“Are you not entertained?” – Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator
Russell Crowe said it best in Gladiator after putting on a spectacular show for a roaring crowd. As marketers, we too want our content to be that amazing gladiator that captivates fans and followers.
But it’s not always easy, is it?
When we hear big ideas, like producing a virtual reality video for one of our campaigns, we oftentimes default to our excuses.
We don’t have the bandwidth or resources (the number one reason according to research by Content Marketing Institute).
It’s too expensive.
Our brand isn’t “fun” enough to pull that off.
Enough naysaying. It’s time to think big without feeling guilty. If anything, we should be worrying about what happens if we don’t start providing more interactive content experiences for an audience that demands them.
Why You Should Use Interactive Content
Despite its buzzword-heavy title, The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute revealed that 46% of marketers are using interactive content — and only 1% of respondents say that interactive content is not at all effective.
One. Measly. Percent.
In the same report, 77% of marketers agree that interactive content can have reusable value. Imagine investing in interactive content and finding ways to reuse it without breaking the bank. Win-win.
Finally, 87% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content. That makes sense, given that interactive content is asking the audience to do something—click, tap, swipe, type, etc.
A Few Interactive Content Ideas and Their Value
Next time you're looking for content ideas, consider some of these easy additions to your content calendar.
Repurpose existing content.
To do this right, you should first take a look at existing content that’s performing well (e.g., your top 5 blog posts, most downloaded e-books, most “liked” social post). From there, think about how to make a piece of interactive content out of it.
For e-books and infographics, make them clickable.
For existing videos on YouTube, encourage audience participation by adding clickable features, such as cards or end screens (among other possibilities). Alternatively, consider how you might "cut" key scenes from videos and repurpose them as images with captions within an Instagram "grid" or carousel.
Why this is valuable: You save time, budget and resources by piggybacking off of the popularity of existing content. You can also track engagement on both of the above examples (especially if you hard code your clickable e-books and infographics).
Add a quiz.
Add a quiz to your emails, websites or e-books; you can also use short quizzes to enhance future customer service interactions. Quizzes are a great way to learn more about your audience or your email subscribers. The best part is that these can be very short—two to three relevant, quick questions can provide the information you need to deliver better content to your audience.
Why this is valuable: It’s one way to use progressive profiling to learn more about your audience, so you can personalize future communications when possible.
Take a poll.
Twitter and Facebook have had polling options for a while now, but Instagram is newer to the game (at the time of writing this post). By adding a poll to your Instagram story, you can quickly and easily get feedback from your audience.
Here’s a brief lesson on how it’s done:
Why this is valuable: It’s easy to do, and it allows you to collect information about the people who engage with you on social media, which can inform future (content) marketing decisions. Note: When possible, aim for using these polls to collect relevant data that you can use again, but be careful of using this—or any feature—too often. Recycling the same tactics can get stale quickly.
Create a calculator.
We hear “calculator,” and we might immediately think: Oh no. Complicated algorithms. Tons of code.
But that’s not always the case. A calculator can take a simple piece of data in and spit another tidbit out. We're thinking about the straightforward "2+2" calculator here, not the type of computation you might see on a chalkboard in Good Will Hunting.
Take the Social Security Administration’s Life Expectancy Calculator. It’s a bit morbid, sure, but it’s also simple. It doesn’t take into account “a wide number of factors such as current health, lifestyle, and family history that could increase or decrease life expectancy,” according to the website. Instead, based on ONLY your sex and birth date, the calculator finds your proposed date of demise by cross-referencing your info with existing (average) data. It’s nothing special; however, it gives people a way to interact with their website on a deeper level.
Curious how prevalent calculators are? Type in “retirement amount needed” in Google, and you’ll see multiple calculators pop up. Financial services and SaaS companies use calculators all the time for middle- or bottom-of-funnel content when customers are just about ready to make an investment.
Why this is valuable: According to SnapApp, "Calculators are a simple way for users to quantify impact without direct interaction with a person." These interactive tools provide an easy way to engage with users, and call them to action to move further down the funnel—perhaps by contacting you or researching more on your website.
We need to change the way we think about interactive content. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It just has to be useful for our target audiences.
Hungry for more? Read about other interactive content ideas.