Interactive Content: Let’s Get Engaged

interactive content

When you think interactive content, think Alexander Graham Bell, whose life-changing invention – the telephone – revolutionised communication. Suddenly, talking became a two-way street.

A century and a half after Bell demonstrated that dialogue is much more effective than monologue, internet marketers are getting consumers to ‘talk back’, just as the telephone did.

Now rewrite your book on content

Think ‘BuzzFeed’, whose online quizzes are very addictive. The site uses a very simple yet effective formula: Amazing Content + Call to Action = Massive Subscription. The watchword here is ‘call to action’.

Today, being social is no longer about offering great content; it’s about ‘engaging’ with customers and fans, asking questions, and responding. It’s about getting consumers to participate, rather than just reading a bunch of carefully crafted words.

So what does interactive content consist of?

Brands are no more ‘Like’-baiting, and screaming ‘buy’. Because they know they come off as desperate, and social media sites like Facebook bury posts like these.

Remember the phenomenally successful Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014? ALS Foundation did a great job by encouraging people to do something fun and record it on social media. The campaign raised more than $100m in just 30-days!

Quizzes, self-assessments, polls, surveys, calculators, contests, galleries, and info-graphics are different versions of interactive content. And it is proved that at a critical buying stage, ROI calculators, galleries, product pickers and surveys help decision-making.

For instance, quizzes tell you what consumers know and don’t know. In surveys, for example, include a question, ‘What type of vacation do you want?’ Listen carefully to consumer responses and keep your finger on their pulse.

Why does interactive content work?

“Never trust the storyteller. Only trust the story.”

Today’s smart consumers know this, and brands do too! With interactive content, instead of telling the customer who you are, you invite them to tell you who they are or to do something.

Stand out from the crowd: 8 seconds is all you’ve got to hook potential consumers. Yes, just 8 seconds. That’s how narrow the attention span of the average consumer is. With so much digital noise out there, it’s harder than ever for brands to engage people with static content, no matter how interesting it is.

Action measures it: The real measure of any marketing plan’s success is the action it generates. Marketers often measure more actions and meaningful ones than shares, clicks, and views. They succeed when the audience doesn’t just consume content, but enjoys acting upon it.

Get valid data: What do you do if you were asked to write your feedback about a product or an event? You might scribble something and leave. In fact, very few buyers provide detailed contact information. As prospects become less willing to share their contact information, marketers need new ways to glean it. Interactive content is an excellent way.

Cheap to set up: One of the coolest things about interactive content is that it allows you to re-energize your favorite content. You can spin that old white paper into a brand new experience. Or try extending versions of traditional, long-form content, such as interactive white papers, interactive info-graphics and videos.

Watch and listen: Marketing gaffes of top brands are well known stories. Amazon’s Prime Day became an “epic fail”. They didn’t know their customer’s pulse. The QR code on Heinz ketchup bottle redirected to a porn site. They didn’t listen to customers’ reaction. But Lenovo, for example, listens to its customers on social media and stays on top of trends like color preferences for laptops. Interactive content reflects how a brand not only watches and listens to what users want and say, but also whose saying it. Pay close attention.

But does all interactive content just work?

Not really. And we’ll tell you why.

Use credible sources: At a survey on Apple Watch a year after its launch, half of those surveyed expressed it’s a dud. But, was it really? It was result of the participated group’s impression.

Take a close look at whom you are engaging with. For instance, one bad experience with a brand’s customer service or product can make it or break it in today’s MouthShut, Twitter-fed culture. Remember, criticism is not always objective.

Wrong question: “Where do you enjoy drinking beer”? If your survey carries this question, the respondent may be reluctant to answer, if he feels he is announcing that he drinks.

Starbuck’s short-lived campaign  engaged customers in discussions about race relations with baristas. The move earned Starbucks  some ridicule and brickbats. The company dropped the campaign after six days.

No brand personality: Harley-Davidson fans are very loyal. We know this. But when the company started to make aftershave and perfume, the fans were not impressed. Maybe people just weren’t too keen on the idea of smelling like a motorcycle. A survey could’ve helped? Perhaps. But, it was long before they realize the need of interactive content.

Now that you’ve got a handle on this new-age – and totally effective – Internet marketing tool, we have to ask: Are you ready to get engaged?

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