I was listening to a podcast yesterday, “Content Marketing” by Rachel Parker, and although I struggle sometimes with the style, and the unedited nature of it all I do think that she has one massive advantage over many of the podcasts out there.

That being that she is actually trying to tell us something, actually trying to give us information without spending most of her time telling us how “awesome” she is. Rachel is at least genuinely trying to share knowledge, and we then know where to find her, which is one of the key principles of content marketing.

Anyway she was talking about social proof and she used the example of Laughter tracks in comedy shows and it got me thinking.

The purpose of a laughter track on a comedy show was to tell us when to laugh, to allow is to join in on what was funny, and obviously to prop up some very poor shows.

The plan is that when a joke is told, if no one but us is laughing then we could  feel stupid, so the laughter track gives us social proof, it allows us to indulge our own sense of humour, allows us to laugh out loud.

Laughing is a moment of trust, a sharing, so it is not something that comes easily to everyone.

Most people hate tracks, they sound canned, false,we much prefer the sound of a live audience.

But still people use them and research does show that people laugh more when watching a show with a laughter track.

Its the same as when watching a comedy stage act on the tv, we keep getting shots of the audience, laughing, having a good time, reinforcing the message to us that it is funny, and it is ok to laugh. If they think it’s funny, then it must be. I find myself getting annoyed by it, but then I am far to grumpy.

Its the same principle behind why Dan Brown has been so successful, he is a bestseller, so he must be good. Everyone is telling me how good he is, so it must be, but read one of his books and you may realise differently.

How did 50 shades of grey become so popular? Its, in my opinion, dull, badly written trash, and yet it sold better than almost anything else, (I wish I had written it!). If that woman bites her lower lip one more time I swear….


It’s all the laughter track, it’s all social proof, its all – if everyone else likes it it must be ok for us.

So how do you apply that to your content marketing?

Ask yourself – which podcast to you listen to? The one which 20 people have said is brilliant, or the one without enough reviews.

Which slide do you watch on slideshare – the one with comments and lots of views, or the new one, no on else has looked at?

The truth is, we are drawn to the popular, to the mass.

So, you need to get those likes, those followers, those reviews, you need to get them by hook or by crook.

If you think about it, isn’t it the laughter track that is behind Googles apparent obsession with Links. The more people like you, the more will. Same with the quality score on ppc, the better your click through, the better your score (well along with other factors of course).

So how do you get that laughter track on your work?

Think about it?