Today, more and more brands are using content as a way to draw potential customers to them. Unlike traditional advertising that pushes products customers do not want to their face, content marketing belongs to what is known as inbound marketing – a strategy that focuses on attracting customers via company-created internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.
But as more and more brands get onto the content bandwagon, consumers struggle with the problem of having too much content. An infographic from The Word Pro shows us just how much content is created and shared per minute every day. Every single minute, Facebook users like posts over 4 million times; close to 350,000 tweets are sent and 300 hours of videos are uploaded on Youtube – all in 60 seconds.
As a content marketer, you may have spent hours on research, forming your buyer persona, setting up a content calendar, diligently produced long-form content regularly and subsequently repurpose them into various forms. But you are still fighting for eyeballs. Yes, certain types of content like videos, infographics and whitepapers may gather more engagement and downloads, but audience is starting to fight with content fatigue. How do you then, find new ways to produce content that your audience want to consume without losing engagement?
Interactive content could be your answer
Like a child reading a storybook, the traditional storytelling ritual has moved from an inanimated printed book to cartoons, and in the last decade, interactive e-books. Any parent will tell you that having a child “reading” an interactive story on their iPad will engage their attention more than giving them a physical book. An interactive story allows the child to interact with the story by performing certain actions on-screen and even personalising the stories with them involved as a character.
The same goes for one of your target audience reading your content. Instead of clicking on the close button on your article after 20 seconds of reading, they are faced with an option to choose between 6 options to continue with the article.
Now that’s interactivity at play. And interactivity means more engagement. While content marketing has given some power back to the consumer by having them actively choose the content they want, most of these content were produced for passive consumption. By introducing interactive elements, you give your customers not only the power to choose what they want to read, but also ensures they actively consume it by taking some form of action.
Why do people consume content?
The same question can be rephrased as – Why do people read? People read to gain knowledge, to know what’s happening around the world, to learn about things they don’t know, to find information to perform certain tasks, to better themselves. But by passively content, they may not retain the most of what they have read or seen. Interactivity, on the other hand, encourages knowledge retention. What this also means is that it is highly likely that your audience will have a higher chance of remembering your brand as well.
Types of interactive content
If you have been using blog posts, infographics and video in your content marketing strategy so far, you do not have to panic about producing interactive content. More often than not, you’d probably have encountered them in some form or another.
Quizzes are amazingly popular, even if they are more fun than anything serious. You might already have encountered some form of Facebook quiz like the following:
Rationally, we do know that the answer is not going to define us, but the quiz results can be useful for recommending the most relevant subsequent content. We can easily imagine the quiz being shared by a local bar, which could recommend a number of their signature cocktails through the quiz. This would encourage the reader to consider trying out “their drink” the next time they go to the bar.
Interactive calculators are a great tool to integrate into the buyer journey. We’ve already seen how calculators can be useful in helping customers calculate how much they’d need for buying a new home, find out their insurance coverage needs, as well as the returns they can get for their investment money. Having interactive calculators on your website can help your audience find the answer to solve their problems.
Marketers have long understood the use of infographics for reader-engagement. Using a simple graphic to tell a complex story is a great way to help users understand the content in a faster manner, not to mention how it makes sharing more easy and attractive. But interactive infographics take this further by having users navigate the information they want and discovering new facts through animation and clicks.
The Singapore Government has done a great job with interactive infographics:
4. Interactive Videos
Video as a content form is already doing better compared to content articles, but content marketers may also note that you experience a drop of viewers within the first minute of a video. Let’s just say human attention span has never been shorter, but with interactive video, you have a shot at prolonging it.
Interactive videos often allow the audience to create their own adventure or story, much like one of those “adventure storybooks” you’ve probably read when you were young. What better way to immerse someone into a story than allowing them to be the protagonist?
5. Interactive Maps
Interactive maps are a great way to showcase information related to a specific geography. By allowing users to click on various areas to discover interests, add/remove certain aspects and play with display navigation, interactive maps get users involved in the story-telling process.
6. Idea Generators
With so much information available online, sometimes what we need is some help on filtering those content. Interactive idea generators are great at doing this – by using a small input from the user, the generator can create/recommend a product or an idea to inspire the user.
One example that comes to mind are recipe sites which contain thousands of recipes, but if the readers are to go through the recipe index, it would take them much time to find a recipe that inspires them. So why not let them choose an ingredient they have on hand and help them find what they can do with it?
Interactive Stories: The Perfect Mix
By combining text narration with full-screen video, an interactive map & timeline, graphs and animation, an interactive story not only appeal to users’ eyes and ears, but also to their sense of touch. Through the experience of scrolling and clicking through scenes, such as turning the pages of an album or viewing pictures in a camera, it provides a completely immersive experience for the reader.
If your content marketing plan has seen decreasing engagement trends and greater bounce, it is perhaps time to consider new forms of Interactive content to help you foster richer interactions with your customers and leads. Hopefully these ideas will help you refresh your current content and meet your marketing objectives in a brand new way!