Web writing can be both zany and serious. Knowing which one you should choose can sometimes be a tough call. Some topics could use a little humor to spice them up. But at the same time, how far is too far? Are there certain topics you just shouldn't go there with? While mentoring fellow writers, I often get asked if being a little zany is okay, even with serious topics. Should your next article be zany or serious?
Consider the venue. Where are you publishing this piece of content? If it's going in a medical journal database, your best bet is to remain serious at all times. No one is going to trust a medical journal that it isn't strictly professional and serious. On the other hand, if you're writing an article for a quirky women's online mag, be as zany as you want to be, within their guidelines.
Consider the topic. Much like considering the venue, topic choice plays an important role in this also. If you're writing a news story about a missing child, you should state straightforward facts and be serious. But if you're writing about a person who robbed a grocery store for 50 bananas, being zany helps to illustrate the story to readers. It can be great to joke a little with certain serious topics. Just be careful how and when it's done.
Know your audience. Think about the type of people who are likely to read your work. What do you think their reaction would be? Gear the tone of your article toward your most common audience. If your readers are interested in your work for business reasons, you may not want to get too zany. This is not to say that business people don't want to joke about things. But there are going to be certain topics where people will not be amused if you get too lax on seriousness.
Be aware of your purpose. What is it that you want readers to gain from reading the content? Are you trying to give people a good laugh or are you trying to instill a fact? Purpose should be thought about long before you start writing. This will help you stay on track with what it is you are trying to convey to your audience. When you write with a specific purpose in mind, it's easier to decipher which articles should stay serious and which ones could use a comedy boost.
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