The Better Way To Engage Your Audience – Interactive Content

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JANUARY 2017

How long can you keep someone’s attention glued to what you are saying or presenting? If you’re face to face with an old friend and you start updating him about your life, do you think he’s still interested after talking about ten years ago? What about five years ago? My point is, an average person’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter. This is a great dilemma for content marketers as they will face this year with millennials, Gen X-ers, and baby-boomers who have decreasing attention spans, who are bombarded with a plethora of content coming in from all sides, who enjoy new technologies and gadgets they are obsessed with and many other 21st century innovations to divide their attention. Strategies of last year must be rehashed and updated because content 2017 should be armed with an attraction or pull so much greater than gravity.

But you’re already armed to the teeth with great quality and stunningly beautiful content. What else could you possibly do? Enter Interactive Content! This was proven last year as being one strong “force” that engaged audiences throughout the web.

This magical ingredient gave readers a chance to interact with the content and data that’s being presented to them and it kept them entertained. I believe that’s what interactive content’s purpose is to begin with – to entertain audiences and keep them glued.

Ways to engage your users through interactive elements

So marketers must have better engagement strategies in doing content 2017. A very comprehensive guide to better engagement is Ion Interactive’s article about producing engaging interactive content. In one chapter, it recommends going interactive through certain tactics. Some of which are the following:

  • Interactive Infographics and Statistics – Infographics was a big hit more than 2 years ago. People were visually pleased with a new form of data presentation. Combine that with an even newer discovery in the word interactive and you have audiences discovering more data on their own. The use of interesting pictures, graphs and stats will entice audiences to share what they’ve just discovered. If you can’t keep your audience engaged through the usual marketing strategies, you should consider using better quality visuals. Users are used to reading data in a really boring and sometimes confusing way. But give it that magical interactive touch, and your audiences can chew the data easily. They can see the trends and patterns of your data in a more comprehensible and pleasant way. By using interactive data visualization, users can choose which data they want to see or which path a certain trend is headed.
  • Assessments, Calculators, Polls and Quizzes – We first saw these self-assessment types of content in Facebook and it became an instant hit. Humorous quizzes engaged audiences, thanks to Buzzfeed. Calculators became engaging because it gave users (like potential car buyers) a clearer view of the amounts involved even before purchase. Polls create a dialogue with your audience and it’ll give them a chance to express their opinions, ideas and suggestions. In effect, you are collecting information that could help improve your brand.
  • Interactive EBooks – What better way to improve a great eBook than by the introduction of interactive content in it. The images can be manipulated to suit the readers’ preferences, music can be added, animated pictures and gifs can be seen, you get the idea? There’s an endless amount of interactive content that can engage your eBook reader.
  • Interactive Whitepapers – We all know how authoritative whitepapers can be. And with interactive elements in it, it now becomes engaging. It makes the user an active “student” in the whitepaper’s lesson. Whitepapers give a ton of valuable information in long-form which a user does a considerable amount of reading. But with the new elements, he gets results beyond what he predicted. It may be an embedded question or quiz which at the end, gives the reader a satisfying desire to test their skills and knowledge, compare results with peers or even share their opinions. Bottom line is, interactive whitepapers no longer is just a monologue of great information with text being simply displayed. Rather, it becomes a dialogue between reader and the whole whitepaper content – text and elements in all.
  • Interactive Videos – Let’s face it, video keeps you on a website longer than you’d normally stay. And I’ll bet, you remember the video more than the written content on that website. That’s because video is one of the most effective tools for brand awareness today. One problem with video is that it’s a bit expensive to create. And so we introduce interactive video – a content marketer’s timely savior. This type of video lets users change the way the video is shown. Users can click, swipe and even be in the video.Remember Pharrell’s “24 Hours of Happy”? It was the first of its kind using interactive video. Users were given a chance to watch at the exact point in time of what Pharrell was doing as their computer’s time. They could also watch Pharrell in real time or fast forward to another time. The best part was, users could share their favorite parts of that 24 hour video. That was pretty cool to me!
  • Interactive Lookbook – The hard-copy catalogue that is now called a lookbook has been used for a long time now especially in the fashion industry. These are a series of photographs in full color highlighting models in designer clothes or trending styles. In today’s retailing world, there is a growing number of online shopping sites and retailers are scrambling for more innovative ways of displaying their products and offerings. With the interactive lookbook, a retailer allows consumers to get a picture of what’s fashionable now or this season. They can view different styles to match their preferences then see the final product. With an online lookbook, users get updated with what new fashion style or trending apparel is on or is going to come out.

The need for more engaging content

Clearly we see now why there is a greater need to engage our audiences with new, entertaining and satisfying content. It is because of the arithmetically decreasing attention span of today’s users vs. the exponentially growing competition to capture audiences’ attention. I dare claim that for now, interactive content in the end will save the day and that content 2017 will not crash and burn. So cheer up, marketers! There’s hope yet!

 

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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