What came first, the meme or the content creator? Since memes are now such an ingrained part of pop culture – whether they’re shared on social media or directly via messages – it’s hard for anyone to spend some time on the internet without coming across some recognizable humorous image or phrase. And we’re part of the problem: content creators like ourselves are always latching on to popular references to make content instantly appealing to the short attention spans of internet users. This is because memes are good for a quick chuckle and helps to quickly express a particular sense of style. Regardless of how entertaining they are, though, memes are something of a double-edged sword: use them correctly and you’ll get the desired attention from your readers, but use them poorly and you’ll be ‘rewarded’ with a flood disapproving facepalms.
Memes and the Mayfly Effect
Regardless of their source of origin, memes are natural attention-grabbers that can make internet users stop for just a second in their endless scrolling to enjoy a good laugh – providing they at least contain an ounce of humor. However, the main problem with using memes in online content is that their lifespan is no longer than a mayfly’s: they surface from the depths of the internet, stay on top for a few weeks, and then disappear to never be mentioned again.
Do you remember planking? Or Gangnam Style? These memes were insanely popular back in the early 2010s but – admit it – you had completely forgotten that they even existed until just now. This is why using a meme in blog articles could actually have an adverse effect: unless the meme is from that unique group that are indestructible – the ever-lasting likes of Grumpy Cat, First World Problems, or Condescending Willy Wonka – it can outdate an article even before it’s published.
But a short lifespan and up-to-date relevancy aren’t the only concerns when wanting to leverage a popular meme to boost your article…
Including Memes in Blogs the Correct Way
Know Your Audience
Funny or not, memes aren’t seen the same way by everyone. As such, the first thing to do before spicing up your magnum opus with a meme is to think about who your target audience is and how serious the subject matter of the article will be.
For example, in Best Reviews articles you’ll rarely spot memes on topics covering accounting or online project management since these are usually of interest to business professionals who, despite undoubtedly appreciating a joke from time to time, aren’t visiting our content for the ‘lulz’. This is why memes should be restricted to more lighthearted topics like dating, photo editing, or wedding website building.
Know Your Meme
A particular meme may get you laughing out loud, but it’s worth nothing if your readers don’t understand the meme. In fact, if the meme is used incorrectly – as in not conveying the intended message or just being completely out of context – then it could lead to sacrificing your credibility on the altar of cheap laughs. To avoid that, you should learn more about the meme being used, either by googling it or by looking it up in the appropriately named Know Your Meme database. Only then should you decide whether it’s worth rolling with the idea or not.
Know the Context
The joke powering memes is that something is taken out of its original context and put into another to cast light on a topic or subject in a comedic manner. This is why you should always ask yourself: does the meme work in the context of your content? If yes, then congratulations, the job is done. If not, then maybe you should try something else to get the attention of readers; remember that a good article should sell itself and that any meme use must only enhance it, not validate it.