Interactive Content – The Future of Content Marketing
Content marketing is arguably the most effective way of finding and engaging your audience. Over 80 percent of online marketers are creating more content now than they were just a year ago. That's because this stuff works.
However, one thing marketers are still struggling with is creating the right kind of content that engages their prospects and customers. There’s just simply too much content out there that doesn't ever see the light of day.
So what's the solution? Interactive content!
What is Interactive Content?
This is the type of content that requires active engagement from the participants. It requires more than just reading or watching and in return for their engagement, the participants get the hyper-relevant results they desire in real-time.
Interactive content is a much better way to entertain, educate, and engage your audience.
It comes in formats that are great for adding value for your users because they create a two-way dialogue. They enable personalized, user-focused experiences from the beginning until the end of your customer's journey.
Types of Interactive Content
By now you must be wondering what interactive content looks like.
Well, it comes in lots of different shapes and sizes, but they all stem from just a few core content types that marketers use as building blocks for creating standalone experiences.
Examples of these include:
Surveys and Polls
Events and Webinars
Mobile Apps or Games
Interactive 360 Videos
Augmented Reality Overlays
…and so on
Why is Interactive Content Important?
A lot of expert marketers consider interactive content to be the future of content marketing and it's hard to argue with the statistics. Take quizzes, for instance.
You find them on social channels like Facebook and other websites, and they are among some of the most popular content on the Internet.
According to studies, almost 96% of people who start a quiz actually finish it. When was the last time 96% of visitors to your site actually finished reading a piece of content you wrote?
The reason interactive content works so well is that at its core, it's simply a way of having a conversation with members of your audience. That sort of interactivity offers blog posts, emails, paid ads, and landing pages the dynamism and the all-important persuasive power that comes with in-person interaction.
Another main reason why interactive content works is that as humans we simply cannot resist a call to test ourselves, to compete, to compare, or share opinions – or to simply have fun!
Also, there’s a give-and-take offered by the content which allows the user to achieve a very different result in the content journey according to the way they answered, and that type of personalization is very appealing to most.
Who Can Use Interactive Content?
If you have found that your existing content doesn't really create enough opportunities for engagement, then you may be in need of a few interactive content pieces on your website.
This is an area where interactive content really excels.
By definition, this type of content is highly engaging. This is in stark contrast to other types of content which offer an unresponsive experience regardless of how insightful, interesting, or humorous the content is.
Interactive content allows your visitors to turn into people that take action on your site. And it doesn't have to be anything super-fancy either.
Something simple like an infographic, a quiz, or some kind of calculator can help to boost engagement on your site.
Just by engaging your audience in an activity, such as answering questions, exploring scenarios, or making choices, you will be able to capture their attention from the start.
Since they have to actually think and respond, you can be sure that no one will be snoozing through that content. When done well, interactive content has the ability to improve your conversion rates across the entire website.
There are many benefits to using interactive content and you can use it for everything from boosting engagement, lead generation, and conversions to educating the audience, creating brand awareness, and increasing sales.
Developing Interactive Content for Your Website
The best way to go is to upgrade your existing content. Most marketers cringe at the thought of having to create something from scratch.
Luckily, you can create interactive content from stuff that's already on your website. It's very easy to repurpose some of your better assets to make them interactive.
Just make sure that's you match the interactive content to your customer's journey. So the first thing to do is to determine the type of interactive content that is going to have the most impact on the different phases of your customer's journey.
The next step is to collect data. You can start by figuring out which are the friction points. Find the places where users typically abandon your contents or website. Then ask yourself if interactive contents might keep them engaged?
Once you've created your interactive content from existing content (for instance you might include an interactive 360 video within an existing blog post), now it's time to run tests – the old static blog post against the new refreshed interactive vision. Find out how engagement and behavior are altered.
For instance, are visitors staying on the page or websites longer? Are you getting an increased number of authoritative links because of your new, more engaging content?
Your tests and results should help you make better-informed decisions as to how to spend your time or resources. Avoid investing significantly into many pieces of interactive contents until you're sure that they’re driving the results you want.
Developing interactive content can prove to be very costly, particularly if you beginning from scratch. That's why you should only create one piece of content at a time then test it. Once you’re happy with the results, you can create another one.
How to use Interactive Content to Enhance Your Marketing Efforts
As marketers, we all want to get ahead of the game. We want to beat the competition and attract more attention so we can sell more and make more money.
I think it's pretty safe to say that interactive content can help you in achieving all those goals.
So now let's take a look at some examples of how you can use interactive content to supercharge your various digital marketing campaigns.
You can use interactive content in any aspect of your digital marketing, but for illustration purposes, we will use email marketing to help you understand how you can integrate interactive content to enhance your overall marketing results.
Here are five ways of using interactive content in email marketing:
Surprise and Delight Subscribers
I don't have to tell you how tough it is to gain attention through email these days. But interactive content is one way you can use to stand apart from your competition. It will help you to delight and impress your readers which will subsequently improve email engagement.
There's no doubt that interactive content grabs and retains your readers’ attention a lot more than static content does. So you can include things in your email messages such as memes, interactive videos, GIFs, and so on.
By using this type of creativity in your emails, you make your audience love you. And when your audience loves you, they are a lot more likely to open your emails, click your links, and visit your website.
Interactive content also allows you to adopt a tone that is much less formal and more conversational. This makes the audience see your brand in a more human and approachable light. This, in turn, enhances the connection between you.
Boost Results with Psychology
As previously mentioned, one of the main reasons why interactive content works so well is because of its powerful psychological triggers. Most people are driven to interaction by core psychological mechanisms like curiosity and the brain's response to operant conditioning.
If you can understand and leverage these core psychological principles, it will help you create the best interactive campaigns possible that will entice your audience to engage with you.
By understanding the motivations that drive people to click, read, and share your content, you’ll have an easier time integrating those success elements.
If you want to create personalized experiences for your subscribers, the first thing you need is to get information about them – from knowing their preferences interests, gender, age, and location to all the other attributes that are necessary for you to create a compelling campaign.
With interactive experiences, you have the perfect platform to gain information about each of your subscribers while using interactivity to offer them insights in return.
For instance, you might offer subscribers a quiz to help them increase their financial knowledge, and if they take the quiz via email, you can then use the information to further segment and personalize all future marketing efforts.
Give Subscribers What They Want
When deciding which interactive campaigns to go with, your best bet is to go with something that delivers exactly what your subscribers want. For instance, say you're a financial services provider, you might consider if you subscribers want to know how to make money, how to save money, or how to invest it.
If you can answer their most pressing questions using interactive content, your battle is half won.
Any time you can provide useful information to subscribers through a personalized interactive experience, they will be happy to click through. So simply ask yourself how your business can help to solve a potential customer’s problem and increase conversions.
By solving a problem for your customers, you make it a lot more likely that they will open your emails. In fact, they feel compelled to do so and the majority of the time, they will click through and read your content.
Just make it Fun
I understand that it can be tempting to make every email you send about trying to increase your sales. But there are times when your subscribers will appreciate an email from you that doesn't have an explicit sales goal.
Your emails aren’t just for making money. They are also a very important aspect of building brand awareness as well as encouraging customer loyalty. And when it comes to massively improving engagement, you can never go wrong with sheer entertainment.
So try sending out a holiday email that is entertaining, for instance. Or you could make your monthly newsletter an interactive one.
You'll be surprised to learn that some of the highest click-through rates that you will ever get come from emails that aren't designed to be promotional, but still direct traffic to your website or some other piece of content within the email.
All our examples so far have to do with email marketing, but I think by now you a clear idea of how you can integrate interactive content into any other elements of the digital marketing such is paid online ads and social media.
In fact, social media is a great place to use interactive content because, by its very nature, the platform is set up to encourage people to share content. So using interactive content on social media makes it more likely that it'll go viral – or at the very least, get more exposure which will bring in more leads for your business.
You may already have come across a lot of interactive content experiences that have gone viral on social media, so you know what I’m talking about.
In addition to using this type of content in your emails, you can start directing followers to your interactive content on your social pages so they can experience something unique and original.
The advantage here is that most social platforms are highly visual which makes it a lot easier for you to attract attention when you post something that depicts interactivity. You can then use the copy to explain to the audience how they stand to benefit from that experience.
This type of content doesn't need to be overly promotional.
For instance, a simple interactive quiz such as the one mentioned above will do. So start right now and decide which elements of your digital marketing you're going to enhance using interactive content so you can start seeing better results from your marketing efforts.
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Updated: Originally published May 1st 2019