How To Create Videos That Go Viral

Roller CoasterEmotions Rule — People are ruled by their emotions. That’s why your brand needs to activate emotions through its content. For this article, I’ll share what you need to know about emotions before developing video content.

There’s a connection between the way people feel after watching a video from your brand and how they feel about your brand. Want to engage and motivate people through video content? Tap into their emotions. But, be careful . . . not all emotions will result in positive feelings and the actions your brand is hoping to motivate.

Recent research indicates that videos designed to produce negative emotional responses in viewers – especially anger – leave viewers feeling manipulated. And, when this happens, you lose the opportunity to have a relationship with people.

So, which emotions should you attempt to activate? Read on . . .

Videos That Excite Go Viral — It’s important to create emotional excitement quickly. Hit your audience hard and fast with strong emotions . . . amazement, curiosity, anticipation, surprise, amusement. Keep the branding to a minimum. Heavy use of branding can cause viewers to disregard the content as a sales pitch . . . resulting in loss of interest, and you’ve lost the opportunity to build a relationship.

When you develop video content, create an emotional roller coaster ride for your audience. Begin by creating emotional excitement then present different emotional levels. Using this technique, your viewers won’t become bored with a constant stream of low levels of emotional engagement or overwhelmed with a constant high level of excitement.

Think about your favorite roller coasters. They shoot out of the station, then begin climbing before the breathtaking drop or corkscrew. This continues until the end of the ride, when the coaster slows to take you safely back to the station. How do you usually exit the car? Exhilarated and wanting to tell your friends all about it. That’s the way you want your viewers to feel!

By the way, as long as I’m using a roller coaster analogy . . . let’s talk about video length. From the time the roller coaster leaves the station until it gets back is usually around 3 minutes. The time of the actual ride, from the first hill until ending brakes, is about 1 – 1 ½ minutes.  Use this as a time guide for your video . . . never any longer than 3 minutes – unless you’re posting a TED Talk – and it’s best to keep the video “ride” to 1 – 1 ½ minutes.

Activate Sadness With Caution — We’ve all seen it . . . the sad content from American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When you see the mistreated dogs, don’t you just want to avert your eyes or close the video? We don’t want to feel this sad.

If you’re telling a story though video, activating sadness is OK, but only as 1 part of a 3-part story line. Part I – Present the situation (this could be sad); Part 2 – Present a solution (this should be uplifting); Part 3 – Motivate action (this should be aspirational).

If all 3 parts of your video are sad, it may not be shared. BuzzSumo’s analysis of the 10,000 most-shared content on the Internet indicates that only 1% emphasized sadness.

Don’t Fake It! — The biggest danger in producing emotional content is creating something that feels manufactured. You know what I’m referring to . . . those videos that are so cheesy they’re cringe-worthy. No one likes them. How can you avoid this? Don’t manufacture emotions . . . no crocodile tears! Share stories that are real and true . . . draw on genuine experiences to share an emotional story to engage and motivate.

3 Tips Backed By Science To Engage Women

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Did you know that because of our brain structure humans are story junkies?  Our brain reacts differently when presented with a story than when it’s offered facts.  Stories that we read, hear and watch affect us naturally. Because of our brain’s neural coupling, stories activate parts of our brain that help us to integrate stories into our own experiences.  Since women’s brains have more interconnectivity than men’s brains, this process happens more frequently.  When a woman hears a story, she’ll search for relevance to her life experiences.  If she doesn’t find any, she’ll forget the story!

Share Emotional Stories — Our brain also releases dopamine when presented with an emotional story . . . this helps us to remember the story longer and with greater accuracy than when faced with a non-emotional story.  When women hear or read an emotional story, we’re more likely to tell other women.  It’s because women have more emotional outposts in our brain than men . . . 36, compared to 4.  And, our emotional outposts are located closer to the area of the brain that is responsible for speech.

Women Storytellers

Blog4Photo2Because of genetic memory, women evolved to be storytellers.  Our ancient female ancestors were responsible for raising children in the tribe until they were old enough to have kids of their own. To keep children safe, women shared warnings and instructions within a story . . . which resulted in children following the warning, remembering it and passing it along.  This was a big “Aha!” moment for women. Women also enjoy telling and hearing stories because it’s a way for us to interact while reducing the possibility of having a conversation that might lead to conflict. Because of hereditary influences, women enjoy interaction and collaboration, but attempt to avoid conflict.  Since our past female relatives had to raise children, they  needed to collaborate with other women in the tribe.  Today, this collaborative nature continues to motivate women’s behaviors. So, what do these social science insights mean to your brand?  To engage women, you must be a creative storyteller.

3 Behavioral Tips to Engage Women

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1.  Women are people-powered.  Women consider people to be the most important and interesting aspects of life.  This is because a woman’s highest personal value is establishing and nurturing relationships.  And, let’s face it, how can we establish and nurture relationships with your brand if you don’t provide us with the opportunity to interact with people?  What is your brand doing on social media to engage in conversations with women?

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2.  Women are driven by empathy.    The operative emotion with women is empathy.  We want to belong and be understood.  We relate to stories that have people and situations we recognize.   When we hear idealized scenarios, we don’t identify with them.  We’re looking for the “that’s me!” moments.  But, be careful!  Although we don’t want to hear stories about the “perfect” woman, we also don’t appreciate continually hearing stories about the “harried” woman.  Keep it real.

Blog4Photo53.  Women need women.  Behaviorists refer to this as the “girlfriend factor.”  Having girlfriends keeps us healthy, happy and sane.  When faced with a stressful situation, we don’t exhibit the same “fight or flight” behavior as men.  We’ll huddle with girlfriends . . . which biologically decreases our stress level.  How is your brand helping us to bond with women?

Your Brand Needs Women — We control $7 trillion in U.S. spending.  But, we need your brand to respect us by sharing stories that are relevant.  Show us you respect us by embracing female-specific behavior and share content that we want to hear!

Fran P4W copyFran Lytle is a behaviorist, brand strategist, author & co-founder of Brand Champs.  Fran develops brand strategy, emotional brand storytelling, content marketing & social media programs that engage people by applying psychology & human and gender-specific behavior.  She specializes in developing & implementing marketing-to-women programs. Contact her at fran@brandchamps.com connect with Fran on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.