Try Not To Read This Cartoon
I’m guessing you probably did, though. Cartoons are hard—maybe impossible- to resist. Content marketers want content that can be easily understood and shared and that has a strong visual component and single-panel cartoons fit the bill perfectly. They also have a unique aspect that makes them even more attractive, which is that readers don’t just want to read cartoons-they can’t help it. Perhaps more than any other type of content, cartoons have an irresistible appeal. The mere presence of a simple, funny drawing grabs reader’s attention and and makes them curious to find out what it’s about. In the moment it takes for that curiosity to be satisfied, the message has been delivered.
Back To The Future
There was a time when cartoons were everywhere. Mass circulation magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Look and Family Circle featured dozens of single-panel cartoons in every issue, a market large enough for numerous cartoonists to make their entire livings servicing it. Editors knew readers liked cartoons and and that they were an important part of their publication’s appeal.
Of course, those days have long since past and the print magazine is not longer the medium of choice. But I’ve found that there’s a demand out there for a new kind of single-panel cartoon, one that’s tailored to the niche audiences of blogs. It’s a demand that’s mostly unfilled, since there aren’t a lot of cartoonists with the skills to meet it. But with three decades of experience working professionally in pretty much every form of cartooning, and a fundamental understanding of how cartoon ideas are structured, I find myself in the unique position of being able to supply quality cartoons to a wide variety of audiences, on demand.
Knowing the Niche
Like all content, cartoons are most effective when targeted to a specific audience. Partly it’s a matter of necessity, since most blogs are targeted as well. A random cartoon about a guy on a desert island that works perfectly well on a New Yorker page would be mystifying if it appeared in a blog for fashion designers. If the cartoon’s actually about fashion design or the work fashion designers do, it certainly makes more sense. But it has another effect as well. Fashion designers, a group of readers who hardly ever see themselves and their concerns reflected in cartoons have something to get excited about and to share. The warmth and humor that cartoons project make those readers feel appreciated and enhances their sense of community. And if the cartoon appears regularly it gives them one more reason to return.
Funny is Nothing to Fear
Businesses can be reluctant to incorporate cartoons into their blogs, fearing cartoons will dilute their blog’s message and undercut the gravitas of their brand. That may make intuitive sense, but I believe it’s a mistake. Blogs, after all, aren’t just about the informative posts—they’re about building emotional connections with the business behind the blog and between the blog’s readers, and the shot of knowing humor embodied in a targeted cartoon is an excellent way to do it. Cartoons both provide a welcome break from the usual fare and highlights its information value. Just as the readers of old understood that the cartoons on the pages of otherwise serious articles weren’t intended to be a part those articles, readers of today understand that the presence of cartoons isn’t a reflection on the rest of the blog’s content, but a separate sort of content altogether, a distinction that’s clearer on blogs because cartoons appear as unique posts. Overall seriousness benefits when interspersed with moments of pleasure. That’s why in even the fanciest restaurants you still get dessert.
As digital content, sophisticated, well-done cartoons by a professional cartoonist are almost perfect. They’re a benefit to any blog, but especially those catering to niche audiences in business and the professions. Readers smile and feel understood. Content managers get views, clicks and shares. The mass circulation magazine may be pretty much gone, but the future of cartoons on the internet has only begun.
Check out http://www.breakthroughvisuals.com/cartoons-for-blogs-and-newsletters/ to see samples of ongoing cartoon series for blogs and newsletters. And visit http://www.breakthroughvisuals.com/free-cartoons/ for free cartoons you can use on your blog or newsletter!
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