in the detail. You may be looking for some tips on comedy writing for social media tweets, headers or bylines:
- Take out the repetitions – Whether you’re writing a tweet or a description, look back at your copy and take out any repetitive words. A great way to replace redundant words with descriptive ones is to use an online synonym dictionary.
- Try to use specific rather than generic words – The comedy is always heightened if you can visualise the scene more. I.e. “I tripped over a cereal box on the pavement this morning.” or “I tripped over a box of sugar puffs on the pavement this morning”.
- Rule of three – You will likely have heard of this rule already but it’s important to reiterate. Listing things is great. Think about using lists in your tweets, video titles, email headers or social media copy.
- Don’t ask for a laugh – Try to avoid using description copy such as “We made this funny video, please check it out”. You’ll retain more respect by being clever with your captioning.
- Edit, edit and edit some more – Say what you mean in as few words as possible. It’s a proven fact that our brains remember the first and last sentence of what we read. The shorter the better!
- Make use of GIFS, memes and images – to enhance your comedy writing. Eye catching or topical visuals will always perform better online than text only posts.
Building and Engaging with the Community
Finally, as any good writer knows, it’s the journey not the end product. Comedy writing for social is no exception to this.
Digital platforms are an excellent tool to broadcast comedy writing but you also need an active audience base too. Having lots of followers is great, but a smaller more dedicated following might be better.
In addition to this, when you’re starting out with putting content online try to retain your following. A great way to do this is to come up with 3 words that describe your work. These words could be colourful, quirky and happy for example.
Lastly, make sure that the content you upload always matches this criteria so the audience is not confused with what you’re offering.
Creators and Community
Having a presence online is not a solitary experience. It’s called social media for a reason and there are many great ways to engage with the community.
We all know that you can comment, like and follow but good creators take this one step further. Aim to build relationships with others online. You could also message them to let them know you like their latest post and that you’d love feedback on yours.
Depending on the relationships you build there may also be opportunities to write together. Broadcasting an Instagram live from both pages is a great starting point. You could also champion the work of others on your stories.
Use the fundamental principles of ‘Yes, And’ from the world of improv for continuing conversations online.
You will see brands doing this when they engage with fans, or individuals hopping on Twitter memes or TikToks. “Yes, And” works for replying to comments, quote tweeting, creating your own parodies etc.
It’s all about extending the narrative. So put the effort in to continue the comedy and you’ll soon see your audience becoming more engaged with your content 😉
Comedy Writing for Social Media – Wrapping Up
In short, comedy writing should be an enjoyable process rather than a rush to create something ‘perfect’. Do your research online but don’t get bogged down in what other people are making.
Also, find your own voice and writing style and utilise all that social media can offer to make your work shine.
The last tip is to make yourself laugh. If you’re having fun and laughing whilst creating then you know you’ve hit the sweet spot 👍