How your brand should decide whether not to do an April fool story

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

April Fool’s Day can be a great occasion for brands to share stories – as part of their content marketing – that are outrageous, fun and, well, April Fool’s jokes.

I haven’t published an April Fool’s story before on here but am considering it this year. Given that we have some time, I thought I’d share my checklist on how I am deciding whether or not to do one and what it will be.

Would an April Fool’s story align with my brand

The clear answer is that I can envision this. I’m snarky on here from time to time and having fun isn’t too far off my brand.

Many brands (not sure if most) likely can share something fun, but if you see your brand as stiff or highly traditional you might already see this piece as a barrier.

But it’s possible to work through the barrier by talking about the potential stories that can be shared and you can even see how excited team members get about a story just by talking about it.

In your topical area, what pain points could you use as an April Fool’s story?

Pain points grab audience attention. So do positive surprises. A few year ago, I texted my mother and sister – who live in Germany:

“About to land from Newark at Düsseldorf Airport. I’ll grab a cab and see you soon. Love you.”

I think it was Newark – whatever flight from the United States was about to arrive was what I was referencing. So if they were to look it up there was a flight about to land.

So that was a pleasant surprise and then of course it was followed by disappointment because I wasn’t anywhere near them. I think. Ha. We can do the same in our April Fool’s Day stories.

Google used to do them and while they were often outrageous they also often would be cool products.

One of their stories was about auto Gmail responders – where Gmail would respond to messages based on keywords.

How convenient would that be?

What’s a unique angle?

For me, I see my April Fool’s story falling into one of these areas:

  • Storytelling
  • Social media
  • Travel
  • Corporate culture

I blog about all these topics and all certainly have great topics that could work.

One idea was to do an article on how airlines will soon start deplaning by status level.

I’m sure there are topics in the other areas.

What’s the point?

Finally, my favorite piece of debate: Why? What’s the point? Some people make this a race to who can come up with the most excuses. Don’t do that. Be deliberate about content instead with the goal being that we will publish something.

The point is to determine why our audience would care and how it can help us stand out – without hurting our brand.

So don’t be inappropriate with your April Fool’s story, but push the boundaries. Be fun. And then make sure it’s clear at the end that it’s an April Fool’s joke.

This article was edited by Lindsay Schwab.