It’s no secret that customers hate it when you advertise to them. That’s why they go blind and deaf to the sights and sounds of another self-promotional blog post or social media update. The internet is full of content, and consumers are bombarded with it every single day. If you want to stand out, you have to provide something of real value – something your consumers want and need. That’s how you create good content. But as marketers get more creative with their content marketing efforts, consumers find themselves lost in the noise, still.
Having a remarkable product or service just isn’t enough to succeed in business these days. You have to engage them and entertain them. You have to get their attention – and you do that by giving them something more… something they want. One of the ways you can do this is through interactive content.
So, let’s learn about what interactive content is and the types of it you can use in your content marketing strategy to make stronger and better connections with your audience.
What is Interactive Content?
Interactive content is predominantly visual. Well written blog posts can do well enough on their own, but if you add a quiz? That’s the kind of thing that goes viral.
Regardless of your SEO skills are, today’s marketing requires more than just passive content that’s just out there waiting to be discovered. White papers, eBooks, and blog posts can keep users engaged, but in most cases, it’s not enough to keep them engaged for long.
Yes, there’s a place for certain types of content with niche audiences. But, if you’re marketing something with mass appeal, you’re missing out on a lot by ignoring the content that users want.
Interactive content is active – it engages the user. They have to respond or move on. As a marketer, interactive content makes it easier for people to opt-in or opt-out faster, and that’s what you want. You don’t want to waste time on leads that aren’t going to go anywhere, do you? Interactive content is evergreen – it is useful and engaging long after it is written and published.
Types of Interactive Content
This is one of the most common types of interactive content, and they are a great lead generation tool. You can make them light-hearted, like this quiz from Buzzfeed in honor of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, or you can make them more business oriented, depending on your niche and end goal. It’s a good idea to avoid asking for participants’ information until the end of the quiz. You can require the user to provide their information before showing them how many answers they got right.
If you’ve got a complex pricing structure that’s too much for the standard pricing page table, or if you want to show people how much money they could save by using your service, then an interactive calculator is the answer.
You can also use calculators as part link magnet and part lead generation tool. When you have a calculator others could use on their own websites, you can make it easy for them to embed it and share it with their audiences. This builds backlinks to your site, and expands the reach of your tool. The lead generation component comes into play when you add a feature that allows you to benchmark your results against your peers and competitors.
Though not quite a calculator, here at Sach’s Marketing Group, we have a free SEO tool that gives you an SEO score. It analyzes your website to evaluate how well you’re doing. And if you so choose, you can fill out the form at the bottom of your results to request a free consultation with us.
Interactive Whitepapers and eBooks
Traditional whitepapers and eBooks are information-heavy, making them less attractive to some users. Creating an interactive version, however, removes a lot of the frustration for users. While it takes time to create the interactive version, you’ll also get a great deal more information about how the information was consumed. The standard whitepaper doesn’t tell you which sections your users read, or whether they even really looked at it after it was downloaded. With the interactive version, you can see which parts were read, and use the data to determine what your audience responds to the most. Then, use those insights to craft more content.
These take the already popular infographics and add interaction – requiring the user to click through to get more information. The required clicking keeps the user engaged, and lets them zero in on the information they want.
For example, this infographic debunks the idea that half of all marriages end in divorce. Check out the full interactive version here.
Take a look at the interactive character map MTV made using Game of Thrones. It’s great because the show is rather complicated, and the graphic simplifies everything, while capitalizing on the popularity of the show. It works because they share much of the same demographic. If you can find something – tv, sports, music, movies, or anything else pop culture that’s making waves, that matches your audience, then you can do something similar.
Image credit: MTV
Video is hot in marketing. Interactive video allows you to create a two-way conversation with your viewers. One of the easiest ways to make a video interactive is to add annotations throughout. YouTube recently discontinued their annotations tool, replacing it with end screen and cards because of the mobile-first approach. These tools are designed to provide the same functions as annotations, allowing you to poll viewers and link to other videos. Annotations didn’t work on mobile, which is the reason for the switch. Any existing annotations continue to show up on the desktop browser version of YouTube.
These are a great lead-gen tool because they can be helpful to the users who complete them. You can use the information you get from the assessment to create targeted email follow up series. Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows assessments are the most commonly used type of interactive content, with 54% of the vote.
Creating Interactive Content
So, you’ve decided you want to add interactive content to your editorial calendar, but you’re not sure where to get started? I’ve got you covered! Here are some tools to help you.
Snap App: With this platform, you can create all the types of interactive content mentioned in this blog post. Plus, it integrates with many popular CRM solutions. Pricing begins at $1,650 per month, billed annual. You can request a free demo before signing up.
Guides.co: Guides.co is a Slideshare type platform for interactive guides. It allows you convert any standard whitepaper into an interactive version by adding videos, embedded files, and images right in the text. It’s free to use.
RooJoom: This customer journey platform lets you take your existing content and convert it to something interactive. You can include everything from PDFs, images, and video, and make more engaging. Site visitors can make their own content, too. Pricing information is not publicly available, but those who are interested can request a demo.
ThingLink: This is a platform for annotating images and video to make them interactive. There is a free plan, though premium plans start at $20/month, billed annually. Paid plans come with a 14-day free trial and analytics information so you can see what your audience is paying attention to the most.
Mapme: This is a story map tool that allows you to create an interactive journey for your customers. The free plan allows for a single watermarked story map with up to five locations. Paid plans start at $19/month billed annually, with special discounted plans for educational institutions.
PlayBuzz: This platform allows you to create quizzes, stories, trivia, polls, and more. You can then embed the content on your website and see analytics information. Pricing information is not publicly available.
Votion: This platform allows you to create polls, brackets, this vs. that matchups, quizzes and assessments, interactive lists, and even fantasy sports games. Pricing depends on the product you choose to build, but begins at just $9/month.
ContentTools: This is a platform that helps with the creation of various types of interactive content such as quizzes and calculators. Pricing information is not publicly available.
Brackify: This tool allows you to create customized, interactive voting brackets to add pizzazz to your content. The free plan allows you to embed the bracket on your website and get analytics information, but does not allow you to control advertising or branding, and doesn’t allow for user email capture. Pay a one-time fee of $1,500 per bracket to customize your ads, share destinations. Custom pricing is required for your branding and email capture.
Adjusting Your Strategy
Because interactive content sometimes requires more resources to develop, it’s important to work it into your strategy gradually. While interactive content should become part of your content marketing strategy, it doesn’t have to be all of it. You can still rely on traditional forms of content to fill in the gaps. Take a look at your current editorial calendar and determine if there’s anything that could be converted to an interactive format. If not, is there anything that could benefit from an interactive companion piece? This way you can start adding interactive content into your plan without completely disrupting your current workflow.
What are you favorite types of interactive content as a consumer? Which types are you planning on using in your business? Tell me in the comments below.