Pay attention. This may be the most important article you read online.
When I first started writing online, my articles were rarely getting traction. I was really frustrated. I thought I was writing brilliant headings like “Beauty and Confidence” or “Why Building Your Potential Is Important?”. Little did I know a catchy heading and picture, or most important, negative news can go viral beyond measure when you connect the three.
I was still young and inexperienced. I was writing simple headings with positive news for months with no traction. When frustration kicked in, I had to dig in more and find out why all of my articles plummeted with brilliant self-help information’s in them. I found something very interesting.
Then I started testing headings: “Julia Roberts gives a great advice you should hear” does a lot worse than “SHOCKING! – Julia Roberts made a SERIOUS Threat to all Beauty Companies by Posting THIS Photo and Writing…” (with the same exact article inside). It was in a short period of time that my articles started to skyrocket in the algorithm.
The way most algorithms work is that they show what people tend to click the most. For example: if I share this article, and if 900 out 1000 people that scroll through Facebook stop and interact with this article it will show it to another 1000, 10.000 or even 100.000 people. That means that the article has a high chance of going viral. Of course, it all depends where you share it. A Facebook Page with 100 likes cannot make your article go viral. It’s not going to be shown to many people, no matter what type of heading do you have. I am telling you all this so you can understand the whole picture. Stay with me.
The way you make something viral is the perfect combination of heading, picture and content. Picture stops you, heading evokes interest, and content makes you share it. As simple as that.
Now, let’s quick jump on why you tend to click more fearmongering news than something positive. It’s very simple.
People either run away from fear, or chase pleasure. These 2 things (which I wrote about in a previous article) control almost everything that you do. The fear factor is one of the biggest marketing trick in politics and sales, but let’s not dig into that. Let’s stick to your wellbeing for a second.
“Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled, more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard-line postures . . . they may accept and even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.” — George Gerbner (Former Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania)
Fear is a mechanism to protect us from potential damage. That is why we mostly fear things we think will bring us harm, such as spiders, snakes or even ghosts. Fear makes us avoid these things as much as possible.
Now, fear is very important because it also helps protect us. It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. Feeling afraid is very natural and helpful in some situations. Fear can be like a warning, a signal that cautions us to be careful.
Now here comes the bad news: the marketeers and politicians know this and they use it to control you. When was the last time you saw something positive on the News? Why don’t they say about someone who recently had a successful business, or an act of bravery of a man that saved a little kid from a burning building? You will never hear this on the News because this doesn’t favor anyone but you.
Be honest: what would you click more “5 Ways Your Life Could Be In Real Danger” or “5 Ways To Improve Your Life”? You are drawn to click something that could cause you potential harm so you will be cautions to protect yourself from it.
The marketeers, even myself, use this to grab your attention. I could write the same article in the first heading and in the second. I could start by explaining that your life will be really stressful that may lead to health detrimental effect if you don’t do these 5 things that will actually improve your life. I can help you with both headings, but I can get more people to view the article with the fearmongering heading. But what actually happens is that marketeers know that by writing “shocking” heading and even more fearmongering news inside the article will really make it viral. That’s why fearful news tend to be more viral and global. Just look at what’s happening with the current pandemic. It is really dangerous situation, but if you follow the protective guidelines, what more can you do? All those fearmongering news won’t help you more than the protective measures. It may sound selfish and “irresponsible” but I am 100% sure you are not going to feel better and even safer if you surround yourself with all that is bad in the world.
I told you all this so next time you scroll the feed you can stand for yourself. Don’t be a sheep to the marketeers or politicians. Have your own opinion based on your gut feeling.