“Content is king!” How many times have you heard that over the last three years? I’d guess it’s more than you’d like at this point.
Though it’s a hot topic and thrown around frequently, it’s not a phrase that’s going to go away anytime soon.
Having a robust resource library with high-quality content for all stages of your buyer’s journey is a no-brainer at this stage in the content marketing game. But, are you providing the right kind of content that’s actually going to convert your prospects to leads and then to customers?
According to a recent study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs, about 91% of all B2B organizations surveyed are using content marketing in some form or other. And 78% are going to increase their content marketing spend and production into the next year.
While we are constantly told we need to have a strong content marketing strategy to make an impact on our prospects, how can we stand out from the crowd if there’s so much content out there already?
If we think about the history of content marketing and it’s recent timeline, two to three years ago, content was all about creating as much as possible. Last year, content was all about producing high-quality content at a slower pace; optimizing and educating. This year and going into 2019, we’re pivoting again. Instead of focusing on quantity and quality, we’ll need to focus on the delivery.
Did you know that half of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchase decisions than ever before? That means that your content has to be:
- Credible and trustworthy
- Easy to digest and consume
- Relevant to your target audience
- Interactive and engaging
Are you confident your content fits those four buckets?
According to a recent survey from Marketo, the number one reason users don’t engage more often with brands is due to irrelevant content. And to make matters clearer: 82% of content marketers believe they deeply understand how their buyers want to be engaged, but half of buyers disagree. And 65% of these buyers think brands could do better in aligning with how they prefer to engage.
So, we’ve come full circle. Over the last few years, we’ve created A TON of content; in the previous year to two years, we’ve optimized and created quality content; this year, we’re focusing on how we should be delivering content to our audience for maximum engagement.
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One of the best ways to deliver quality content these days is via interactive content.
What does interactive content mean? It’s content that requires the participants’ active engagement — more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.
At its core, interactive content is just another way to have a conversation with your target audience.
So, what are some ways to have a conversation with your potential customers without always having a real conversation? Here are five ways to make your content interactive that drives engagement and hopefully more business.
1. Ask questions
Asking your audience questions about their interests and asking for feedback or ratings is an easy way to gain engagement and drive interaction. You could do this on your website through pop-ups, or you could even do this via email.
On a website pop-up, wait for the reader to get most of the way through the content (blog, guide, infographic, etc.) then ask some kind of engaging question such as: “Was this content helpful for you?” or “Please rate this blog on a scale of 1-3 where 1 sucks and 3 rocks.” Depending on their answer, engage them with additional content, or if you can snag their email address so you can send them more content they’d be interested in.
When it comes to email, send an email with a question and a few bulleted answers to choose from. Each answer is linked to a different blog post or other content you’ve written that is similar to the answer they chose. Guide the reader to greater education while building credibility for your business, as well as learning what your reader is really interested in.
*Hint: sales will love you if you can glean this info for them!
2. Incorporate assessments or polls into your content
There are a handful of tools out there that allow you to embed different types of interactive elements, like a quiz or poll, directly into your static content. Create a unique experience for your users by letting them pick their own paths to learning. Instead of just gamifying your content and adding monetary incentivization, make it personal.
Your customers visit your site with a purpose in mind - are they there to learn more about a certain topic? Buy your product or service? This varies across pages so make sure to tailor the interactive elements you choose on each page based on the respective offer.
3. Develop webinars, podcasts, quizzes and the like
Some of the most dynamic content types out there include webinars and podcasts. And you guessed it; it’s because they rely on personalization like voice and human interaction to be successful.
According to the same Marketo survey, about 64% reported they’d spend over 20 minutes reviewing content when it’s in webinar format. The next most time-consuming format is third-party / analyst reports where only 33% reported they’d spend upwards of 20 minutes reviewing and reading it. That’s double the amount of people engaging with the interactive content!
Something about listening to someone speak makes the experience personal and thus promotes some interaction down the road.
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4. Build an ROI calculator
Content isn’t just about education and awareness. Though it does significantly fuel the top of the funnel, it’s also a huge asset for the middle and bottom of the funnel.
ROI calculators not only engage your prospect with something they care about, but they also allow the prospect to engage on their own, no sales reps harping at them to buy. And when 70% of the buyer’s journey is done on the prospect’s own time, alone, this gives the prospect more freedom to engage and get to know your brand. And it especially helps to paint a picture of where the prospect needs to go and how your product or service could potentially get them there...
Give your prospects something they can apply to their own business.
5. Jump on the video bandwagon
Videos don’t have to take hours of recording and editing for them to be successful. They don’t have to be 30, 45 or 90 minutes long. They can be as simple as 45 seconds to 2 minutes long if you want.
The best part about video is they add a personal touch or human interaction to your marketing and sales collateral. Just like webinars or podcasts, the simple facial recognition initiates a stronger, more positive reaction than ebooks, guides or white papers don’t do on their own.
Embed these videos in your blog content to break up the reading, so it’s a little more interactive. Speak to your prospects directly. Add videos to social posts, email copy, and more. There are even tools out there like Vidyard or Wistia that help drive lead generation from your video marketing.
You’ll notice that almost all of these interactive pieces of content don’t only benefit the prospect, they benefit you. They provide additional insight into what specific interests your prospect engages with - i.e., an easy in as marketing and sales professionals to deliver the right message at the right time.
Interactive content is all about delivering the right content to the right prospect, but it’s also a highly successful lead generation machine.
*This article doesn’t dive into which interactive content formats work best for the different stages of the funnel. To learn more, take a look at this report from CMI.