We know why people share content online. Studies have revealed the reasons. Roughly speaking, we share content because (1) we want to amaze and entertain our friends; (2) we want to reveal aspects of our true selves to friends so as to build stronger relationships; and (3) we want to help people by providing them with valuable information and insight.

Each of those reasons implies that the content makes enough of a personal, emotional connection with viewers that it compels them to act as agents of distribution, with the result being a more positive self-image for them.

So, what's the best way to establish such connections with the viewer? Storytelling.

Good stories engage us, seduce us, and recruit us; they open our minds to accept whatever message the creator wants to convey. Consequently, a good story should lie at the heart of every piece of video content.

However, a great story does not guarantee success. As it turns out, the genre of video you produce plays a large role in determining whether your campaign goals will be met.

The following graphic offers a simple framework for determining the ideal genre of video to produce to most effectively communicate your marketing message. The genres group into three categories—expressive, impressive, and intellectual—nicely corresponding to the three reasons people share content.

(Also see the interactive version of the graphic.)

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image of Allan Johnson

Allan Johnson is content strategist at Sharethrough, a native-advertising platform.

LinkedIn: Allan Johnson