What do these things have in common?
- Buzzfeed is well-known for its silly, sometimes nonsensical quizzes.
- Creators on YouTube have created a system for letting users choose how videos end.
- Instagram Stories are full of polls and question boxes from influencers. Livestream content is more popular than ever before.
They’re all examples of interactive content. When done right, interactive content can be wildly effective for growing and expanding your business, engaging your audience to generate and nurture your leads, and keeping your brand relevant in the modern digital world.
It’s exciting and, most importantly, engaging, so it’s exactly what you want to stay relevant.
Let’s break down what interactive content is and how you can use it effectively.
What is Interactive Content?
All content in marketing is created to have value for the consumer.
This is usually done with new information, personal anecdotes, a unique perspective, or an offer designed to improve the consumer’s life somehow.
Usually, it’s expected to be a passive experience. Your consumer can effectively just let the content play or sit on the screen without engaging fully.
Whether or not they’re paying attention is irrelevant to the ad, which can mean it can slip by virtually unseen.
Interactive content – as the name implies – gives value to the consumer by asking them to engage actively with it. It is defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “experiences that give audiences something to do, say, see, and feel.”
Interactive content is a piece that activates the senses and requires the audience to choose to consume it consciously. In exchange for their time, they’re given the value of the content, which might differ from person to person.
How Do I Make Content Interactive?
The key element of interactive content can be described in three ways: engagement, exchange, and experience. Your consumer must find the content interesting, perform some transaction, and receive a result that benefits them. You can do this in several different ways:
- You can ask your consumer to perform a task or action. This could be anything from a simple click to comments or sharing.
- You might also invite them to have a conversation with you. Hosting a question and answer session (a proactive way of objection handling) on your social media can be a great way to connect with your audience.
- Making the content fun is another great way of connecting and garnering interest. Seemingly silly or frivolous content is engaging, memorable, and shareable.
- Finally, making your content informative is another interactive option. You might ask them to click, ask questions, or talk about a particular set of information to learn more about it.
Knowing the goal of your content can make choosing the kind of content you produce significantly easier. It allows you to tailor the content to your brand’s needs and plan your marketing for it more precisely.
You may also find that you have more than one goal.
Types of Interactive Content
Realistically, your interactive content will do some combination of informing, entertaining, connecting, and engaging your audience.
This is a good thing!
Not only does it make a single piece of interactive content more engaging and valuable to your audience, it means you can rework one piece of content in several ways to make it interactable in new and unique ways.
Your interactive content might come in the form of:
- Quizzes about your brand’s history or products might display more information in the “answer” sections to offer more value.
- Competitions where your audience has to interact with a particular piece for the chance to win an exclusive prize.
This could be asking your audience to simply engage with a social media post or create a piece of content related to your brand (such as taking a picture with a product or in a particular location).
- Games centered around your brand’s message or products. These are usually not serious and focus on being sharable and competitive.
- Polls about what your audience would like to see next, what they like more, etc., this might be done on various social media platforms or through surveys on your website.
- E-books with do-it-yourself content such as filling in blanks might also have multiple endings or paths to reading them.
- Videos that are designed with multiple endings your viewer can choose from. They might also include timed sections to give your audience time to answer a question.
- Going “live” on social media to chat or answer questions in real-time. This also gives your audience a chance to see who the people behind the brand are.
- Maps that include clickable locations with more information this is perfect for companies with multiple locations.
- Microsites are dedicated to a specific topic; this might be a blog or a forum.
- Infographics, charts, and graphs that can be adjusted to demonstrate different information are particularly shareable on social media.
- A personalized customer journey that lays out a detailed service plan tailored to the individual consumer
- A website popup in which you can embed your interactive content with special offers and attract your visitors into buying your products or services.
The overlapping of goals and content types means that your content’s life is significantly extended. One piece of information can be made into at least four different pieces of content that can be shared over time as its marketing campaign.
Interactive Content and the Future of Content Marketing
Modern technology has been evolving at a rapid, previously unachievable rate for the past century at least.
The refining of electronic equipment has meant that we’re more capable now than ever before of communicating with the opposite side of the planet in microseconds.
With the expansion of the world, it’s only natural that marketing strategies expand to compensate.
Traditional marketing strategies from the age of television and radio, which require only passive attention, can be updated to include in-the-moment interaction that wasn’t possible before.
Additionally, interactive content is a great way to improve both your video SEO and other search rankings. Being seen on the first page of a search engine is practically the only way an online consumer is going to see your brand at all.
Search rankings are primarily determined by engagement, and there’s nothing more engaging than interactive content. It gives your site more authority and so makes your brand look more attractive to casual browsers.
The Benefits of Interactive Content
When consumers are used to scrolling past traditional ads, seeing something that requires them to stop and interact gets their attention much more effectively.
It allows them to learn more about a company before making a purchase decision, making them more likely to buy.
Interactive content is an obligation-free trial transaction.
The consumers can use it to gauge whether a company is worth their time — in a fast-paced online environment, requiring your consumer to slow down and pay attention grants your valuable time to convert consumers into leads that would otherwise be lost.
Because it requires an active choice, interactive content is more memorable than passive content. Experiences involving our senses are scientifically proven to stand out more in our memories over time.
It’s also more captivating. Visible engagement, such as a high number of likes, comments, shares, and other similar openly available statistics, is intriguing.
Humans are innately curious, so knowing that others are experiencing something means we will want to experience it as well.
Beyond that, it gives marketers a way of collecting demographic data in real-time. It’s a direct line of communication that shows you where you need to improve.
Using interactive content allows you to adjust your marketing plan as soon as your audience interacts, rather than having to wait weeks for feedback to come through and be processed.
7 Tips for Perfecting Interactive Content
If you’ve read this far, the chances are good that you’re ready to implement an interactive content marketing strategy for your brand.
Before you start your first campaign, though, here are seven time-proven tips for getting the most out of your content.
Follow and apply the latest graphic design trends to ensure that your visuals are always fresh-looking and on point.
1 – Make It Stand Out
Your content is going to be in a sea of other options. You’re going to need a way to transition from passive to active engagement, and that means a hook. Develop a solid, attention-grabbing hook that will help it cut through the noise of constant information.
2 – Make It Unique
In a similar vein, the content you make needs to be unique. Don’t rely on standard templates and tropes to get your point across; create something that is solely associated with your brand.
That doesn’t mean you have to be the first to share a piece of information. You just have to do it in a way that’s new and exciting.
3 – The Customer Comes First
Your customer’s experience needs to be at the forefront of everything you do. Pay attention to common setbacks like long loading times and user interface problems.
Adjust the experience until it’s as smooth and pleasant as possible.
You should also be careful to avoid campy sales language. While you do have the user’s active attention, you’ll lose it the moment they see disingenuous marketing lingo. Keep it realistic and honest.
4 – Give Something of Value
Your audience is taking time out of their day to interact with your brand. Make it worthwhile. Remove all possible filler words. Create your content with the express goal of adding value to your consumer’s day, whether or not they become a lead.
The consumer should leave with a positive outlook of your brand and something to say if they’re asked about it.
5 – Track Your Analytics
As mentioned above, interactive content lets you see feedback immediately, so take full advantage of that. Use analytics tracking tools to monitor the information coming in from each interaction.
Important analytics to track are:
- Number of views your content is getting
- The number of initial interactions it gets
- The overall time your consumer is spending with the interactive content
The longer your consumer spends with it, and the more views convert into interactions, the better the content is doing.
6 – Check Your Strategy
Before you make any content, create a comprehensive strategy for it.
- What is it going to be about?
- When will it be live?
- Who will be involved?
- How long will it run?
Document the answers to many questions like this that come up and organize them into a coherent strategy.
Once it is live, monitor the entire run of your campaign.
Then, when it’s over, see what went well and where you could improve, and adjust your next campaign accordingly. Always be willing to change your strategy to match your audience’s needs.
7 – Stick to Your Brand
Above anything else, your interactive content should be a positive reflection of your brand. Be sure to set specific guidelines for its creation, including monitoring it when it’s “live.”
Knowing what it is that you stand for can make interactive content all the more meaningful.
If you find that any of your content is reflecting badly, act quickly. Remove the content and issue a public statement about it. Interact with your audience again to discover what went wrong, and learn from it.
Don’t wait for the bad press; be proactive in monitoring how your brand is seen across the internet.
Integrating Interactive Content into Your Business
Interactive content was the inevitable next step in marketing strategy. It’s clever, fun, and above all, engaging. This builds a relationship with consumers and actively guides them into becoming leads.
GIF Source: ion.rocketcontent.com
If you’re looking to create interactive content and integrate it into your marketing strategy, consider taking a course in its development or exploring real-world examples of interactive marketing in action. This can help you find out which type is appropriate for your business.
In a world of growing and changing marketing environments, making interactive content keeps you ahead of the game. It allows your company to evolve with society instead of getting left behind in a traditional content slump.
When you interact with your customers, you learn, and learning helps businesses thrive.