In the book “Contagious” they researched thousands of the most e-mailed articles from the New York Times to find out why an article goes viral. One of the reasons they discovered was that when emotion is evoked it can lead to the article going viral, but not all emotions. Some of these findings might surprise you. Just by simply stirring any emotion won’t guarantee you a viral article. The one thing that seems to be present in all the viral articles was awe. That is the one emotion that came up time after time throughout the research. People love to share things that they find awe inspiring. That explained why so many scientific pieces went viral, because it leaves people in awe. A photo that captured a sneeze went crazy on the internet , while a top celebrity’s new hairstyle had very little effect. That is the power of inspiring awe in your article. |
Some other emotions that had the same effect was anxiety and anger. Any emotion that activates physiological arousal should do the trick. When we care, we share. Google had a great promotion called “Parisian love” , it showed how a guy used Google search to find a girl he saw in a Paris Café and at the end of the “story” he finds her and love all thanks to Google. Google took something as unemotional as a search engine and attached emotion to it. Remember to focus on feelings when you create an article or video if your aim is to make it go viral.
A final story I love where emotion was used to get the job done was with the “United Breaks Guitars” incident. A band flew to a gig with United Airlines and as the disembarked they could see on the runway how the baggage handlers were just throwing their guitar cases and handling them very carelessly. Sure enough when the band took their guitars out one of them were broken. They tried everything to get the airline to reimburse them, but to no avail. That is when the singer decided to write a song about it and post it on Youtube. The song went viral and it cost United a bunch of money in the process. Go have a look at the video, it’s really good.
Use emotion in your quest to go viral and you will reach that goal faster than with most other things. A good rule of thumb is to concentrate on “awe” , that is the one emotion that works more than most others. Visit us at The Traffic Club if you are looking for more interesting ways to generate free targeted traffic to your website.
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