Online platforms have given a new face to word-of-mouth advertising. With their interconnectivity and reach, social platforms have become an incubator for viral content. The hard part is creating content that will motivate your audience to initiate the spread.
This brings us to the question: what constitutes the want to share content?
You may think this answer varies, but there is one universal answer… emotion.
The obvious answer is that the number of views your content generates is directly related to the number of shares. This is not necessarily true. Instead of solely focusing on your SEO strategy to promote reach, focus on the content itself. It is only human nature to want to share experiences that evoke an emotional response, so when creating content for the goal of becoming viral, views become less important, and motivating shares becomes priority.
Integrating the power of emotion in your content marketing strategy can be broken down to a number of different steps. It consists of a robust plan that calls upon a deep understanding of your audience before even considering what emotions to utilise.
Understand Your Audience On a Personal Level
Different emotions matter to different people, and understanding what emotions appeal to your audience is the first step in creating emotionally influential content. This goes deeper than just knowing who your target demographics are. To understand what emotions resonate with your viewer, you need to understand their aspirations, joys, and fears.
The overall goal is to create a story that will elicit a strong emotional response from your audience.
How do you do this? By creating an emotional arc that consists of the range of emotions you want your audience to experience as your story progresses. However, before determining what emotions to include in your emotional arc, you first need to understand how to speak to your audience.
Take Your Brand Outside of Your Business
You may know your audience, but can you talk to them? When the message of your content blatantly caters to business objectives, it may deter any emotional connection the audience may feel with your brand. In order to carefully craft emotionally charged content, you can’t talk business. You need to treat your audience as a person and not a buyer. Your language has to come from an empathetic standpoint because with empathy comes relevant and genuine content. It’s as simple as caring for your audience, not just trying to sell to them. Yes, your product/service is fulfilling a need, but your brand should provide an experience that will fulfill a desire. When creating content, don’t fixate on your company’s identity, but focus on your brand’s personality and let that shine through your content’s story.
Talk to your audience in a language that resonates with them. A key way of ensuring this is creating content with emotional triggers in mind.
Make your Content Emotionally Unforgettable.
Emotional triggers are relatable emotional cues embedded in your content. Their purpose is for the emotion felt to act as a point of reference. So when a similar scenario happens in the viewer’s life, the recollection of the emotional cue becomes activated, therefore further enforcing brand associations and awareness. Triggers can be anything, and can range from a person, place, situation, or socialization. Emotional triggers are a common occurrence in large branded spots, and are exemplified in Coca Cola’s 2018 Super Bowl ad.
The main themes of this ad are inclusivity and unity. It features people from different ages, genders, races, and geographical locations. It is clear that Coke’s message is to the masses. In order to guarantee emotional resonance with each and every one of their millions of viewers, Coke made sure to trigger an emotion that we all want to experience: the feeling of belonging. By featuring a number of 5–10 second clips that allow tell a number of different stories, Coke attached this feeling of belonging to a range of different social situations, therefore widening the spread of this emotional trigger.
Leverage your emotions
Arousal lies at the core of emotional branding, therefore arousal has a direct impact on the shareability value of your content. Arousal consists of a wide spectrum of emotions, including both positive and negative feelings. Even though no emotion is a bad emotion, content should be carefully designed to instill the right emotions for your audience. One thing is for sure, you should not play on only one emotion. By creating an emotional arc for your content, you hold the power of deepening audience’s subconscious relationship with your brand. Listed below are four examples of powerful emotions to consider when creating content.
The element of surprise always evokes high emotional responses. However, surprise never stands alone; and is always accompanied by another emotion. It takes many forms: it goes against the status quo, it spreads new ideas, and it states unknown facts. In summary, surprise is the unexpected, and it is this element that causes it to be favorable amongst viral videos.
Ahh, happiness! A positive, light emotion that appeals to everybody. Positivity and joy are contagious, and in a world where everybody is in the pursuit of happiness, it appeals the masses. When dealing with a negative emotion, it is always important to resolve it with a sense of happiness or relief.
Though a negative emotion, fear is usually used in prompting people to take action. Fear should be leveraged carefully, and is mostly successful when paired up with solutions that solve that anxiety-inducing problem. Each story has its obstacles that leaves the audience feeling uneasy, but a solution always follows and alleviates the intense emotion of fear.
Picture the solution that your product/service provides as a bright yellow object… a lemon!
Alone, the lemon wears a bright yellow skin. However, when placed in front of a dark background, its yellow colour only appears brighter. This represents the same contrast that fear provides. The use of fear should only be the background to your solution as a method of comparison, rather than being at the forefront of your story. With this in mind, it will draw more attention to the positive emotions felt towards your solution, and can provide a perfect opportunity for your call to action.
Anger is a tricky emotion to harness due to its susceptibility to backlash. However, anger is powerful because it increases levels of passion and prompts people to take action. Believe it or not, when people are angered by content, they are more likely to share it. However, it is a fragile emotion, and should be carefully implemented. When trying to prove a point, anger is a great emotion to utilise. Focus this anger away from your brand and towards the message you are enforcing. Then, bring it back to how your brand is part of the solution. A perfect example of this is the Emmy award winning advertisement for Always’ Like a Girl campaign.
In a saturated marketplace, emotional branding through storytelling is an effective way to cut through the noise and prompt your viewer to take action. The influence of emotion motivates people to share content, therefore promoting the virility of your content, brand awareness and resonance. Through emotional storytelling, your brand becomes a friend, rather than a business. How can you do this? By understanding who your audience is and speaking to them in the language that they trust. By utilizing appropriate emotions and emotional triggers, your content will resonate with your viewer and, in turn, lead your viewer to resonate with your brand. The one objective truth is that humans love to share content that make them feel something, no matter what that something is.
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