Four Ways to Beat Out the Competition With Interactive Content

 In Content Marketing

Only about 30 percent of content marketers feel like they’re getting it right, but that hasn’t stopped brands from churning out content at a rate that would have been unfathomable just ten years ago. With so many blogs, white papers, articles, brochures and emails, it’s easy for brands to get buried in the clutter and overlooked by prospects who have way too much content coming at them from way too many directions.  Just google the phrase “content shock” to get a sense of what’s going on out there in the BIG, exciting world of content marketing. Heidi Cohen, president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, put it best when she wrote, “Content marketers have reached a market saturation where increased effort yields diminished returns.”

So how can you make sure you stand out and make an impact with your content?

By differentiating your brand with useful and unique content experiences that stand out in a sea of clutter.

 1. Think Small

In 2015, swiping, clicking, sharing and tapping became more important than ever as a greater share of our audience moved to mobile. Microinteractions, or all those taps, swipes and clicks that make for a personalized, engaging mobile experience, have become essential for helping your visitors actually engage as well. In fact, studies show responsive sites that optimize microinteractions see an 11% bump in conversions over sites that remain static. So, if you are publishing reams of static words on your page and expecting your visitors to consume your content, it may be time to re-think. Your visitors want to interact with their web pages, not read them. It’s the’ new normal’ in user experience, and to get your audience to engage, you need to deliver.

2. Get interactive

Along with those micro-interactions, you can beat the competition by providing useful content your audience wants to engage with.  According to research from Demand Metric that my company sponsored, interactive content differentiates brands 30% more effectively than static content. Rather than churning out another undifferentiated white paper or blog post, transform that same content into interactive infographics, quizzes, calculators, assessments and anything else you can dream up.  Use interactive content experiences to make existing content more effective, and the good news is, you probably already have everything you need to make your content stand out.

3. Be useful

Brands that deliver “youtility” capture the hearts and minds of their buyers and put themselves way out in front of their competitors. Aside from providing some ‘good information’, there’s not much inherently useful in a blog post or white paper. But, transforming that content into a tool that your audience can use to educate themselves, learn something new, or do their job better is a game-changer. Launch a self-assessment tool that lets people answer questions and receive personalized results and recommendations. Create an online calculator so buyers can play around with pricing to their heart’s content. Use a solution finder to visitors can determine exactly what’s right for them. Provide a content experience that helps them do their jobs better, or helps them learn something new, and you will win them over instantly and forever.

4. Toss your forms

Many marketers put their most valuable content behind forms, so they can capture a lead in exchange for providing the content. But think about it…do you want to fill out a form to see content? Probably not. And your visitors don’t either. So, go ahead and un-gate your content. Give your visitors a useful, valuable content experience so great that they want to fill out your form. Your competitors are gating their best stuff behind forms—you don’t have to do that. You can give it away in interactive experiences and trust that the conversions will follow. In fact, interactive content converts at nearly twice the rate of static content.

We recently conducted an A/B test of a gated white paper landing page against an interactive white paper experience that visitors could freely navigate. A call to action in the upper right hand corner of the experience offered the option to complete a form in order to receive a PDF version of the white paper. Guess what? Bounce rates dropped and conversions increased. The results didn’t surprise us; we see this all the time in content testing we conduct for our clients.

You can rise above the clutter. The truth is, your competition is spending more money on content than ever before churning out the same stuff as everyone else. According to the Content Marketing Association, brands are spending 32 percent of their total marketing budgets on content, with 50 percent reporting that they’ll increase that spend still more in the coming year. Surrounded on all sides by content, your audience may be missing your message. Finding new ways to differentiate and add value to your content experience is an absolute strategic imperative.

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Anna Talerico
I am a cofounder at ion interactive. I lead the accounts and professional service teams, focused on the success of our customers—and I LOVE what I do!
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