Driving awareness and extending reach

A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that strong emotional undertones drove the most shared articles on the New York Times website.

Emotionally evocative content outperformed non-evocative content at every turn. Especially if the emotion aligned with the reader’s perspective.

And when an article had an additional cognitive impact – like giving the reader practical utility – it increased the likelihood of being shared.

Making the button bigger won’t increase the number of shares. Neither will exhorting, bribing or pleading.

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