“The Emotional Drivers of Highly
Successful Viral Content”
Thoughts on presentation from Moz. Original webinar
available a...
What is “Viral” content?
● K = P*C*I
○ Shared audience (P) - Avg. # of people exposed to
each piece of content per share (...
Shared audience (P)
● The bigger this initial #, the better
● “Big seeds”
○ Popular/niche blogs, mainstream news outlets
○...
Conversion rate (C)
● Title is single biggest factor in improving C
○ Point out knowledge gap
○ Don’t give away punchline
...
Shares per viewer (I)
●
●

The more shares the better
Types of sharers
○ Altruists - Helpful, thoughtful, reliable, connec...
Broad vs. niche audiences
● Niche content more likely to go viral - Audience closely
connected, shared values and interest...
Audience type/accountability affects sharing
●
●
●
●
●

Anonymous - No harm in sharing, no repercussions (4chan)
Accountab...
Evoking emotions is essential
● Emotions spread virally as an inherent part of the way
our brains work (mirror neurons).
●...
Stories!
● Emotional arousal created/enhanced through empathy,
which itself is created through narratives and stories —
th...
Other motivations for sharing
●
●
●
●
●

Bring valuable, entertaining content to others
Define ourselves to others
Grow an...
Viral content & the sales funnel
● Best at generating awareness and interest
● Can be helpful lower in the funnel, but is ...
Personal thoughts
● I think it’s weird that so much math and research goes
into making and sharing something that needs to...
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Thoughts on "The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content"

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Amy's thoughts on viral content and how to leverage stories to create it. View original webinar at moz.com/webinars

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Thoughts on "The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content"

  1. 1. “The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content” Thoughts on presentation from Moz. Original webinar available at moz.com/webinars
  2. 2. What is “Viral” content? ● K = P*C*I ○ Shared audience (P) - Avg. # of people exposed to each piece of content per share (impressions) ○ Conversion rate (C) - % of people who see and click ○ Shares per viewer (I) - % of people who see, click, and share ● Almost nothing called “viral” actually is — doesn’t mean it’s not successful
  3. 3. Shared audience (P) ● The bigger this initial #, the better ● “Big seeds” ○ Popular/niche blogs, mainstream news outlets ○ Must combine info you think will go viral w/content outlets see trending in their communities and consider worthwhile
  4. 4. Conversion rate (C) ● Title is single biggest factor in improving C ○ Point out knowledge gap ○ Don’t give away punchline ○ Don’t overhype ○ A/B test multiple headlines ● Thumbnail is second biggest factor ○ Create a feeling of interest/intrigue ○ A/B test different images
  5. 5. Shares per viewer (I) ● ● The more shares the better Types of sharers ○ Altruists - Helpful, thoughtful, reliable, connected; want to help by sharing (FB, email) ○ Careerists - Business sharers; consider how sharing will impact their careers (LinkedIn) ○ Hipsters - More concerned w/how sharing influences how they are seen (FB, Twitter) ○ Boomerangs - Share to get reaction/feel validated; thrive on how content can spur conversation/make connections (FB, Twitter) ○ Connectors - Creative, relaxed, thoughtful; sharing based on curating helpful things; share content that is practically useful (FB, email) ○ Selectives - Resourceful, careful, thoughtful; informative/practical sharers (email)
  6. 6. Broad vs. niche audiences ● Niche content more likely to go viral - Audience closely connected, shared values and interests ● Broad content - Lower barriers to sharing and “big seeds” more easily leveraged, but must be incredibly broad
  7. 7. Audience type/accountability affects sharing ● ● ● ● ● Anonymous - No harm in sharing, no repercussions (4chan) Accountable - Share content that reflects neutrally/well, feel audience will find valuable; stand to gain and lose a lot (FB, why NSFW doesn’t go viral) Casual - Fewer restrictions beyond how content reflects on them, lower risk when things reflect badly Professional - More and higher risks Broad (or large cohesive niche) and accountable is a good target for viral content ○ FB as example - Large, casual audience, less business-focused, P and C are higher because of larger # of friends and shared interests
  8. 8. Evoking emotions is essential ● Emotions spread virally as an inherent part of the way our brains work (mirror neurons). ● Can be transferred through images and video as easily as from person to person ● High arousal — esp. pleasant — emotions spur more sharing ○ Astonishment, excitement, delight, pleased, amused, happy, excited ○ Cat images explained! ● And what evokes emotions?
  9. 9. Stories! ● Emotional arousal created/enhanced through empathy, which itself is created through narratives and stories — the better the story, the more it will spread ○ Love, loyalty, overcoming obstacles, raw human moments, rights of passage, injustices made right, heroes/selfless acts, human-animal bond, nostalgia/reminiscing ● “Emotion stacking” - Build emotions with a series of pieces, esp. in story form (Buzzfeed)
  10. 10. Other motivations for sharing ● ● ● ● ● Bring valuable, entertaining content to others Define ourselves to others Grow and nourish relationships Self-fulfillment Get the word out about causes or brands
  11. 11. Viral content & the sales funnel ● Best at generating awareness and interest ● Can be helpful lower in the funnel, but is more difficult ○ Branding influence (impressions, followers, advocates) ○ Search influence (visibility, social sharing, improved search ranking)
  12. 12. Personal thoughts ● I think it’s weird that so much math and research goes into making and sharing something that needs to be felt in the soul in order to be successful. ● For companies, requires more strategy and research than dumb luck (“Double Rainbow”) ● I wish other content I’ve seen on “making viral content” would focus more on storytelling than on the $

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