Your Content Can Change People’s Lives: Neil Patel on the Power of Interactive Content

Successful content campaigns increasingly have a common element: engagement. The more engaging your content, the more stimulated your audience. The more stimulated and engaged your audience, the faster you’ll reach your marketing goals. Easy, right?

But when your audience is inundated every day with attention-seeking material through social, email, their own browsing searches, and the demands of the physical world – living, breathing, gravity, all that – it can be difficult to create the content that really gets them leaning forward, gets them active.

Instead of just skimming the usual headlines and subheadlines of static content – ebooks, whitepapers, even video is a passive experience – interactive content invites you to respond, right then and there. As both an award and an intrigue, the more you respond – the more personal results you’ll get.

Think of the ability to calculate your own departments ROI by using a customizable calculator, or quickly navigating a product picker assessment that identifies exactly the right choice, without having to do comparisons, talk to sales, sit on hold.

The above are just some very practical examples of interactive content – the possibilities are endless, as is the impact it can have on your audience.

To explore this impact more in depth with someone who knows a thing or two about reaching an audience, we sat down with marketing expert Neil Patel to talk about how to create engaging content.

Co-founder of SaaS tools Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, and Hello Bar, Neil is also the founder of the web content consulting company Quick Sprout. As a popular events speaker across the globe and an avid blogger of marketing and entrepreneurial insights, if you haven’t yet been acquainted with Neil, you’re in for a wealth of knowledge. And, also, where you been?

Find out some of the key ingredients for creating engaging content in this week’s segment of The Tuning Fork below!

What is the value of content? How do you think about it?

If you can write something that’s educational or informational – something that someone can read and say “wow, I could change this in my business, I could change this in my diet, I could change this in my personal life,” and be happier, get results, make more money, whatever it may be… if you’re writing such great content that’s actionable and clear and which most people can usually understand, and more importantly implement, you’ll change people’s lives. That’s how you can build a really loyal brand through content marketing.

What’s so great about interactive content?

If it’s interactive in a visual format, especially – for example, there are animated infographics or gifographics in which you click and it changes and it can explain, let’s say, how a car engine works. The animated information, especially in content form, ones that you can interact with, helps people understand your core message in a much simpler way.

Think about a college lecture. When you’re in a college class and the teacher talks at you, there’s no engagement. They’re talking to a class full of 200 people.

What’s going to happen to a percentage of those people? Some are going to pay attention. Another portion will be really attentive, taking notes, highlighting stuff, then you’ll get another portion that are daydreaming, thinking about other stuff. Then you’ll get another portion of people who are actually sleeping. But when you engage and you interact, they’re much more likely to learn, do something, versus just pushing stuff down their throat. And that’s the beautiful part about content. When you make the content interactive, whether it’s text format or image format or anything like that, people will start learning more. Because they’re engaging. And that’s the key to helping people: it’s to make sure that they’re engaged.

And if your content isn’t engaging, yeah, sure, some people will learn and some people will love it, but a decent portion is just going to bounce off or ignore you or fall asleep.

Is there different content that’s better for different people? How do you know?

It comes down to surveying. If you survey your audience and try to learn from them and understand what they need or want, you’ll get more data from them on what you should adjust. There is no one key solution, it’s surveying to find out what they want and then giving it to them.

Was there a trigger for you in thinking about the power and value of engagement?

I saw that other people were creating engaging content and their content was going viral. And I was like wow, creating something more engaging does way better than just trying to shove things down people’s throats.

Is there a difference between something being valuable and something being engaging?

I think it goes hand in hand. If you can create something that’s really valuable, people will love it, and if it’s engaging, you’ll do even better.

Is interactive content most valuable at one point in the funnel than another?

It’s valuable in two ways. One, getting people engaged on the front end, since it attracts more visitors and those visitors are more likely to convert. And then two, throughout your funnel, you can do interactive content even as simple as making them fill out a survey – because the more engaged they get, the more likely they are to go through the rest of your funnel and buy.

Why is it so hard for marketers to take risks with what they create?

A lot of the time with marketers, they don’t know how to do a lot of these things. It’s still a new space. And on top of that, they usually work for someone, so they have to prove the ROI and prove it’s worth it, and when something’s new it’s tougher for them to be willing to take risks because it’s not always up to them.

I’ve written articles in the past on topics like “The ROI of Content Marketing” and they’ve always done really well because of it. And what that tells me is people aren’t sure if what they’re doing is worth doing, because they’re searching for these types of terms, so that means people are uncertain – and if they’re uncertain, they’re less likely to take the risk.

What’s getting you excited in marketing right now?

Personalization is the big thing, in content marketing especially. Think about Facebook. You go on Facebook, they’re only showing you what they think you’ll want to see. That’s what will happen with blogs. Why can’t I go to CNN and them show me only the blog posts they think will appeal to me? They have my history of what I’ve read and what I’ve viewed. Personalization for me looks like just giving people what they want when they want it and not showing them anything else, like this CNN example.

What would you recommend for someone who’s never created interactive content before?

Go find interactive pieces in similar industries and learn from them. Then figure out what you want to create first. But do your research before you start creating. Marketers go wrong by just creating based off whatever they want versus using data, trying to understand the reader, before they start putting any information out there.

It’s just awesome. If you haven’t used it, you should consider trying it. What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t get results? You learn from that and you can try again or you can go back to doing what you were doing. But it usually works pretty well, and it’s worth a shot.

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