Content is king, it really is and we must be getting the message because more content is being produced and added to the web than at any time before. This is great in a lot of ways, however it also means that there is a lot of noise……..a whole lot of noise!

If you’re creating content and hoping to stand out from the crowd, you need to be doing something very special – something very special indeed. This is where the fourth wave of content marketing comes in – interactive content.

According to Scott Brinker of Ion Interactive, the previous three were:

  • Text based web content
  • Rich media
  • Personalised content

You can read his post here on why he and his company are betting on this fourth wave of content to be the next big thing.

Interactive content is a whole array of different things – as an example – here are some things it includes:

  • Interactive white papers
  • Flip books
  • Quizzes, games, social hubs
  • Learning exercises
  • Contests
  • Surveys
  • Much more besides

Essentially, it’s anything that your readers or users engage and interact with and as the cost of producing it falls – it will be increasingly common. In short, it’s the future.

Benefits of Interactive Content

Interactive content is well worth the investment. As we already mentioned, standing out from the rest in a world where good pieces of content are ten a penny is tough. Leveraging interactive content makes it a lot easier but that’s just one of the benefits.

Engagement

One of the most notable things about this sort of content is the level of interaction it creates. The more engaging and entertaining the medium, the more likely people are to stick with it. Essentially, the more they have to do to consume content, the greater the chance they will stick with it and consume it.

For example, when I read a white paper or a blog post I’m quite passive, videos are very much the same. However, in contrast let’s consider a quiz or a computer game version of the same thing – far more enthralling. For example, Buzzfeed’s quizzes are extremely engaging. Chances are if you start one, you’re likely to complete it – such is the high level of engagement.

The Reward

One of the other reasons that this sort of content is more engaging and garners far more interest than traditional means, is because it many types of it offers a reward. This creates a level of motivation to complete the activity that many other sorts of content can’t compete with. Human beings love rewards and results and this sort of content provides that and keep people’s attention to the end. Whether it’s a result of a quiz, the end level of a game or result from a survey, many forms of interactive content provide a reward and this gives it leverage over alternative sorts.

Creativity

As we already mentioned, interactive content is quite broad and is essentially any sort of content that allows the user to interact with it.

The broadness of this remit means that there are so many different sorts of opportunities for people to really be creative and create something truly stunning. There are no boundaries aside from the content needing to be interactive. Interactive content can utilise an unlimited degree of multimedia to create an experience that is multi-dimensional. Every screen and interaction can potentially result in a different result – something that’s very interesting.

Marketing and Tracking

How do you track whether a person has read all of your blog? You can’t really. However, some forms of interactive content allow you to do this easily. Once a person completes it, you know whether they’ve interacted with it to the end. With interactive content, it’s a lot easier to record interactions and how successful or unsuccessful a piece of content is. It can also be a provider of some very in depth information, providing you ask the right questions and track in the correct manner.

6 Ideas for Interactive Content

Surveys and Quizzes – Interactive online surveys have already become really popular thanks to their emergence on social sites such as Buzzfeed. These surveys provide an engaging, media rich option that can be tracked, analysed and provides insight into the reader’s lifestyle as well as offering very high engagement levels. SnapApp discuss the benefits in detail.

Assessments – a sub niche of the quiz, assessments have a very high rate of engagement and a very high click rate once marketed at the correct demographic. Assessments provide the reader with a chance to showcase their skills, knowhow or how they fit in. Buzzfeed’s ‘What city should I live in’ deserves a mention here and was very popular because it ticked a number of boxes that allowed readers to showcase who they are.

Calculators – No we’re not talking about your typical scientific calculator – we’re talking about interactive calculators that provide you with a whole host of pre-created formulas. Want to know the return on investment in a certain industry, the cost of employee churn, or want to allow customers to customise their own pricing? Then interactive calculators can be a great way to engage and reward. Here are some cool ideas on how to use them from Ion Creative.

Contests – Contests are also more than worth a mention as a form of interactive content, namely because they can often be created to provide the brand in question with content of their own. All the brand has to do is create the concept and the prospects create the material. The most important thing to recall when creating a contest is that it will appeal to the right sort of people you have in mind to have a sales conversion with.

Self-Publishing – Flip books and other similar concepts allow the user to create his or her own content. This content can include as many different sorts of interactive forms of content as possible and is quickly and easily distributed online. Like a lot of interactive content, these flip books make it easy to gain in-depth knowledge that you can analyse and use to optimise your message for future editions. Check out this infographic from Nubuntu.org.

Infographics – Interactive infographics turn a good form of content into a great form of content. They allow the individual the chance to tailor the infographic to respond to their answers. They provide a personalised, highly engaging and dynamic piece of content where information is exchanged and where the result is very impressive. Here’s a very good example from Endicia of such an infographic.

Interactive content is the next step in content creation for marketers. It stands out, it engages and it provides a lot more information than previous forms of content did on customers. The aforementioned article works to showcase this. Let us know what you think below in the comments.