People engage with your content when you personalize it and add triggers.

What are triggers?

Quite simply, triggers are images, videos, graphics and words that evoke emotions, get people to feel with you or for you and get them to take action.

Nothing does that better than emotions.  Just think of the funny video of the cute dog or kitten.  Everyone loves it and shares it, making it go viral. Emotions are powerful when it comes to content marketing.  According to Fuel Design, emotions influence our buying decisions as well as sharing.  It turns out that buying decisions are 80% emotional and only 20% based on logic.  (This is why supermarkets put the impulse buy items by the checkout counter)

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

Let’s take a look at the emotions from the chart above that induces the most reactions in content marketing.

1. Happiness

Maya Anjelou says that long after people forget what you said, they will not forgot how you made them feel.  Happiness is one of those feelings and people bond to you when you do make them happy. Joy, laughter and entertainment is within this umbrella.  The thing is, you have to come up with new content to repeat inducing happiness.

2. Fear

The opposite of happiness is fear which is a very compelling emotion.  People will do just about anything to avoid the thing that they are fearful about.  This is powerful to induce people to take action.


3. Anger

Yes, it is a trigger, but do you actually want your audience to be angry?  Enough said.  Try to avoid this one (unless your niche is in politics!)

4. Sadness

There is enough stories with sadness in medicine.  It may work with getting someone to take that extra step in better lifestyle choices or preventative care.

5. Anticipation or curiosity

Who hasn’t fallen for this one?  We click because we want to see the answer to the question posed. (quite the emotional trigger). All the click bait platforms like BuzzFeed, Upworthy utilize this trigger.

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?“

Image Source: BuzzSumo

7. Gratitude

While this one is lowest on the Fractl chart, it is no less an emotional trigger.  There are many things we can be thankful for and many stories that elicit this.

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.

Which ones have you used with success?  Share your experiences in the comment box below.