May 4, 2017
Remember when you had a “presentation” site that you never, ever changed and everything was good because you had chosen the right colors and you had a catchy headline? This was probably around 10 years ago, because, oh, how the times have changed.
If you want to up your content marketing game today, it’s no longer enough to have perfectly-crafted landing pages and a huge library of blog posts. No, even webinars, white papers and eBooks won’t cut it.
Today’s game-changer is interactive content.
What is interactive content?
As you might have guessed from its name, interactive content is the type of content that requires active engagement from the participants. That means more than reading, watching or listening.
In other words, interactive content is “alive” and it makes your website visitors “complicit” – it’s pointless without their involvement. You can think about it as an app for your website.
Here are some examples of interactive content:
• Interactive white papers
• Assessment tools
When you go to a bank’s website and use their loan calculator, you interact with content. You use their interactive content.
Why does interactive content matter?
The short answer is: because it works.
According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of marketers say that interactive content is more effective at grabbing attention than its static counterpart. And grabbing attention is the point of every piece of content, isn’t it?
Furthermore, 51 percent of surveyed marketers reported that they have been using interactive content for three years or more (the research was conducted in 2016), and 75 percent of respondents plan to use it more and more.
Here are some more reasons why it works:
• People want to interact with your brand. Just look at the huge success BuzzFeed has had with its educational or fun quizzes.
• Everyone’s mobile now. And mobile users have grown to expect interaction.
• It educates easier. If the purpose of your content is to educate, then interactive is the way to go. It’s not just little kids that learn best from actually doing something or playing – it’s the adults, too.
Bottom line: if you’re not using it interactive content yet, you’re already falling behind.
How to (easily) create interactive content
I know the exhaustion that sometimes comes with having to find yet another idea for a one-of-a-kind piece of content, not to mention the feeling of despair that comes immediately after learning that a new type of content is a must-have.
But I have good news: you might not need as much work as you think to jumpstart your interactive content strategy. Repurposing content is the ideal way to reach more audiences on different media (I wrote an article about 10 brilliant ways to repurpose content) and it can work for your interactive content, too.
• Turn a blog post into an interactive infographic, an interactive SlideShare deck or a quiz
• Turn a white paper into a webinar with a Q&A session at the end
• Make your white papers interactive by pairing them with quizzes or assessments
And, even if you don’t have anything to repurpose, creating interactive
• Add a poll to your blog posts;
• Use polls in Twitter and Facebook;
• Create quizzes on your website to help people choose the product that suits their needs or style best;
• Offer a calculator in exchange for an email address.
The options are endless and, even better, highly customizable. Interactive content works for everyone from retailers to B2B companies and Fortune 500 empires.
Why should you use interactive content?
Obviously, not just because it’s trendy. We’ve already established that it works, now let’s see how exactly you can make it work for you.
Get more leads: people are more prone to give you their e-mail address in exchange for an interactive piece of content like a white paper or a quiz.
Optimize your buyer persona: look at the answers your potential clients give in polls or quizzes – this is the best way to learn more about them, their wants and their needs.
Find out where on the buyer journey a certain prospect is at a certain time: let’s say your prospect is in the market for a new car. He will first go through the awareness stage (when he first realizes he needs a new car). This is when people are most likely to engage with quizzes and polls.
Next, we have the evaluation stage – the user takes a look at some of the offers on the market. This is when he is more likely to engage with white papers and eBooks i.e. go more in-depth on the subject.
Lastly, the decision phase – the buyer decides where he will purchase the car. This is the time when he needs interactive pieces of content like calculators.
For optimal results you should, of course, have all these types of content ready and waiting for the right prospect to get to them. You can never know in which of the stages your prospect will start interacting with you.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start small. Identify the phase in which you need more prospects to interact with you – where your weakest point is right now. For instance, you may find that people drop off during the evaluation stage and choose to go to your competitor. This is the phase you need your top interactive content for.
Interactive content can be your top sales booster
…and it’s not even very hard to get started. You don’t need a team of developers or a dedicated department for this. Just like in the case of any type of content, start by identifying your customers’ pain points and work towards solving them.
One of the best things about interactive content is that, if you don’t get it right the first time, you’ll find out very soon. And it is very easy to fix things and deliver the exact type of content your audience wants.
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the Owner and Founder of Idunn. In October 2019, she also launched Copywritech, a digital marketing agency that provides copywriting, SEO content writing, and strategy services to companies in the tech industry.