Creating An Emotional Response
The key to marketing success is a mixed bag of content and emotional engagement. It is generally agreed however that the larger percent of your time should be spent on engagement. If it is assumed that all content starts out equally, it has to be considered that viral content can take on a life of its own. In much the same way that a virus spreads among people, viral content can spread among the masses.
With content marketing, the message is the virus, the carriers are your audience and a strong emotional connection to the message is the catalyst.
Being able to elicit an emotional response is a vital part of all successful viral content marketing plans. It’s in our very nature to want to share experiences with emotional ties. To share socially is an impulsive response to the development of strong personal feelings like surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy. If you can tie that type of response to your content, it can be very impactful.
According to research produced by Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman of the Wharton Business School in 2010, in their report there is a strong relationship between emotion and viral disposition regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
The study presented a number of key takeaways including the following:
Negative content tends to be less viral than positive content
Awe-inspiring content and content that surprises or is humorous is more likely to be shared
Content that causes sadness can become viral but is generally less likely to
Content that evokes anger is likely to be shared more. In fact, the study demonstrated that the strongest forecaster of viral prowess is how much anger the message evokes.
Surprisingly it was determined that people share positive news more often than negative; counter-intuitively to general assumption.
So how can you put this information to use? It’s simple in theory, but extremely difficult to execute well. In short, develop content that surprises its viewers and evokes a high emotional response. It is difficult to create content that is both unique and powerful. If you are able to execute well, you can hit a marketing gold mine.
The bottom line is this; people are far more likely to share content with others when they are emotionally engaged. Identify the key issues that interest your audience and create content that will elicit a strong emotional response. Push the envelope – in doing so you’re probably on the right track. Viral content is not content that is just “okay”, it’s strong, unique and powerful and delivers a message worth sharing.