Pretty much every brand is creating content for their prospects and customers. Innovative brands, however, are starting to realize that the true essence of modern content marketing is interactive storytelling.
Why aren’t more brands harnessing the formidable power of interactive storytelling? A few iconic brands such as Red Bull, Nike and Starbucks have done it magnificently—but often at great cost in both time and resources. However, with the recent rise of interactive content marketing software, there’s no longer anything preventing brands of all sizes from creating effective interactive content that engages their audiences.
To that end, here are 13 key aspects of creating killer interactive content to consider as you begin your journey into exploring more exciting, inspiring, and effective ways of telling your brand’s stories to your audience.
Stories engage audiences because they have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Traditional websites aren’t really equipped to tell stories because they’re lacking in structure that lends itself to storytelling. Interactive content, on the other hand, is a powerful storytelling vehicle. By using a variety of digital content, tools and technologies, your brand can tell its unique, remarkable remarkable story in compelling ways.
The importance of great graphic design cannot be overstated. The ability to create great designs is a combination of art, imagination, and science. Beautiful design is pleasing to the eye, functional, and engaging. It helps create an emotional bond between the storyteller (your brand) and the audience (your customers or prospects). For interactive content, good design relies on high quality images, colors, and expertly-chosen typography to create an atmosphere conducive to full engagement.
In the hands of professional designers, content can be enhanced, refined and taken to new levels of engagement. Creative marketers and designer can work together to determine what tone, mood, or concept they want to evoke with visuals to enhance the written story.
To get and keep your readers’ attentions, it’s not enough to simply tell a great story—you also have to make it fun and engaging for your audience as they digest it. Animations can catch the viewer’s eye, evoke feeling, and create effects that leave your audience surprised or even awed. The best animations are usually subtle, but used to great effect to enhance the content.
Interactivity empowers your audience to participate actively in the story you’re telling. Brand storytellers now have a wide range of digital tools through which they can enhance their content with interactive elements that let readers choose what they experience and when. On touchscreen devices, your audiences can literally reach out and touch your brand in a way they’ve never been able to do before.
Video can be a phenomenal component of an interactive experience. A well-produced video can provide an immersive, visual, and unique story that augments your other text and visual content. Videos can also illustrate concepts, themes, and products in a way that’s difficult to do with static images.
Engagement in life is about using all of your senses. Why deprive your audience of the engagement that can be attained through the use of sound?
Digital audio has come a long, long way. Early in web history, audio was almost invariably annoying. It felt intrusive, and the sound quality tended to be poor. Now, audio is sharper and more immersive, dynamic, and interactive. An effective use of audio can help you build a strong bond between your brand and your target audience in conjunction with other storytelling and design components.
Deliver personalized interactive content isn’t just a hypothetical anymore. In this era of big data, there’s a ton of information you can use to influence the story you tell and the content your customers see. From net worth to location to operating systems used, there’s a wealth of customer data just waiting to be mined and used put to good use in interactive content.
By using dynamically-generated content, a world of possibilities open up. Personalized messages and stories can emerge, and content consumption can be analyzed in order to optimize future content pieces and related campaigns. Today, marketers are empowered to truly map and understand the customer journey—and those insights can lead to some really fantastic interactive content pieces.
Traditionally, what do people do when they hear or read a great story? They’d tell it to their friends. When you create a digital brand story worth retelling, it’s important to make it easy for your readers to share it on social media and other networks.
Since interactive content is highly visual, enabling sharing on social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram is a great idea. The standard Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are also important to include.
9. Cross-Platform Compatibility
Consumers want to interact with your brand on their terms, not yours. They’re not tethered to their PCs, waiting for you to inspire them. More and more, they’re digesting content on tablets and smartphones, and if your content doesn’t render well on those devices, they’re unlikely to stay engaged with your brand. The age of a one-size-fits-all content experience is over—just one of many reasons it’s time to bid farewell to PDF content.
After putting so much time and effort into crafting an engaging interactive content piece, don’t you want it to use it in as many places as possible? By building your content to be portable, you can insert it in other platforms as easily as you would a YouTube video.
A self contained story can be embedded into your website, dropped into social media, or distributed on your blog. That’s exactly what you want to do with your brand content—get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible where your customers and prospects are already having conversations.
11. Calls to Action
Every piece of content you create should have a set of goals associated with it. Maybe you want the reader to buy your product. Maybe you want them to give you their email address. Maybe you’re nudging them to request a demo. An interactive story that takes the audience on an adventure will warm them up to want to take the next step. At that moment, you’ll have free reign to ask your audience to take a specific action, so make sure your calls to action are clear and placed in a logical place.
12. eCommerce Integration
Once your brand content marketing efforts have succeeded, where do you take them next? Often times, the next step is driving your readers to make a purchase. Any unnecessary steps you can remove from the eCommerce experience will improve your chances of conversion, so when possible, integrate eCommerce into your content so that you don’t have to drive your readers to a separate page or website to complete a transaction.
13. Analytics Integration
You’ve figured out who your audience is and what interests them. You’ve provided them with a digital brand experience in the form of interactive storytelling that is meaningful, engaging and even inspiring. You’ve led the proverbial horse to water. Now it’s time to find out if they’re drinking.
It’s imperative that you have analytics in place for your interactive content that provide you with invaluable information such as:
What links, videos, or other assets of your content people are clicking on.
How long viewers spend consuming your content.
Where readers tend to drop off in your content piece.
How many people are sharing your piece with others.
Metrics like these will help you figure out how to optimize your interactive content—both your existing content and new assets you create in the future.
The End of the Story… or Is It the Beginning?
Brands have been telling stories for a very long time, but modern technology has empowered us to tell those stories in imaginative and non-traditional ways. As you delve into the magical world of interactive content, make sure to keep these 13 key components in mind so that your stories inspire, amaze, and motivate your audience to engage with your brand and become loyal to your content and products.