Ahh, the content explosion—it’s one of our favorite topics to pull apart as we marketers adapt to the fact that our jobs are very different than they were five years ago and are no longer as simple as creating beautiful, engaging content.
The two million blog posts that are published every day mean that it isn’t enough for us to approach our work as engaging and educating buyers anymore. And content for content’s sake? RIP.
The explosion of content means today’s buyers are more discerning about what they will engage with—and that means we content professionals have to step up our game.
Successful content professionals have to go from drawing with a magic marketer to illustrating with a fine tipped pen. What does that Crayola-sponsored metaphor really mean? A thoughtful content strategy, not just a laundry list of infographic and blog post ideas, is critical for success today.
So when content has to work twice as hard to break through the noise—as well as deliver high ROI—how are marketers keeping up?
Many are turning to interactive content to supercharge what they produce. But doing so strategically is critical.
What Is Interactive Content?
Interactive content is content that requires the participants’ active engagement through answering questions, more than simply reading or watching.
Based on that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results and follow-up content they care about.
And here’s the kicker: interactive content drives engagement by creating a value exchange where your audience is willing to provide more information in return for content that’s targeted to them specifically.
Take that, content boom!
How Interactive Supports Your Content Strategy
You likely—hopefully—already have a robust content strategy in place, filled with pillar content, campaign plans, and nurture streams that support the specific pain points of your different buyer personas.
Jumping on the interactive bandwagon doesn’t mean that your strategy will change. Instead, think about interactive content as a new tool in your marketing toolbox that you use to connect with buyers through the strategies and campaigns you have already laid out to support your buyer journey.
Savvy marketers layer interactive content throughout their content strategies with things like “test your knowledge” quizzes to engage prospects at the top of the funnel, interactive case studies in the middle of the funnel, and ROI calculators at the bottom of the funnel.
Each of these content types is supported by static content already present in your strategy, like blog posts, email campaigns, and webinars, that can all have interactive add-ons.
Putting an Interactive Asset to Work Strategically
So you’re ready to weave interactive content into your strategy. Start by exploring how interactive content can work with existing static content at different stages of the funnel by engaging your prospects in dynamic conversations—instead of just delivering information and hoping it’s what they want and need.
Let’s look at two different examples of how you could support your broader content strategy with interactive content at different stages of the funnel.
1. Hyper-Personalized Thought Leadership
By leveraging the opportunity to simply ask your audience what they’re interested in or what their problems are, you can connect this information directly to the content you’ve already created. Using interactive techniques makes your thought leadership content even more effective because you’re able to answer them and provide follow-up content for the specific question your audience has—you’re not just offering broad advice.
Paycor, a leading HR software company, did exactly this in a thought leadership campaign designed to power top of the funnel awareness and drive engagement.
The campaign centered around an HR Center of Excellence they created to support their audience in their professional development by focusing on six key pillars of HR work.
The campaign focused on helping HR professionals improve their skills by starting with an assessment that placed users into one of six stages of development and used existing static content like PDFs and eBooks to offer personalized content that speaks to the specific needs and development necessary for an HR professional in that point of their career.
By combining their static content and interactive assessments in their thought leadership campaign, Paycor was able to set up a hyper-personalized learning experience for their audience that drove significant engagement.
2. Bottom-of-the-Funnel Conversions
Interactive content can also support your content strategy at the bottom of the funnel by helping buyers who have already been nurtured to a stage where they realize they have a problem for which your company has a possible solution.
Product pickers or solution finders are a great example of how interactive content can add real value to your content mix at the bottom of the funnel and work in concert with your existing marketing efforts.
Let’s look at an example from Blackbaud, a nonprofit fundraising software company with two different fundraising solutions.
Instead of taking the traditional content marketing approach of funneling buyers to the more expensive of their fundraising solutions, they realized they needed to put their buyers in the driver’s seat by helping them decide what’s best for them and ultimately opt in to a content experience that will work for their individual needs.
They ultimately created a “Choose Your Solution” campaign centered around an interactive quiz that recommends the right software based on responses to sales-qualifying questions.
Prospects answer questions:
And the quiz recommends a software solution and more information:
By combining their interactive quiz with other parts of their content strategy (like including it as a call to action in static content as with webinar recordings and in email campaigns), Blackbaud saw dynamic conversion results. Their solution finder assessment touched 26 opportunities and 46 deals, resulting in $27K in bookings with a 77% Lead-to-Opportunity rate.
Make Your Content Work Harder for You
A carefully crafted content strategy can drive real results for your marketing team and your bottom line. But in today’s changing digital landscape a content strategy can’t be built solely on tell.
Today’s buyers want to be shown and asked, not told.
By incorporating interactive content into your campaigns and strategy, you can help your buyers navigate the static content you already have more effectively and create valuable content experiences for both you and your audience.