In planning a new ad campaign, you probably think its success depends on your content. So, whatever your product or service or cause, you get busy assembling the key points (aka: the content).

You choose content so strong and so persuasive that you know it will blow their socks off. You have it produced by a pro, and it’s great! But nothing happens. Nobody cares.

Wonder why your fabulous spot didn’t go viral?

Current research tells us that 60 percent of B2B businesses will increase their content marketing this year, and of those, only 6 percent will achieve 100,000 viewers. Fewer than 1 percent will reach a million. The reason is simple: Content isn’t engaging; emotional appeal is.

According to Lauren Covello, who wrote, “What the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Can Teach us About Content Marketing,” we can learn three things from that spectacularly successful challenge:

  • “People like to interact with people, not organizations.”
  • “People are just as likely to act when you make them laugh.”
  • “The call to action is fun and free.”


As Verónica Maria Jarski, senior writer with MarketingProfs, notes in her infographic on going viral: “Content that arouses curiosity, amazement, astonishment, uncertainty, humor, and admiration has a greater chance of going viral. Negative emotions do not inspire sharing.”

Jarski suggests other things you can watch out for: timing the release of your video when people are looking for it (not on weekends), and ensuring it’s well designed.

So, in your next campaign, while you’re assembling content for a dynamite video you hope will reach millions, it might be smart to release your well-designed video on Wednesday and integrate the content with a sure winner … like a piano-playing cat.

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