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Helping Your Content Go Viral With Emotional Hot Buttons

White Shark Media

9 years ago



Every day, thousands of pieces of content go live. Social Media messages, email, blogs, videos – every type of content you can imagine.

What’s interesting about this, is that most of these pieces get lost in the bottomless ocean known as the Internet and are never seen again.

However, some pieces manage to attract tons of attention. They are shared all over the web, discussed via comments and tweets and even emails. So the question is, how does it happen? Why do some posts go viral, while most of the others get close to zero attention?

The answer is pretty simple, yet rather complicated. The content that goes viral is the content that evokes emotions among consumers.

Types of Emotions

Emotional arousal can be both negative and positive, and while negative emotions are more noticeable than positive ones, it doesn’t mean you have to focus on those most. Negative emotions are harder to deal with and that’s why they are more memorable.

If you base your content strategy solely on negativity to try and get the attention of people you might succeed at first, but as time goes on consumers will start turning away from you. Positive content provides inspiration and a good mood, which are very important, even if they last just a minute or two.

In the end, no matter what type of emotion you decide to target (positive or negative), you need to focus on six types of emotions: fear, anger, anxiety, awe, surprise, and joy. Surely there are lots of other emotions like love, happiness, etc. that may work on certain people, but those six refer to practically every person alive.

The Well Targeted Fearful Ad

Fear is one of the fundamental emotions that basically rules our life. A well-targeted, fearful ad can make people think that they will lose an opportunity or they are making mistakes in their job, which hurt them greatly, but they don’t even know about it.

Content Anger Management 

When people see content that they completely disagree with it makes them mad, especially when you have reports, studies, and science to back up your point. They start discussing it, trying to prove their point, share it on social media to get help from like minders, write blog posts with their own scientifically proven points, etc. What do you get from this? Viral content and tons of traffic.

The Anxiety Effect

This one is the most annoying emotion in the world. Making people anxious is one way to create engagement. If the content is well-targeted, consumers will start thinking about everything described in the message and transferring it over themselves. This will result in tons of comments, questions, and shares looking for help and reassurance.

Left in Awe…

Leaving people in awe or shocking them with content that is amazing in a way that consumers just cannot resist, is a solid strategy to provoke shares and engagement. It might be something totally weird or immensely beautiful depending on the context. The key point is, it will make your consumers’ jaws drop.

Network Surprise 

Surprising things are always memorable and shared between friends and colleagues. Talking, discussing, and proving something totally unexpected or against the popular belief in a post or video, will catch the attention of many and if they find it fun, useful, or logical, they will certainly want to discuss and share it within their networks.

Spreading the Joy 

Positivity, happiness, inspiration, and a ton of other things can make people cheerful and full of joy. Storytelling and narratives are an excellent way to share your joy and experience with your audience. Stories are something that almost all people can easily connect with, and joyful stories multiply that connection by a lot.

What We Are Left Feeling

In the end, it all comes down to really knowing your consumers. Each of those six emotions can be used to create viral content, but emotions by themselves aren’t enough. Your content must address the needs, demands, and pain points of your consumers to really make a difference.

It may take some time to develop a content strategy utilizing both of these important factors, but if you are able to do it, the results you achieve will be more than satisfactory.