Content marketing is dead. Or at least it's starting to feel that it's heading in that direction. These days, almost everyone and their dog is engaged in content marketing- even though many of them are not completely successful at it.

Back in the day, most top blogs were way ahead with content marketing when it was still foreign to other industries. They faced little competition, took advantage of a trend and ultimately became very successful.

Currently, content marketing is starting to feel exhausted and it's important to take a leaf from our predecessors' book or blogs. Progressively thinking and anticipating the upcoming trends is the key to getting a few steps ahead of your competitors. We need to be more interesting, engaging and data-driven with our content to stand out– and one solution that is becoming more prevalent is interactive content marketing.

In order to keep up with the times and transgress into the future, it's important to delve into the definition of interactive content marketing before going in blind.

Interactive Content Marketing 101

"Interactive Marketing refers to the evolving trend in marketing whereby marketing has moved from a transaction-based effort to a conversation."John Deighton at Harvard.

Interactive content marketing is not a revolutionary concept. It is a type of content marketing that is currently forming and brands have only just begun to play with it. Take for instance an interactive poll or infographic.

The user can dive in, interact, experience the process and learn something new without feeling targeted. It requires control and is less about conversion rate optimization and direct lead generation. Interactive content marketing is about providing your audience value in an unobtrusive way.

It seems as though the future of content marketing is becoming more visual than ever before. Just think of Instagram and Pinterest. But, while some people rely solely on content marketing becoming more visual, they are disregarding that not everyone consumes information in the same way.

People react differently depending on which sense is stimulated. Marketers need to be more malleable and cater to each learning style.

Polls

Facebook made quizzes and polls famous. They were used to understand, engage and educate users. Polling is one of the simplest and most effective tools for instant engagement.

Audiences get insight into seeing what others have to say- so by creating a poll you will generate excitement. Through the use of polls you can interact, engage, and converse with your audience in a simple and effective way. The biggest attraction about polls are their engaging qualities.

They reveal that communication can be a 2 way street, and invites the user to join in. It's perfect to show that as a brand you're a great listener and interested in your audience’s thoughts– whilst simultaneously grasping their attention.

When Nutella wanted to get more out of their content campaign with Food Network they decided to embed a poll created by storytelling platform Apester. The poll created a more real, deep and emotional engagement with the brand’s values and messages.

Foodies were asked a how they prefer to eat Nutella. After choosing their preferred answer, the results were calculated and a percentage of fellow polls were displayed. The poll received almost 7,000 engagements with a double-digit click-through-rate and increased time-on-site.

By including an interactive poll into their content, Nutella not only delivered a message but they delivered an experience.

Infographics

Infographics are a combination of great graphics, powerful content and big data. It's easy to understand why they have become so popular for content marketers as they grab the ever-decreasing span of users.

They make a grand appearance and demonstrate data in an entertaining way to your target audience. Most businesses have adopted infographics into their content marketing strategy to reveal data, research and statistics.

Sadly the traditional infographic has become an old hat-trick now. With an abundance of infographics out there, the ones with valuable content often get overlooked as they don’t stand out from the crowd.

This brings me to my next point, what is the way forward? Animated and interactive infographics are quite possibly the future. They engage with viewers and help to make mundane topics more interesting.

To celebrate 100 years of air travel, The Guardian, presented aninteractive infographic that used live data from FlightStats to display the thousands of commercial planes on a world map in real route time, the history of aviation since 1914 and asks the viewer what comes next in travel. The animated infographic appealed to every aviation buff's dream.

Video

Since the conception of YouTube, videos have become extremely popular and they are essential to content marketing.

They involve many of our senses, which improves the learning experience when reading a post. In the 21st century, interactive YouTube videos have increased the engagement factor by letting the viewer be in control of how the video should play out. Take for example, A Hunter Shoots a Bear campaign by Tippex (an oldie but a goodie).

Interactive videos give viewers the opportunity to not just watch, but to click, swipe and engage through call-to-action overlays.

Take a look at Coldplay's interactive video for the song "Ink," which won the 2015 Webby Award for Best Use of Interactive Video. The best part for marketers is that you can you can measure results in a way that a standard video doesn't allow.

With the progress of mobile video, we now have the ability to watch videos everywhere. Think about this from a marketer's perspective- a video can be accessed by your audience anytime and anywhere. Ultimately, more and more people will have an extra edge if they start using videos.

Content marketing is more competitive than ever and the only way to stay on top of the game is to anticipate the trends and take advantage of them before they become yesterday’s news.

Are you looking into the crystal ball of content marketing or are you stuck in your old ways?

Published on: Sep 27, 2015