Interactive Content - The Cure for Content Fatigue

As a B2B content marketer, I spend a lot of time reading blog posts, checking out other people’s eBooks, scouring the web for the latest infographics, and downloading research reports relevant to my industry. I skew social media usage stats way high. I read marketing forums and publisher sites that cover topics relevant to my job. I’ve signed up for tons of email newsletters.

I’m also an English major, so I’m an unabashed proponent of long-form content. As long as it’s well-written and relevant, anyway.

But I have a confession to make. I’m getting a serious case of content fatigue.

What’s content fatigue? I’m sure you’ve felt it before. It’s that hamster-wheel feeling of trying to keep up with the content coming at you from all corners of the internet and constantly failing—or constantly being disappointed—or both.

The thing is, content marketers aren’t the only ones experiencing content fatigue. Your prospects and customers are dealing with the same thing. So when you send them a great blog post or share your latest eBook on social, your audience probably isn’t that excited. They have content coming out of their ears. Even if they enjoy what you have to say, engagement can start to drop over time because people get distracted by newer, shinier sources of information.

What’s driving the current outbreak of content fatigue, and how can we as content marketers help our audiences recover? This article will explore the answers—but first, check out the mini interactive infographic below!

The Problem of Content Fatigue

The sheer volume of content being shared via the web, social media, and email is truly astounding. Here are some recent stats to quantify this sentiment:

It’s no wonder we’re all feeling run down. That’s a lot of content to consume, and brands are adding to that vast volume of content every year.

Interactive Content Can Re-Energize Your Marketing Program

There’s been a lot of buzz about interactive content within the marketing community in the past 6 months. And when thought leaders like Gartner, Neil Patel, and Demand Metric all start talking about a new trend, the community tends to start listening.

Both consumers and marketers are starting to reap the benefits of interactive content. Just take a look at some of these stats from a recent market survey:

  • 91% of buyers prefer interactive, visual content that can be accessed on demand.
  • 93% of marketers say interactive content is effective at educating buyers.
  • 88% of marketers say interactive content is effective at differentiating their brand (versus 55% for static content).
  • 70% of marketers say interactive content is effective at converting visitors (versus 36% for static content).

It’s still early days for interactive content marketing, but so far, the signs all point toward a solution to the static content overload problem.

Why does interactive content combat viewer fatigue so well? There are a few reasons I’ve seen firsthand:

It’s Highly Visual

The rapid growth of image-driven social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope have proven time and again that visual content drives massive engagement. Because interactive content allows you to tell stories with photos, GIFs, videos, and animation effects, you can drive more engagement than you can with just a static blog post.

It’s Non-Linear

If you took a look at my browser history, you’d probably be scared/impressed at how many sites I visit and how much I bounce around between tabs. This kind of browsing behavior is normal, and it reflects a growing trend toward non-linear content consumption. Rarely do I take 15 minutes to read through an entire long-form article; most of our audience members don’t, either.

Interactive content takes advantage of non-linear exploration, providing a much more flexible experience for the end user. If someone is in a hurry, they can skim just the parts that interest them; if someone only cares about 1 topic of 5 in a long-form piece, they can skip to that part and dive deeply into that one portion without having to scroll or skim through the rest of the content. You can also layer your narrative so that viewers can stay at a surface level or dig into each part of the story in depth.

It’s Eye-Catching

The thing about interactive content is that it’s, well, interactive. Animations, interaction effects, and other dynamic visuals draw the eye and make viewers take notice. To steal a phrase from the design world, interactive pieces “pop” while static content blends or recedes.

Sure, you still need a great story that’s relevant to your audience. But you can do a whole lot more with that story when you wrap it in a dynamic, novel wrapper.

It Enables Two-Way Communication

Traditional content is a one-way communication between the brand to their audience. Interactive content allows the audience to participate in the conversation as well. Interactive quizzes and calculators allow the user to provide information that gives them a customized result; interactive eBooks, infographics, and whitepapers can be tracked so that you know exactly what content your viewers engaged with and how long they spent on specific portions of your piece. While this level of communication isn’t as direct as, say, a comment left on a blog post, it happens without the end user having to exert any special effort, which gives you a much bigger dataset to look at when optimizing your efforts.

The Bottom Line

Creating more content isn’t going to solve the problem of content fatigue. Creating better, richer, more dynamic, more interesting content will, and interactivity plays a key part of that process.

Before you go, tell me in the comments: How are you combatting content fatigue within your marketing organization?