Our ideas about content are still limited to things that are passively consumed by the audience. Stop limiting what your content can do. Go interactive.

Take Your Content Marketing to the Next Level With Interactive Content

Wed Jan 21, 2015

We all know that content marketing is hot these days. But what do we mean by content?

Most of what we think of as content includes things like web pages, blog posts, infographics, ebooks, reports, buyer's guides, white papers, webinars, explainer videos, podcasts, etc. When we talk about producing more content, these are usually the assets we have in mind.

All of those different kinds of content have one characteristic in common: they're passively consumed by our audience. Our prospects and customers read, watch, or listen to them. They might be invited to add a comment or share on a social network, but that's typically the limit of their interactivity.

However, that's not the only kind of content that's possible. Increasingly, we're seeing more "interactive content" on the web. Interactive content includes things such as quizzes, configurators, calculators, assessment tools, games, and more. With interactive content, visitors directly participate in an activity.

The purpose of such interactive content is usually the same as passive content: to catch the attention of our target audience, to teach them something of value, to establish our brand as a reliable source of such value, and to generate and nurture leads through the buyer's journey. Interactive content simply gives us a larger toolbox of ways to accomplish those objectives.

For instance, because there is such a flood of passive content on the web today, it can be difficult to break through the noise. It's challenging to produce infographics or ebooks that rise above the cacophony. Interactive content helps at the very top of the funnel by let us produce "catchy" assets that are a little different and a little more fun.

When it comes to educating our audience, we also know from decades of educational research that merely giving people lectures and reading assignments—i.e., webinars and white papers—isn't as effective as supplementing them with experiential learning opportunities. A little quiz or a game can actually help people comprehend and recall concepts better.

Finally, interactive content by its very nature is a magnet for collecting useful prospect data. For most gated content, such as ebooks or buyer's guides, all we really learn about a prospect is the information that they're willing to fill out in a form to access it—which isn't much. We know they were interested in the material.

But with interactive content, we can gain much greater insight from the choices and input they provide while participating. For instance, with a calculator, you learn which scenarios they calculated. With a configurator, you learn what options they were interested in. With an assessment tool, you learn the maturity level of their organization along a set of capabilities. All of this information can be extremely useful in following up with more targeted nurturing campaigns and better aligned sales enablement.

As you think about your content marketing programs for 2015, it's worth brainstorming how you can expand it to include interactive content too. Make sense? (And, yes, there will be a quiz on this material.)

 

Scott Brinker
Scott Brinker
CTO and Founder | Ion Interactive

Scott Brinker is the co-founder and CTO of ion interactive and the author of the chiefmartec.com blog.