What It Takes To Produce Holy Smokes!

by · February 3, 20146 comments

Think of the stories, videos or posts you’ve shared or commented on in the last 24 hours. You can even scroll back through your Facebook activity feed to see which ones caught your eye. (Find it by going to http://www.facebook.com/username/allactivity where “username” is your username.)

Now do a quick gut-check analysis of the topics, headlines or reasons you clicked, shared or commented. What do they all have in common?

Unless you’ve got the personality of plywood, the common thread was that each triggered an emotional response. Consider this from my weekend:

  • I liked a photo of a co-worker dancing with his daughter at a Father-Daughter dance
  • I uploaded a photo of a friend’s daughter’s dance team captured from ESPN’s broadcast
  • I liked a photo of a bottle of bourbon reviewed by a fellow aficionado
  • I commented on a story of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death
  • I liked a status update of a high school friend congratulating another high school friend for his basketball team’s victory on Saturday
  • I watched a video of bad translations for NFL sideline videos
  • I liked a status update of a friend complaining of the high estrogen levels in his household (he has three daughters)
  • I clicked on an Upworthy headline about an ad the NFL would never allow on the Super Bowl (Below … worth a watch.)
  • I commented on a status update from my friend who is awaiting a liver transplant
  • I liked a photo of two friends announcing with pink balloons they were pregnant with a girl
Holy Smokes! content elicits an emotional response so profound you have to do something besides consume it

All of those actions elected a response from me because they triggered an emotion. When my friends share their family news, I’m proud or happy for them. When someone reviews a bourbon, I’m interested and inquisitive. When someone jokes about having too many women around, I can relate (raised by a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother much of my childhood).

But that’s limited to Facebook where my intent and purpose is to engage with friends. On Twitter, my purpose for being is to find and share good content, mostly focused on the world of marketing and communications. So I do things like:

  • Share links to blog posts about public relations
  • Retweet links to blog posts about marketing
  • Comment or respond to people debating issues around PR or marketing
  • Tell jokes

While more closely defined around a profession, I’m still responding and reacting and sharing content that elicits and emotional response. It might be that emotion is just curiosity or intrigue. But it may also be that it is outrage or elation. Either way, the content is strong enough to push me to share it with others.

This is what Holy Smokes! Content is. It is content that elicits an emotional response in an audience so profound they have to do something else besides consume it.

  • Holy Smokes! That’s interesting!
  • Holy Smokes! That’s funny!
  • Holy Smokes! That’s true!
  • Holy Smokes! That’s sad!
  • Holy Smokes! I have to share this with others!

If you are a marketer of any sort these days, producing that response from your content is your job.

Now get to work.

And here’s the video tied to the Upworthy video I clicked on. It’s well worth the watch.

Visit the site to learn more at www.changethemascot.org.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    I like it! Holy Smokes! Content is content that elicits an emotional response in an audience so profound they have to do something else besides consume it.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for continuing to chime in Patrick. Appreciate your visits.

  • Alinn Louv

    Hi Jason – this article was great, but it left me with a few questions. Do you have any suggestions for developing content that elicits these emotions? Of course, as marketers we want to create content that is strong and compelling, but sometimes what we think is incredibly interesting could fall flat, how should we test to make sure that the content we create is actually Holy Smokes? Thanks! Alinn

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great question Alinn. You used a great word there … “Test.” You can test that content on your fellow employees, friends and family. Or, you can get sophisticated and test it in the wild … post something. If you don’t get good pick up in the first hour, take it down, retool it, post it again. This is a great presentation from Upworthy that talks about how they share, what goes viral and the like:



      • Alinn Louv

        This is great, thanks!

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