Lessons from The Onion: Insights for Communication Professionals

Key Takeaways

– The Onion is a satirical publication known for its scathing headlines and articles.
– Only 5% of the roughly 1,200 headlines submitted to The Onion end up being published.
– Quality over quantity is a key focus for The Onion, helping to create its signature voice and tone.
– The article highlights seven headlines from The Onion that provide takeaways for communication professionals.
– These headlines touch on topics such as concise messaging, combating misinformation, limitations of social media marketing, challenges of viral content, pitfalls of building a social media community, and sharing company news on social media.
– Humor and creativity are essential in effective communication strategies.

1. The Power of Concise Messaging

The Onion’s headline “Man’s Entire Personality Comes Across In Facebook Bio” highlights the importance of concise messaging on social media platforms. In a world where attention spans are shrinking, it is crucial to capture the essence of your message in a concise and engaging manner. This headline serves as a reminder to communication professionals to craft their messages carefully, ensuring they are impactful and memorable.

2. Combating Misinformation

The Onion’s headline “Study Finds Majority of Americans Get Their News from Facebook Headlines They Don’t Actually Click On” sheds light on the prevalence of misinformation in today’s digital age. As communication professionals, it is our responsibility to combat this issue by promoting critical thinking and fact-checking. This headline serves as a reminder to verify information before sharing it and to encourage others to do the same.

3. The Limitations of Social Media Marketing

The Onion’s headline “Report: 98% Of Facebook Users Unable To Explain How They Got On Site, What Purpose It Serves” highlights the limitations of social media marketing. While social media platforms offer vast opportunities for reaching a wide audience, it is essential to understand that not everyone fully comprehends the purpose and mechanics of these platforms. This headline reminds communication professionals to consider their target audience’s level of understanding and to tailor their messages accordingly.

4. The Challenges of Viral Content

The Onion’s headline “Viral Video Of Baby Panda Sneezing Does More For World Peace Than Any Human Ever Could” draws attention to the challenges of creating viral content. While going viral can bring immense exposure, it is not a guaranteed path to success. This headline serves as a reminder to communication professionals that creating viral content requires a combination of luck, timing, and creativity. It is crucial to focus on creating quality content that resonates with the audience rather than solely chasing viral fame.

5. The Pitfalls of Building a Social Media Community

The Onion’s headline “Local Facebook User Incredibly Stupid” highlights the potential pitfalls of building a social media community. While social media platforms provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, they also expose us to a wide range of opinions and personalities. This headline reminds communication professionals to be prepared for negative feedback and to handle it with grace and professionalism. Building a strong and engaged community requires active moderation and a commitment to fostering a positive environment.

6. Sharing Company News on Social Media

The Onion’s headline “Company Announces New Product, Immediately Forgets About It” humorously reflects the sometimes mundane nature of sharing company news on social media. While it is essential to keep your audience informed about new products or updates, it is equally important to maintain a balance between promotional content and engaging, valuable content. This headline serves as a reminder to communication professionals to approach company news with creativity and to find unique ways to engage their audience.


The Onion’s headlines provide valuable insights for communication professionals. From the importance of concise messaging to the challenges of viral content, these headlines remind us of the need for humor, creativity, and critical thinking in our communication strategies. By understanding the power of satire and applying these takeaways, we can enhance our ability to engage and connect with our audience effectively. So, let’s embrace the lessons from The Onion and infuse our communication efforts with wit, intelligence, and a touch of satire.

Written by Martin Cole

Rihanna’s Social Media Success: Lessons for Organizations

The Importance of Dedicated Communications Leadership in Today’s Business Environment