Do you feel like your content is getting stale? Tired of writing the same old bland blog posts that never get read or shared? You may need to give your content marketing a face-lift and interactive content could be the answer.
Interactive Content: A Must-Have
Content marketing has undergone a pretty clear progression. At first, there was pure text-based web content. Then, there was rich media content. Personalization followed as the third predominant trend. Now, we’re experiencing what Scott Brinker of Ion Interactive calls the “fourth wave” of content marketing.
“The short version: as part of marketing’s evolution from communications to experiences, marketing will increasingly be about building ‘apps’ — lightweight, interactive web and mobile touchpoints that have functionality, logic, and flow,” Brinker explained back in 2014. “Instead of flooding audiences with more and more static content to be passively consumed, we will provide them with “microservices” that help them acquire the information they want in more effective and engaging ways. Think microservices instead of microsites.”
Don’t let the term “apps” confuse you. Brinker is simply using this title to describe interactive content formats that serve functional purposes. The point is that interactive content is the way of the future and you have to be prepared.
Interactive content can take on a number of formats. One of the more popular formats is the cost calculator. These auto loan calculators are good examples. Quizzes, commonly used by BuzzFeed, are another type of interactive content. There are also games, diagnostic tools, workbooks, learning exercises, interactive infographics, and more.
Interactive content is clearly interesting and compelling, but do you really need it? Why does Brinker call it the “fourth wave” – and will it live up to the hype? You’ll be hard-pressed to find any reputable marketer who isn’t excited about the potential in this area.
Here are a few specific reasons why more and more marketers are turning to interactive content:
1. Higher Engagement
It’s hard to beat the engagement that comes with interactive content. Whereas a traditional piece of content – such as a blog post – is delivered in a one-way format, interactive content is like a two-way conversation. The user is involved in the process and isn’t just a passive consumer. There’s something to be said for bringing people in and involving them in the experience. It provides lasting value.
Gamification is a big buzzword right now and for a good reason. People respond to stimuli better when they know there’s some sort of reward at the end of the tunnel. Even if that reward is nothing more than a simple congratulatory statement, it’s enough to motivate and move people to action. Gamification and engagement go hand in hand. When you gamify your content, you’re increasing engagement and developing a better user experience.
The internet is oversaturated with blog posts, listicles, press releases, and repetitive news articles. The wonderful thing about interactive content is that it stands out. In a world of mindless, easily replicated content, interactive formats like cost calculators, games, and quizzes serve as tools for differentiation. They grab the attention of customers, website visitors, and social media followers and command a second look.
4. Better User Insights
Interactive content actually allows you to learn more about your users. Whereas a standard web page only gives you limited information – such as the referral source or the average time a user spends on the page – interactive content can be formatted in such a way that it extracts valuable insights from users. You can see what interests your customers and what their needs truly are. As a result, you’re able to tailor future content to these needs better and receive higher engagement and value from your marketing campaigns.
Modernize Your Content Marketing
If the traditional blog post is still your go-to content format, something needs to change. You need to spice things up and usher in the modern era of content marketing. You have to find a way to engage your audience’s senses beyond basic text and images. Interactive content isn’t the only solution, but it’s definitely one of the best. Start small and track the results.