Interactive content is ________ :
B. More engaging than static content
C. A great way to collect customer info
E. All of the above
The correct answer is E. All of the above.
These days, everyone is putting out content (even if it isn’t quality content). But few businesses are producing good interactive content — quizzes, polls, calculators, tools, games, 360 videos, animations, ebooks, etc. And that means interactive content can be a differentiator.
It’s also more engaging. When a customer interacts with your content, they’re more likely to remember it and pass it along to a friend. Plus, customers are more likely to divulge personal information like an email address or demographics to get access to interactive content as compared with static content.
Of course, some types of interactive content can be expensive — much more costly to produce than static content. But don’t let that scare you away. There are plenty of ways to make your content — even content you already have — more interactive for little to no cost. Here are a few ideas.
In 2019, we created a blog post on creative types. We described the creative archetypes in our world and included some advice on how to work more effectively with them.
This was a fun and useful post that our audience could learn from — maybe even laugh at. Then we came up with the idea of creating a companion quiz for readers to determine which creative type they are. We eventually bundled these two posts and added some content to create our Cultivating Creativity download. It was a natural progression with minimal additional cost.
Anytime you can help someone make their job/chores/life easier, they will appreciate you for it. And it can be as simple as prompting them on how to help themselves.
For example, I spoke about content marketing at a conference several years back. I could have just gone with my PowerPoint or passed out copies of my presentation, but I didn’t want the audience to just … sit there. I wanted them to interact and explore their content marketing needs. I wanted them to walk away with something useful. I wanted them to leave the session with some ideas. So I created a short content marketing workbook to help them define their content strategy and figure out what their objectives should be. Again, it was simple — and cheap — to produce, and seeing my audience members’ wheels a-turning during the session made it worth it.
On my personal blog, I write about food and cooking with kids. For the past few years, I’ve produced a holiday food guide, complete with links to reliable recipes, tips for involving kids in the kitchen and basically everything I’ve learned about hosting Thanksgiving. But the most useful part of the guide is a simple Google spreadsheet that I personally use every year. I built it to help me figure out how much food I need for the big day. You just input the number of adults and children who will be attending, and it’ll tell you exactly how much to prepare. My readers love it, and it cost me exactly $0 (just a little spreadsheet know-how!) to create.
Sure, these take some programming, but if you keep it relatively simple, a calculator shouldn’t be terribly expensive to produce. Think the ubiquitous BMI, rent-or-buy, mortgage payment calculators and others. One that I use over and over determines run times for my personal podcast. I just enter my word count or paste my script into the form, and it estimates how long the audio will be. It’s a lifesaver, and I’ll always keep them in mind if I need their services in the future.
The bulk of our target audience at AVC is people who write, so much of our content centers around how to be a better writer. Spoiler: One way to be a better writer is to practice!
So we created a series of writing prompts to inspire our audience to write more often. We publish them on our website and on our social channels. We, of course, hope at least some of our readers complete the exercise and it helps them hone their skills, but we write the prompts in such a way that there’s a takeaway even if they don’t do the actual exercise. Win-win!
Social Media Groups
Like many others, I canceled my gym membership in 2020 in favor of a virtual exercise program. The one I still use is Les Mills. I enjoy the workout videos, yes, but Les Mills engages me in other ways as well. For example, they have goals-based workout plans that include challenge calendars outlining exactly which workout to do each day. I can check these off as I do them and make notes and then interact on a Facebook group with other people participating in the same challenge. It’s kept me coming back even though I got my COVID-19 vaccine months ago and could very well go back to the gym.
Slow and Steady
Remember, you don’t need to suddenly start creating expensive virtual reality content or immersive experiences to engage your customers. Start slow and think about how you can make your existing content interactive for little to no cost. Next year, be sure to include interactive content ideas on your content calendar — and in your budget.