The ‘c’ word – it’s everywhere these days, isn’t it?
This is great if you’re a content writer. But, it’s a little more troubling if you have zero idea what it is yet have been told that your business needs it “to survive in the digital age”.
Content is words, video, audio, moving images, soundbites, snapshots, infographics, online games and much, much more. But how does it translate into cold, hard leads?
After all, content is a form of marketing and marketing should result in a healthy, predictable stream of new sales opportunities. Otherwise, it is, unfortunately, and rather pointless.
And, before you say “but what about personal brand building?”, that too should, eventually, result in more sales for your business.
Today, I’d like to focus on a type of content which I think is growing in prominence. It’s also becoming far more accessible for businesses of all sizes. And, I’m a big fan of commoditised marketing.
I’m of course, referring to interactive content, and you’re about to find out why it could be one of the best drivers of new leads for your business.
What is interactive content?
You’re currently reading a form of content where the only participation you have available is to read my thoughts. That’s cool (and I appreciate you getting this far), but what would I do if I wanted you to raise your level of engagement?
I’d instead create interactive content. This is content which tempts people to actively engage with it. It could be a game, graphic, puzzle or quiz, but whatever it is, the reward for engaging would be results or feedback you care about.
Why does interactive content work?
Interactive content should be thought of as a conversation between the creator and its audience. Although, rather than conversing verbally, there’s some form of dynamic interactivity on a web page.
It’s persuasive, because humans don’t usually need much encouragement to test something out, compete, share an opinion or compare. Moreover, we like to have fun. And, the best interactive content is designed with that in mind.
It also enables the user to forge their own path on a website and therefore customise their journey. Thus, giving control of the journey to the user is a brilliant way to increase the chances of a conversion or successful interaction with a lead magnet.
Key benefits of using interactive content
So, why should you bother investing time and resource into interactive content?
There’s lots of benefits, but here’s my favourites which I think most businesses will experience:
- Much higher engagement. Even a poorly-produced piece of interactive content stands a better chance of being engaged with than conventional content, simply because it offers the user something tangible to do. Imply user action, and they almost certainly will.
- Puts you ahead of the competition. This benefit will become harder to capitalise on as interactive content becomes more commonplace, but if you jump on it now, you’ll almost certainly steal a march on the competition who probably aren’t producing content of this kind. Yet.
- The opportunity to catch richer data. Grabbing data from prospective customers isn’t easy (for good reason), but interactive content gives you the opportunity to capture far more than just their name and email address. A quiz, for example, can record invaluable insight about their thoughts, beliefs and pain points.
Interactive content also has the ability to encourage more brand advocacy. If it’s regularly produced, of good quality and genuinely enjoyable to use, people will associate those interactive content pieces with your brand, and it’ll be a positive association, to boot.
Ideas for interactive content
So, you want to dip your toes into the interactive content universe. Cool. But, remember what I said from the outset: the idea here is to gain more leads for your business.
There are lots of forms of interactive content that will help you draw in leads, but I’ve picked out five which I think are within reach for businesses who won’t have set aside funds or resources for interactive content production.
Neil Patel has, for a very long time, told us all about the power of infographics, but in 2019 they really are ten a penny. With such high competition, you need to get far more creative with your infographics.
It doesn’t have to be ridiculously over the top, either. Check out Goldman Sachs’ Millennials Coming Of Age infographic which is simply animated. You can’t help but read through it, can you?
Email is a direct, one-to-one conversation. And that defined endpoint (the recipient’s inbox) gives us a single pair of eyes to engage.
That’s powerful stuff, but as much as regular email marketing still has a place, interactive email is starting to make itself known.
I can guarantee you’ll have received an email or two recently with an embedded video, GIF or graph that demands your attention. You may also have received email that’s more akin to a mini website with headers, footers, multiple links, menus – the lot.
It’s time to think beyond regular text and imagery for your email marketing.
People in marketing circles often joke that eBooks are brilliant lead magnets but are never, ever read. By anyone.
They’ve got a point, but that doesn’t mean their format should be left to fester. And this is why interactive eBooks and white papers are beginning to appear on campaign landing pages across the web.
Interactive eBooks usually dispense with PDF form and instead become web-based slideshows that feature animations, quizzes and numerous other ways in which the reader can interact with the content.
Want to offer a form of eLearning to your website visitors or existing customers? An interactive quiz is the way to go. Moreover, it’s one of the most engaging forms of content you can create.
They can also be used to narrow down the correct version or style of a product for a prospective customer, based on their preferences.
Thankfully, there’s a tonne of online resources to help you create quizzes of this kind, so all you need is an idea and a bit of time to get going.
It isn’t complicated.
The key is to focus on a quiz for something that people will feel compelled to get involved in. The Great American Read quiz is a fantastic example of this, and successfully uncovered the nation’s most-loved novels while effortlessly promoting its own brand.
An assessment is sometimes known in marketing circles as a personality test, but at its heart, it’s simply a way to ask questions and receive insight based on the user.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) does this to great effect with their Interactive Content Marketing Assessment. It’s stupidly easy to complete, but provides real, actionable advice on your content strategy at the end. And, for CMI, no doubt a wealth of insight into the thoughts and strategies of marketers across the globe – genius!
Interactive content isn’t going anywhere. Moreover, the tools are becoming more readily available for us all.
So, have I tempted you to have a go at interactive content? It could be the best thing you do for your marketing strategy this year.