Content marketing has always been personalized and dynamic. In a world of static, unchanging websites, it stood out by offering new, regularly-updated, audience-targeted content. It was a step above the landscape in terms of interactivity, and it worked. Heck, it still works – but as more and more brands take that step up, it becomes harder to stand out by doing the same old thing.
Web technology has advanced rapidly since the advent of content marketing. The kinds of content you can produce, and the potential reach of that content, has grown by leaps and bounds. Regularly-updated static articles are no longer the state of the art – interactive, personalized, dynamic tools are. Users expect a dialogue, not a monologue – a constant stream of articles now seems static and inert where it once felt dynamic and lively. The content arms race has advanced.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
‘Interactivity’ and ‘personalization’ are great words to say, but what are we really talking about?
We’re talking about rich online experiences tailored to individual users. Experiences they help build, that relate to them more than a static experience ever could. Think interactive video, where a user’s choices create a video just for them. Think of polls and quizzes that output information tailored just to the person that fills it out. Think of calculators that let users experiment and discover for themselves, instead of just being told. Think of infographics that come to life and highlight the information a user is particularly interested in.
That’s what we’re talking about – and WHY we’re talking about it is because it stands out. Articles are good and informative, but how many of them do you read in a day? How many of them stick in your mind? How many of them are relevant or exciting enough to share? The content arms race has progressed to the point where something more is needed to get attention.
WHY ALL THE FUSS?
Naturally, it’s a much bigger undertaking to craft an interactive, personalized experience than it is to write an article or fire off a few tweets. What are the benefits of this sort of interactivity?
Passively reading content can’t hold a candle to actively co-creating it. Having something to play with is much more fun than something you can only look at – and content doesn’t need to be fully gamified to be fun.
An interactive tool is much more shareable than a static article. If an article is relevant to someone, and they think it will be relevant to their friends and family, they’ll share it – but predicting that relevance is difficult. It’s much easier to give users the tools to discover relevant information for themselves.
Interactive content is much more effective at educating users than static content. In a recent study of content effectiveness at educating users, static content was deemed “somewhat effective” by 64% and “very effective” by 6%. Interactive content was found “somewhat effective” by 48% - but “very effective” by 45%. Interaction wakes people up and gives them the tools they need to learn for themselves.
personalized content lets users create an experience closer to what they want – because they know best. This sort of interactivity is better than a traditional “one-size-fits-all,” unilateral approach to marketing – it’s an “all-sizes-fit-all” approach.
More points of interaction means more trackable spots. Measuring quiz outcomes or calculator results or custom video playcounts are all impossible with a simple article. If you’re looking to learn more about your market, interactive content is a great way to let them tell you.
Yes, those elusive millennials prefer to actively create than passively consume. They also prefer to do their own research and see for themselves, rather than asking an advisor. They’re also the most active social media users, and the biggest sharers. Wouldn’t it make sense to give them more interactive, more educational, more shareable content? If they don’t get it from you, they’ll get it from someone else.
Interactive content is the next leap forward in the evolution of digital marketing. It takes full advantage of the opportunities provided by the online experience. Passively-read content still has a place, and always will – but the state of the art has progressed beyond it, and the tastes of the audience have refined.