In a 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, ‘producing engaging content’ was the top priority and challenge for both B2B and B2C businesses. Even in 2015, crafting engaging content was listed as the biggest challenge by businesses.
So, why do you think that businesses struggle with crafting compelling content?
They most likely struggle because it’s tough to gain the attention of consumers and to stand out, by publishing an average blog post.
- WordPress alone is seeing 65.4 million new blog posts every month. Unless, you create epic content, it’s impossible to be memorable.
- Most businesses publish run-of-the-mill content. In research on 1 million articles, by BuzzSumo and Moz, 85.5% of the articles were less than 1000 words.
It’s not that shorter content isn’t influential and engaging. But, unless you create a special kind of content (videos/quizzes/interactive infographics), data shows that long-form content gets more shares and links than shorter pieces. Also, research by Chartbeat found that most users don’t read more than 60% of any of article.
In this post, I want to introduce you to a type of content that’s inherently engaging. If you build this kind of content, then you can stand out from the competition automatically. And, promoting the content becomes easier.
You don’t need to label it as a ‘blog post.’
Here’s what I am talking about:
You might have seen BuzzFeed quizzes floating in your social media feeds. They are the simplest form of interactive content and they are loved by users.
As per BuzzSumo, an average quiz gets shared 1,900 times. If the results of a quiz shine a positive light on the user, then he will most probably share the result with his friends. In 2015, quizzes were also among the most shared content.
In this article, you’ll also get to see other forms of interactive content, besides quizzes. Research by Demand Metric found that interactive content also converts buyers much more effectively than passive content.
So, are you excited to join the interactive content train?
Then, let’s begin with the first type of interaction that you can offer your audience.
Conduct a great contest
Who doesn’t like winning?
The anticipation of potentially earning a prize, in itself, brings an emotional charge to most of us.
That’s why contests have been extremely effective for increasing the number of social media followers of businesses, by hundreds of thousands. And, think of the rich data that you get to access about the consumers that participate in your contest. Appsumo has grown their email list to 700,000 subscribers through giveaways.
The prize you offer in your giveaway will dictate the kind of audience that you attract from your contest. So, don’t give away a free iPad, just because every user would love to win one. Otherwise, you’ll attract a lot of participants that aren’t a good fit with your brand.
It’s not about getting more sign ups. Instead, you want to reach your ideal target customers with the buzz generated through the contest. Offer a relevant prize that will be of interest to your target audience. And, attach a price tag to show the value of the product.
Pat Flynn recently conducted a contest and gave away 5 of his favorite marketing books.
In his giveaway, Pat Flynn clearly mentioned that the books are worth $147.90 and that there will be 5 lucky winners.
If you’ve visited Quick Sprout, then you might have noticed that I offer a course to double traffic in 30 days to new email subscribers. And, I’ve valued it at $300.
Even if you’re starting out, it’s possible to get sponsors to give away their products to your giveaway participants.
Julien Marion used the following template for reaching out to various brands. And, he got a few of them to collaborate in the giveaway.
By getting a few brands to offer attractive prizes for his giveaway, he was able to grow his email list from 173 to 2,200 in just 3 days.
Next, create urgency, by using a countdown timer on the landing page. And, explicitly using words that encourage the user to take action.
Here’s how Pat Flynn encouraged his readers to enter his giveaway.
The best contests get the user to create content – photos, videos, taglines or whatever else fits your business requirements. Once people invest their energy in your contest, they create a connection with your brand and form positive associations with you.
Promoting the contest is vital for its success. Reaching out to influencers and announcing the contest to your email list are a couple of good starting points. Here’s an exhaustive list, by KickOffLabs, containing 12 actionable ways to promote your contest.
If you incent sharing, then you can expect a viral boost for your contest. Co-Ed supply managed to get a 138% viral boost i.e. 1.5 more sign ups per lead, because they got people to share their contest.
If you’re running a WordPress website, then the KingSumo Giveaways plugin is an easy way to set up your first contest. At the end of the campaign, it will also allow you to export the email addresses that you collect.
Experiment with live video streaming
Facebook rolled out live video in December, 2015. And, the response was so overwhelming that Facebook started treating live videos as a separate content type. Social media has become all about real-time updates. And, you can leverage the fear of missing out by making a few live appearances.
I’ve experimented with a few live videos and they were really helpful in deepening my connection with you, my audience.
If you follow self-improvement blogger Mark Manson, then you might know that he recently released a book, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.’
Guess the strategy he used to promote his book?
He did live readings from his book on his Facebook page. And, have a look at the terrific engagement that the video received.
He sent out the event details to his email list, a few days before the event, to accelerate his success.
Obviously, Facebook isn’t the only way to experiment with live videos.
Snapchat is as personal, authentic and inherently urgent a platform as it gets. Gary Vee has taken Snapchat by storm. He loves engaging with his followers through Q&A sessions.
Periscope and YouTube Live are also good live broadcasting platforms for engaging with your audience in real-time.
Finally, webinars also provide a rich and interactive experience to your audience. Essentially, they are one to two-hour live video streams. Make sure to promote your webinar extensively and be well prepared about the subject that you’re going to educate your audience on. Even a mediocre webinar should convert at 5%. The stellar ones are able to convert 20% of viewers.
I’ve already written a lot about webinars and you can read more from the links below:
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a High Converting Webinar
- 6 Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Webinars
Quiz your audience on weird subjects
Ah! So we return to the intriguing kind of content that’s proven to lift the spirits of most audiences. And get them to share your content widely.
BuzzFeed clearly knows the effectiveness of quizzes for fueling our egos. So, they don’t shy away from creating weird types of quizzes.
Does it work?
In a 2014 analysis of 100 million articles by OkDork and BuzzSumo, 8 of the top 10 most shared articles were quizzes by BuzzFeed.
The best part is, quizzes continue to work effectively to increase the amount of shares. People love sharing their personal traits with their social media friends. So, quizzes continue to go viral and, amounting to millions of shares. Look at the most shared 2015 posts at Time.com.
So, if you haven’t already, then create your first quiz right away.
How do you find an interesting subject?
If you look around, you’ll find many pieces of infographics, facts and data lying around in old blog posts. So, why not repurpose one of your most popular posts into a Q&A format, add some tangy, visual flavor to it and press publish? For help, refer to this LeadQuizzes post on how you can repurpose your existing content into quizzes.
While creating your quizzes, here are a few pointers that you can follow:
- Highlight a unique aspect about the user in the results (preferably visually),
- Keep your questions short and fun,
- Share the results of the quiz instantly and encourage sharing the quiz on social media.
Invest in interactive infographics and maps
In past posts, I’ve told you that infographics aren’t as effective now as they used to be.
They get decent traffic and help in branding, but every brand has joined the infographic publishing party. So now, you need to up your ante. You can’t simply share textual info in visuals and expect to drive massive traffic.
A more entertaining, engaging and fun way to educate your customers is embedding audio files, GIFs and videos in your infographic
An example of interactive infographic is the Avalaunch Media flash-based infographic, showing the history of social media.
The future of car sharing has also been crafted into a great interactive infographic.
HCC Medical Insurance Services was able to lift their blog traffic 1000%, by publishing an interactive infographic. They share the step-by-step process that helped them achieve such amazing results at Marketing Sherpa.
Another currently trending and heavily consumed type of content is interactive maps. Have a look at the Google News results, containing the keyword ‘this map shows’:
Right now, they are a terrific way to build links and get covered by media. Look at the results that David McSweeney from Ahrefs achieved by leveraging maps.
Instead of the longish one page infographics, maps contain plotted data from research. For instance, look at the Flowing Data map showing Firearms dealers vs. Burgers, Pizza and Coffee across the USA. Obviously, the post ended up getting a lot of traction.
You can pick different subjects for crafting your first map. I won’t go into detail about the process here. Instead, refer to David’s post at Ahrefs on visual link building for the more information.
3 tools to help you craft interactive content
Alright, you know a few forms of interactive content and you’re pumped to craft your first piece.
The only problem?
Hiring a developer can be costly.
So, here are 3 tools to help you get started.
Want to create a personality quiz, poll, interactive map, caption this or contest?
Then this will make it convenient for you.
LiveHive collected 700 emails by publishing this personality quiz.
You can read more case studies of the product here.
Creating an interactive map (like the ones I shared) will mostly require some coding skills.
But, if you want a simplified version of maps that combines words or videos and words, then this is a great tool.
Here’s an example map, showing the Rise of Donald Trump.
Want to say goodbye to the old way of conducting boring roundups?
Then, meet Thinglink.
It allows you to annotate images and videos and also give the user more chances to interact with your content.
The approval matrix guide by NYMag, below, encourages users to discover links to content. And, it’s something that you can achieve with Thinglink.
Interactive content is a brilliant way to cut your bounce rates, increase engagement and strengthen your relationship with your audience.
So, I encourage you to get your hands on the content types that I’ve shared in the article. The tools I’ve mentioned alongside the content examples will help you get started.
It’s your turn now. Are there any other types of interactive content that you’ve leveraged in your content marketing? Let me know your results in the comments below.