Led Zeppelin was ahead of its time in a lot of ways.
When they released their iconic concert film and soundtrack The Song Remains the Same in 1976, they probably just thought they came up with a clever, quasi-abstract title. Certainly, they had no aspirations that it might be a quasi-applicable marketing analogy one day.
Well, here we are in 2022, a year in which that London foursome probably figured flying cars and X-ray vision would be the norm. If today’s marketing landscape (compared to that of ’76) was a song, it clearly hasn’t remained the same – but the value of good content has.
Modern technologies might wow us with their power and accuracy, but we’re also reminded that certain foundational pillars are unchanging and as important as ever. This includes the need for good content. While we acknowledge that fact, it’s important to realize the way companies are using content is evolving.
Today, we’re seeing how interactive content brings unique advantages to businesses.
Interactive Content: The What and Why?
Interactive content is a strategy that provides an audience with something they find relevant and can actively engage with.
The key word is actively, as this type of content encourages active participation from the user. This is important for several reasons. First, when the user has opportunities to interact with the content, it enhances the interest they’ve already shown. This is a paradigm shift from users in a passive audience, such as those hearing a radio ad, where they aren’t necessarily looking for your product or service and don’t have a chance to engage with it.
“One of the biggest rules of content writing is avoiding passive voice – and the same should be said about the content experience,” said Content Marketing Manager at DeanHouston+ Jesse Severson.
“It’s always better to have an active user experience. By allowing the user to participate, you’re getting them to stop scrolling and dive into your content. And, in 2022, getting someone to stop scrolling is the first and hardest battle.”
The second reason that this strategy is meaningful to audiences is because it makes them feel directly connected to your brand, which improves customer loyalty and retention.
Thirdly, visitors who interact with your content reveal a huge benefit for your business, and one of the main reasons to create interactive content in the first place – data collection.
In order to interact with the piece, consumers often must supply certain information on their preferences, interests, and other demographic insights. This allows you to collect that critical data from those experiencing your content, and tailor future marketing initiatives accordingly.
Practical Interactive Uses
Perhaps you’re thinking “OK, that sounds cool but how do you actually use this kind of content?”
There are a lot of tools, apps, and add-ons to your website or social media that can be called upon for this purpose, which creates opportunities to get your whole team collaborating to deliver an immersive content experience. Here are some popular formats to consider:
Whitepapers, e-books and case studies: Long-form pieces like these are ideal to educate and inform your audience. (Side note: they also make for great gated content.) But you might consider adding a little flare with a version that users can navigate through beyond just scrolling. Maybe an enhanced search, or skip-to feature to allow readers a way to access the information they want directly, or even an annotated version that highlights the specific parts you want to emphasize.
Live chats: Sure, chatbots are quite helpful as we recently explained, but hosting special live Q&A segments or chats can enhance the customer service experience and improve engagement.
Interactive infographics, photos and videos: Visual storytelling is powerful and impactful. But what if you spice that up with interactive galleries, 360-degree views of your product, or virtual tours to help your customers visualize and experience aspects of your brand? Or repurposing past content like blogs or videos into a useful infographic that captures customer data?
Surveys, trivia or polls: These are simple, fun and engaging ways to get your audience participating. Best of all, they don’t necessarily have to be about your business. Just hosting incentivized surveys for fun can drive engagement and give you access to key first-party data (check out this example).
Games or quizzes: Many B2C retailers utilize this interactive tactic as part of a sale event or special promotion, but B2B companies can deploy this too. This can be in the form of the popular spin-the-wheel feature to determine a discount, or quizzes about the company/product/service for giveaways or other customer incentives.
“At DeanHouston+, our best interactive content has been a direct result of cross-department collaboration,” Severson said.
“There is tremendous value getting writers, designers, demand generation, web development and account experts in the same room to come up with ideas. Each brings a different perspective on things and the collective brainstorming can turn into something truly special.”
Allowing audience interaction can be an impactful part of any modern strategy, and it does more than encourage engagement – it proves the value and importance of quality content, in any form. Some songs do remain the same after all.
For help developing your interactive content strategy, give us a shout!