Advisors Gone Viral!

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Content Gets Emotional

The first post that I wrote for this blog was a content strategy document for financial advisors, or anyone, really. The third step of four in this strategy was all about the the specific piece that you’re writing. We added a simple exercise to help you figure out if the idea for the piece you want to write actually helped your audience accomplish their goals. The exercise was a simple, three-question checklist:

Does this piece cognitively engage (educate, inspire or question) the reader?

YES  |  NO

Which emotion(s) does this piece target? (Circle one or two)

Joy  |  Sadness  |  Trust  |  Disgust  |  Fear  |  Anger  |  Surprise  |  Anticipation

Does this piece encourage doing something specific, does it contain a call to action?

YES  |  NO

This strategy document is a great primer, but I’d like to make an addendum to the original, specifically the second prompt in the checklist above. New evidence has come to light, and it shows that some emotions, when appropriately targeted, are more likely to inspire the reader to share a piece of content than others.

Your New Favorite Emotions

Wharton professor, Jonah Berger, analyzed more than 7,000 New York Times articles in order to figure out what makes an article go viral. His answer, in short, was targeting emotions. Specifically, articles that targeted awe, anger, and anxiety, were most likely to go viral. Berger deduced that targeting one of these “high-arousal” emotions, coupled with general practicality and positivity, is the recipe for viral content.

So forget those sad, negative articles, forget the happy-go-lucky, everything’s alright articles; awe, anger, anxiety, practicality and positivity are what you want. So if you use our content strategy document, I encourage you to circle surprise (awe), anticipation (anxiety), joy, and anger over any of the others. And furthermore, while being interesting is great for readership, if sharing is what you’re really yearning for, remember to be practical. But what you really want is to be interesting AND practical. See below for more on the intersection of interestingness and practicality.

This is me being practical.

Here are all of our content guides in their various forms, as they have appeared on this blog. A little resource pool for all you advisors waiting for your blog to blow up.

A Simple Strategy for Financial Content That Works

How To Not Have A Sucky Financial Blog

The Perfect Time To Post [Infographic]

#Advisorhack: The Complete Guide To Better Finance Writing

#Advisorhack: Finding Not-So-Corny Finance Photos

12 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of A Blog Post [Infographic]

Telling Stories Can Lead To More Referrals, Better Blogs

DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web ( or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!