Content marketing is an evolving organism that changes alongside technology and consumer preferences. If your current content strategy looks identical to the one you were using seven years ago, you’re hardly relevant. Short blog posts and keyword-stuffed website copy no longer cuts it.
In order to be successful, you need a modern approach that accounts for multiple content formats–including interactive content.
The Missing Ingredient: Interactive Content
Quick! What’s the purpose of each and every marketing decision you make? The answer should be to spur action. And while you can spur action with a blog entry, traditional advertisement, or social media post, there’s a limited amount of action that can be produced with each of these mediums. What you really need is interactive content.
“Marketers succeed when their audience not only consumes content, but also enjoys and acts upon it,” explains Barry Feldman, a content marketing strategist. “Understanding this principle, more and more content marketers are stepping up their static content to create content customers can interact with.
So, what exactly is interactive content? Well, by nature, interactive content is designed to engage participants in an activity. This is typically done by giving the participant an opportunity to answer questions, make choices, manipulate an outcome, or explore scenarios.
“It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start,” says Scott Brinker, author, CTO, and speaker. “Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.”
Four Types of Interactive Content
So, what does interactive content look like in practice? Well, there’s a lot of flexibility and plenty of room for customization. Let’s take a look at some popular formats to give you an idea of how interactive content fits into the larger content marketing picture.
1. Cost Calculators
One of the most popular forms of interactive content is the cost or service calculator. These are content elements that allow customers and users to calculate what it would cost them to make a certain purchase or subscribe to a particular service.
A good example is a fuel cost calculator from Bayswater Car Rental. The calculator lets customers plug in their route itinerary–starting point, stopping points, and final destination–choose the car they’re using, set the applicable gas price, and receive an estimate for how much it will cost to make the trip. The second part of the tool then allows customers to reserve a vehicle.
Cost calculators have a number of different uses, but this is by far one of the top examples. Whether you’re a marketing agency that sells monthly services or a body shop that scales prices according to the model of a car, a cost calculator can help you generate more leads.
2. Quizzes and Polls
Another popular format consists of interactive quizzes and polls. Thanks to social media and audiences that enjoy sharing opinions, these types of content have quickly grown in popularity.
Perhaps the most popular type is the self-assessment. One good example is the “Which ‘Star Wars’ Character Are You?” quiz that lets people answer fun questions and share their results with friends. Businesses can also use quizzes to compile relevant information about customers. They typically come in the form of polls and surveys.
3. Interactive Infographics
Over the past few months, infographics have evolved from traditional images to interactive features that can be tweaked and manipulated by users for different results. The beauty of these infographics is that they are highly conducive to sharing and are seen as unique and wholly immersive by the end user.
One good example of an interactive infographic is “Package Returns” by Endicia. It’s actually a combination of an infographic and quiz, but provides some insight into how effective and engaging interactive infographics can be.
With so many millennial customers used to playing video games, PC games, and app-based games, it makes sense that content marketers would seek ways to leverage this affinity for playing.
An example of how games can be used in content marketing is found in this Siemens game called Power Matrix. The game asks users to build power plants using wind, solar, and hydropower to learn more about the role clean energy plays in society.
Games like these are typically used to engage users and increase the average time spent on a site. The thought process is that the more time a user spends with content, the more likely they are to convert.
Modernize Your Content Marketing Approach
While every business has a right to pursue different marketing approaches that target specific demographics, the reality is that far too many businesses are using archaic methods that no longer provide any value.
If you want to be relevant in today’s marketing environment, then you need to modernize your approach. This means making interactive content an important part of your content marketing strategy.