The content marketing landscape has evolved, as have the expectations of your audience. Not to sound like a broken record, but effectively engaging them is a necessary component to every brand’s marketing strategy regardless of industry, and it affects all of us (yes, even you). So get comfy, grab your coffee or matcha tea or whatever you’re into. And get ready for some advice from people worth listening to.
…as our sales team was blushing (and/or cursing the CEO/CMO’s name (mine)) on sales calls because they had no visibility into the buyer’s budget calculations, solutions built, self assessments taken or content pains — that we had a 'sales & marketing alignment' crisis to solve. We absolutely had to surface — in context, with relevance — all the explicit insights our buyers had given us. Sales had to know. And they needed the information stat.
Just when you thought the infographic couldn’t get any cooler… I mean, it’s already a super modern way to visually convey a story or spread a message, right? You trade pages of text for cool image blocks filled with different pictures. You can incorporate colors and other visually stunning effects. And now, you can make them interactive?!?!? Say What??
There we were in a marketing planning meeting last week, brainstorming ways to show you how fast and easy it is to take your interactive content from zero to launched using the ion platform. When suddenly it hit us. We could just actually show you. So, we hatched a plan to surprise (a gentle word for ambush) one of our amazing designers, Katherine, with the task of building a brand spankin’ new piece of interactive content. Without any advanced notice at all.
Having managed everything from a small single landing page to a multi-million dollar website overhaul, I have always found that a simple project management framework is most effective. I like to have very defined, linear stages that progress from one step to the next and build on each other. Don’t worry agile marketers in the group, this isn’t waterfall. It’s just how to organize steps as you go from idea to launch for any type of interactive content, helping to make sure you don’t have to backtrack along the way.
As I was sitting and staring at the little graphic I whipped up to show the four facets of interactive content — content, presentation, function and data flow — another application occurred to me. Hopefully, this simple visualization helps relieve a common pain that we hear again and again… ‘How do I know what types of interactive content I need?’. Part of how you know what to produce is understanding how the types of interactive content differ. And then mapping that understanding to stages of the funnel.
Buzzfeed is all over social media and it’s not because they only do funny (and addicting) quizzes. It’s because they give you insight in return for your interaction. So in typical ion fashion, we wanted to throw some insight your way and hope for your simple interaction. We thought… why not create a fun (and extremely simple) quiz to show you what type of interactive content fits your personality? You can find out not only what type of interactive content you may be, but how that interactive content can transform your static, passive material into engaging, lively, exciting content right in front of your eyes!
Interactive content varies by its function—a very different axis that is much more specific and much less portable than its passive counterparts. That specificity is what makes interactive content so engaging and effective. But that’s also what makes it more challenging to repurpose and scale. The use-case axis is actually an entirely new opportunity for scaling.
Often in the software industry, we get so enamoured by our passion and the jargon used that we never really think twice about it. So we started to think… Do people outside of our little bubble even know what the term ‘interactive content’ means?So in typical Jimmy Kimmel fashion, we took the question to the streets to hear what the public thinks ‘interactive content’ is. Take a look at the video to see what they thought, what we discovered, and even some answers from ionians themselves.
This week’s Quick Start shout out is all about the power of the road… Introducing the Solution Builder. Solution builder guides visitors through a set of ten personalized questions. Using their answers, the interactive content experience provides a recommendation of which service or product would be best for them, as well as an explanation for the recommendation and a call-to-action. It also includes additional content about your brand below the quiz, along with an additional call-to-action.
It’s easy for us and others to say that interactive content is better. It’s true that every metric and shred of research around this stuff supports the idea that static content has diminishing returns. But easy to say and justify doesn’t mean easy to execute. For many marketers still struggling with content, the idea of making that content do things is almost preposterous. In the spirit of transparency, I’d like to give you my CEO/CMO view of how ion brings interactive content to market for its own use.
Valentine’s Day is upon us and you know what that means! Everything flowers, chocolate, hearts, and ion video love notes (really, check them out and see how much we love you!). We’re filled with mushiness these days, so in the spirit of the holiday, we thought we’d point out 10 reasons you’ll love interactive content. Maybe so much you’ll want to marry it!
Is it better to scale your white paper up from a PDF to an interactive version? Or is it better to conceive that content as interactive and then distill it down to a static PDF? Cutting to the chase, I think it depends. Here at ion, we’ve developed content both ways and a few ways in between. We’ve scaled traditional white papers and research reports up into assessments and interactive white papers. And, on other occasions, we’ve conceived interactive infographics, calculators and configurators as original, interactive content experiences.
Some of you might have had the chance to take our Deflate-gate quiz and learn a bit about being an AFC Championship winner (or maybe now I should change it to say Super Bowl winner). As you saw, deflate-gate is a simple quiz created solely for fun. However, a quiz like this one can be created just as easily to support your product, service, or messaging. Deflate-gate was created—using an ion Quick Start interactive content experience—by a modern marketer with little coding knowledge… Well guess what? Hi. I’m the modern marketer. Nice to meet you! So I thought I’d take you a little further into the creation of the quiz.
As marketers, we all know it’s our job to measure. Take a look at this asset. How’d it perform? This email. High click through rate? Lead gen campaigns. Low CPL? And our CMOs want to see the return as well. At the end of the day, is your (and their) investment worth it? Wouldn’t it be nice to see the potential of the return on investment easily before actually acting on it? We can sit here all day and crunch numbers but why not have a simple calculator do it for you?
When it comes to prophesying trends (especially in the marketing world), everyone thinks they’re the top banana. But here’s the thing - there’s not really a right or wrong. There are opinions and that’s the beauty of it. There doesn’t have to be a top banana. There can be a whole bunch of awesomely smart and innovative bananas. So, we took a little forward looking glimpse at the year to come and what it holds for interactive content (which is big deal right now by the way). Here we go!
ion relies heavily on its content marketing digital dialogue to provide reliable data points that can programmatically move the right people from one-to-many marketing to one-to-one account development. Prospects don’t want to waste their time speaking to someone about a solution that isn’t a fit for them. And our sales team can’t afford to squander time and resources searching for needles in a haystack. Marketing needs to do that for them—surfacing best-bet buyers rather than long shots who might be sold.