The Power of Emotions in Content Marketing and 6 Emotions That Get Reactions

Do you know what makes people share content? Have you ever wondered why some images, articles, videos or graphics get so many shares, while others seem to never have a chance?Bildschirmfoto 2017-04-14 um 08.05.59

Most of the time the trigger is emotions. We all know from our private life how powerful emotions can be. And this power can be used in Content Marketing.

Fractl Analyzed Images from Reddit that went viral. And what all these images had in common were emotions.

Image Source: Hubspot Blog

And emotions do not just influence what we share – they also influence what we buy and how we make a buying decision. Contrary to what many of us may believe, buying decisions are 80% emotional and only 20% based on logic.

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Image Source: Fuel Design

That may even be more important to marketers than triggering the „sharing“ behavior.

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Image source: Psychology Today

But which are the emotions that truly influence how we react to content or products; whether it be sharing or buying? Which emotions should we try to inspire with our audience?

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Image Source: Business Insider

Here are the emotions in content marketing that inspire the most reactions in form of shares and even sales.

1. Happiness

We all like to be happy – don’t you? And we all love the things that make us happy. While this seems to be a no-brainer it is not that eaHappinessness is a strong feeling, but we may get used to it and not respond so much anymore. What makes us happy can change fast, depending on the current situation we are in.

Have you ever experience that something you did or experienced for the first time made you extremely happy. But when you tried to reproduce the feeling by retracing your steps from the first experience, it simply did not work to the same extent.

I certainly have. It can be simple things like the first time I did a hike was always the best. The second or third time will only be cheap copies.

My guess is that every parent can speak of the joy the first smile from their child gave them – or the first word.

But this kind of happiness is not reproducible. And as a marketer, you have to come up with new ideas to inspire happiness for your audience all the time.

In the image above, the emotions laughter, amusement, and joy can all be added up „happiness.“ This is the emotion that a lot of „viral content“ in social media plays around with. Do you understand now why all that „cat content“ on Facebook gets so many shares and likes?

Source: GoPro on Youtube

2. Fear

What happiness is on the positive side of the spectrum, fear is on the other. Fear is another very powerful emotion. Fear can lead people to extraordinary feats. Fear will give strength where you did not expect any. And it can certainly inspire an action.

3. Anger

Honestly, I try to avoid anger to be a trigger to what I post, share or comment on social media. Anger as the source for a statement usually leads to a lot of misunderstandings, more anger, discussion, hurt – and most of the time to nothing productive.

But it sure is the one emotion, that often makes my fingers itch to blast away.

And sometimes it even inspires an article in response to something I heard or read and deemed totally wrong.

We have all seen anger as a powerful emotional trigger in the past months. With elections in the US, terror all around the world and the various reactions to it. These posts on Facebook that inspire a ton of anger, usually get a ton of shares, comments and likes or dislikes. And that power is used by a lot of people to manipulate the crowd.

4. Sadness

While many marketers shy away from using sadness in their marketing message, it still can be a very powerful emotion. It is the emotion charity organizations use when they show you videos of pitiful dogs or children starving and playing in the dirt or videos of environmental problems.

I am sure we all have seen some of the images or videos and thought „ooh, where can I give some money to redeem this course.“ That is playing with our emotions.

5. Anticipation or curiosity

I am sure you have been a victim of one of these click bait headlines „You will never guess what happened after…“ We all have. They work because they trigger our curiosity. We see the headline or some teaser text that leave us with a feeling „What the hell?“ and that makes us at least click to satisfy our curiosity.

There are complete businesses based on this emotional trigger. All the click bait platforms like BuzzFeed, Upworthy play around with our curiosity.

6. Surprise

Surprise is one of the emotions that work really well in a headline. Often a headline makes a claim that we did not expect, and then again curiosity kicks in and makes us click. Surprise works well to catch attention „Wait? What?“

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Image Source: BuzzSumo

Final Words on Emotions in Content Marketing

While the emotions may sound straight forward and it seems logic how they trigger consumer behavior, it is not so easy as you might think to use them in marketing.Here are the emotions in content marketing that inspire the most reactions in form of shares and even sales. Use them to get more out of your marketing!

Emotions vary strongly based on age, background, interests. To be able to play the emotions of your target group you have to thoroughly understand how your target group ticks. Just think about your parents, will they react to the same triggers that you do? Honestly, mine won’t – or rather the other way round: What may parents find interesting, amazing and surprising may often just inspire a yawn from me. Just because my background and interests are totally different.

And emotional behavior often cannot be defined by looking at demographics. It may simply be that your type of writing attracted a group of people that responds to your own special sense of humor.

To figure out what kind of content inspires the right emotions with your audience, you have to listen carefully and analyze their reaction to everything you do. What headlines get a lot of shares, what gets clicks? What kind of content gets comments. And what can you do to inspire more reactions from your audience?

Do your homework and start testing!

  • Ruth Barringham

    This cannot be true. You need more than one emotion in a message to evoke a reaction. Sometimes it works if you talk about a problem (sadness, frustration) and then offer a simple, easy solution (joy). You need to promote more than one emotion in a message (animals are wonderful creatures (joy) but animals are dying (sadness) but you can save them (happiness)). Using just one emotion won’t work but there is no mention of it here.