This Brave New World of Interactive Content: How We Tackled the Medium and Won
[Note: This post is part two of three, where we continue our behind-the-scenes story of how we created our award-winning interactive assessment. See where it all started with part one or jump ahead to part three.]
Starting With Why for Interactive Content
We can begin with the well known rallying cry and title of the New York Times best-selling book Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Why interactive content? And why now? We start with why because, as we’ll touch on later, you’ll need to justify the adoption of interactive content. You’ll need to have a reason for it. As a marketer, you’ll have to make the case and be able to articulate why you think it’s worth doing.
Obviously, for us, in hindsight it’s easier to see that the initial risk behind these efforts were repaid in kind, by way of both business goals (i.e., high-quality lead generation) and recognition from our peers. But let’s keep it real. You don’t do what you do in marketing for awards. You do it because you’re a professional that has to deliver.
Focusing on the Content Experience with Interactive
According to our friends at SnapApp, interactive content is:
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 Uberflip, we’re in the business of experiences, by way of content. It’s stated right on our home page and boilerplate. We are a content experience platform that empowers B2B marketers to create personalized content experiences at scale.
At the time of exploring interactive content, we were a recently assembled content team. I joined Uberflip at the beginning of 2017, with my colleague, Dan, joining a few months later, and last but not least, rounding out our roster with Christine that summer. As with any newly formed team, we wanted to create and execute on an innovative strategy that made an impact.
Right off the bat, in our planning process, we knew that we didn’t want to go in the direction of traditional content and tactics. We recognized that we couldn’t compete with the MarketingProfs or Content Marketing Institutes of the world. We needed to meet our external mandate and internal company value of creating great experiences.
So in thinking about designing a great experience, we forgoed the gated ebook. Don’t get me wrong. Ebooks still have their place, but we were seeking something more—that something being to draw the user in.
What’s Old is New Again: Interactive within B2B
Casting our glances elsewhere in our own marketing technology space, we saw an opportunity with SnapApp and their interactive platform. Interactive brings the experience to the forefront. It’s a step further than passive reading or viewing, that’s grounded in action, that asks the user to be involved.
If you grew up playing video games, you know that interactive and gamification are old concepts. What’s new about interactive is the B2B context. We are dealing with long sales cycles, where for both marketing and sales, it’s less about the quick transaction and more about the process of engagement. You are looking to engage the right user, with right content experience, at the right time.
Yet, from a B2B perspective, interactive is still seen as the relatively new kid on the block. To make our case and keep ourselves honest, we understood that any new strategy or tactic adopted had to align with existing business goals. In our case, that meant:
Quality lead generation: We were already attracting leads in volume to the amount of thousands per month. But there was a huge gap from MQL to SAL, and we wanted some way to address those inefficiencies.
Expressing our brand by way of design: We are known in our market as being quirky and light hearted and we wanted to capture that brand personality and bring it front and center.
Alignment with sales: We wanted to provide sales with additional information upfront for qualified prospects, to expedite the discovery process.
Ideation and Landing on a Concept
Remember that interactive content still has content in its name. The content still makes up the core of the experience. So you’re going to draw upon your ‘traditional’ content marketing skills when thinking about what you’re going to present.
As some basic, common sense criteria, you need to think about your content’s beginning, middle, and end. You need to think about the narrative flow and how the user follows along. And you need to think about how it all gets captured within a theme, or master concept, or campaign.
During our research phase, we saw too many instances of companies using interactive platforms to present tired, boring forms and surveys. Respect the medium. Respect the user’s time and intelligence. And make this worth their while.
Stay tuned for the concluding post, as we wrap-up our behind-the-scenes look at creating award-winning interactive content. But if you really just can't wait, then: