A company’s website is often the first touchpoint for new visitors coming to learn more about its services. It is the main representation of the company’s solution to a problem, the primary resource for curious consumers.
A website can make you or break you, so why wouldn’t you want it to be awesome? When someone arrives to your site, don’t you want them to stay for a bit? How can you use your website to convert online visitors into leads?
To start, offer an immediate and personalized content experience with which your audience can interact. “Experience” is the key word there – you need to provide more than just an information dump. Take your audience on a journey. Teach them something they didn’t already know.
The most effective way to accomplish that goal is to get them participating.
The limits of interactive content are seemingly endless. As marketers become more familiar with the technology and tinker with their creations, we continue to see more personalized, innovative, and unique approaches to demand generation for a product or service.
The interactive content industry is starting to get big – like, really big.
Even newspapers – you know, those things that get delivered to your front porch every morning with yesterday’s news that you read on your smartphone a couple hours ago – are getting in on the action.
In 2014, The Wall Street Journal made a commitment to interactivity with its WSJ Interactive video series. After clicking on a video, the viewer can then click on related articles, watch relevant clips, and survey market data in real time, among various other things – all without having to leave the full-screen experience of the original video.
Online interactivity requires relatively new technology, but it is becoming increasingly easy to build and integrate into marketing mixes. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as copying and pasting specific lines of code into your browser.
You don’t need to be a developer to implement interactivity on your company’s website. There’s no need to be scared, because it’s far more accessible than you might think.
Need some inspiration? Check out how this diverse range of companies are getting interactive right on their own websites. Note the placement of the assets in given locations on the sites, the colors used to make the calls-to-action (CTAs) stand out, and things that make the assets themselves awesome.
I. Surveys, Quizzes, and Assessments
Zipcar: Is Zipcar for You?
This content makes frequent use of pictures, has a sleek layout, and covers each of the major concerns that a customer may have. Note the creative CTA on the calculator – “do the math” is more attention-grabbing than something plain and boring.
Dos Equis: Interesting Index
Paycor: See How Paycor Fits You
Northstar Travel: What’s New in Los Cabos Quiz
Intronis: State of the MSP Industry Survey
Intronis’s interactive tools, which include this survey, two quizzes and a calculator, are grouped together with its more traditional pieces of content under the “resources” tab in the menu bar. This survey helps the company detect trends affecting the dynamic information technology channel. The benefit for participants? They get the first look at the results of the survey, and all those who partook were entered to win an Apple TV.
Paradigm Life: Infinite 101 eCourse
While not directly accessible from the top fold of the website, Paradigm Life’s main focus is first giving value to their visitors by offering a course, and letting them learn a little bit about themselves.
Calculators and Simulations
Bankrate Student Loan Calculator
Credit Karma: Credit Score Simulator
Under the “tools” option in the menu bar, Credit Karma offers five different calculators or simulators.
The blue CTAs encourage action (“try it!”) and the calculators themselves help users make informed decisions about their finances.
Runzheimer: How Much Could You Save?
Tampa Bay Times: “Failure Factories”
General Electric: World in Motion
Rosetta Stone: Interactive Demo
The Washington Post: “The Waypoint: A Visual Journey Through Lesbos, the Gateway of Europe”
How to Generate More Engagement (Without Creating More Content)
Ever feel like your content team is stuck in creation mode? You know – as soon as you finish one blog post or eBook, you’re onto the next one, giving little thought to extending the lifespan of the piece of content you just finished.
The quality vs. quantity content debate is ongoing. On the quantity side, it’s important to create a steady stream of fresh content to remain topical, engage subscribers, and increase inbound traffic.
On the quality side, your content will only be valuable enough to generate engagement, subscribers, backlinks, leads, etc. if it exceeds a certain standard.
In other words, if the quality of your content is suffering for the sake of quantity, you have a problem. It might be time to give your editorial calendar a break and focus on getting more value out of the content you already have.
Here are a few ideas for how to generate engagement without having to create more content.
If you’re in an industry where it makes sense for your brand to cover highly topical content, don’t stop on my account. However, if your audience will find more value from evergreen content topics – content with a longer shelf life – plan them carefully.
Build a finite list of evergreen topics for each persona, and create 10X content around each key topic (this is also a great practice for SEO purposes). Consider things that could easily go out of date, including:
- Stats – Stats are important to prove any point or demonstrate industry trends. Make sure that any stats you include are from a recent, credible source so they don’t date your content (and compromise your own content’s credibility).
- Trends – Remember frosted tips? Some trends never turn into a best practice (nor should they). Be critical when writing about trends, and if you’re unsure, consult an industry expert.
- Product – Your product will evolve over the years. Keep this in mind if you include screenshots or talk specifically about features and capabilities. Talk to your product manager about providing a product roadmap, and keep track of where you include screenshots so you can easily update them.
Thinking evergreen will make it much easier to execute a content strategy that’s focused on longevity. However, even the most evergreen of evergreen content topics will need to be updated eventually, which brings us to our next point…
Regularly Implement Historical Optimization
Historical optimization is exactly what it sounds like: optimizing “old” content so it’s as good as new. The optimization process involves analyzing your content to determine which old pieces are top performers, editing and updating them, and then re-publishing them as part of your content schedule.
This has a number of benefits:
- It ensures all content in your resource center is fresh and up-to-date
- It can improve your content’s performance
- It’s easy to scale when implemented as part of your regular publishing schedule
Syndicate, Re-Publish and Re-Promote
Once you have a content strategy that’s designed for longevity (i.e., you’re focusing on publishing a certain amount of evergreen content and you’re performing regular historical optimization), it’s time to start reviving your content via promotion.
Re-promote your content on all of your regular promotional channels – social media, email, etc.. Schedule it to be featured at the top of your resource center to improve discoverability. Encourage your entire team to share it on social again.
If it fits your audience, take advantage of syndication and republishing channels like LinkedIn Publishing, Business2Community, and Social Media Today (which allow for your content to be republished with a canonical URL, thus avoiding any duplicate content issues).
New platforms mean new audience exposure, which is necessary to prolonging your content’s lifespan and generating more engagement.
You work hard and pour tons of time and money into the content you create. Make sure it’s bringing in positive ROI!
Give your editorial calendar a break (if only for a few days) and focus on getting more value out of your “old” content. It doesn’t deserve to collect dust in the depths of your resource center – bring it out and let it shine.
So what are you waiting for? Get busy creating!