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9 Top Emotional Responses To Virality And Successful Advertising

Has the evolution of virality changed for better or worse over the years?

So you want to go viral on TikTok or YouTube? Does content go viral when it evokes an emotional response?

An essential element of all successful viral content marketing campaigns is eliciting an emotional response. People are inclined to share the experiences that stir their emotions by communicating them to others because its human nature.

9 dos and don’ts for a successful virality

9 dos and don'ts for a successful virality

As an entrepreneur with an online presence, one of the most important things you can do is create content that goes viral and emotionally engages your audience.

But how do you ensure that your content will be successful?

Here are 9 dos and don’ts for creating viral, emotionally engaging content:

Virality dos

1. Write headlines that pack a punch – make them interesting, attention-grabbing, and/or funny.

2. Use strong visuals – people are more likely to share content with compelling images or videos.

3. Create listicles – people love lists!

4. Be controversial – stir up some debate with your opinionated articles (just make sure you can back up what you’re saying).

5. Be emotional – tug at heartstrings or make people laugh out loud; either way, evoke an emotion in your reader for the best chance of going viral.

Virality don’ts

1. Boring headlines – no one wants to read a snooze-fest article

2. No visual appeal whatsoever– if it looks like something straight out of a textbook, no one is going to want to share it

3. Vague topics– focus on specific issues or stories so readers know exactly what they’re getting into

4. Play it safe– sometimes taking risks pays off big time

A guide to successful advertising [and virality]

Thomas Smith wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885.

  1. The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
  2. The second time, he does not notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
  5. The fifth time, he reads it.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
  8. The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13. The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
  14. The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
  17. The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
  18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

Thomas Smith, London, l885

Source: https://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2010/08/advertising-frequency-theory-circa-1885.html

Can you see its relevance to this day?

Emotional responses to virality

The guide to successful advertising [and virality]

What are the 9 TOP op emotional responses to virality?

  • Admiration
  • Concentration
  • Gratitude
  • Happiness
  • Hope
  • Love
  • Pride
  • Satisfaction
  • Surprise

Virality is driven, in part, by activation and arousal. Content that evokes either high-arousal positive emotions (awe) or negative emotions (anger or anxiety) tends to be more viral.

Research gate


What’s the worst advice you could ever get about virality

Don’t believe the hype – virality is not everything.

Sure, it’s great if your content goes viral and gets shared all over the internet. But that doesn’t mean it’s the be-all and end-all of online success. In fact, chasing after virality can often lead to creating shallow, unengaging content that does more harm than good.

Here’s why!

When you’re focused on making your content go viral, you’re more likely to chase after fleeting trends and topics that are popular at the moment but have no staying power.

This kind of content might get a lot of shares and likes in the short term, but it won’t do anything to build a lasting emotional connection with your audience. And without that emotional connection, you’ll never truly engage or convert your audience into loyal fans or customers.


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