I think we can all agree that an engaged audience is better than a disengaged one. And, every online marketer wants engagement in one form or another. But engagement isn’t pass/fail. Part of what makes measurement of interactive content engagement so enlightening is that there’s a continuum of participation. Where people fall on that continuum and how we look at it — like grading on a bell curve and then comparing the curves — helps evaluate the relative value of content and experience.
Templates are a controversial subject for designers. Many view templates as a ‘bad’ thing, restricting the freedom a designer needs to bring their vision to life. I even held this view in my younger years. I wanted to shed light on some of the reasons that templates can actually help you focus on the what of your design, instead of the how to get it launched and out the door.
"Meet the buyer at their point of interest." As the sales leader at ion it’s a statement I probably utter way too many times a day. I can’t take credit for coining my favorite phrase, I think I read it once in a Sirius Decisions blog (and I’ve never been able to find the post since). But I love it. To me it sums up everything about what they buyer’s experience should be, and what rock star sales people do naturally.
In life, we balance effort and value. As we mature, we (hopefully) learn to invest the most effort into the things that will provide the biggest value to our lives. This is true across health, work, marriage and even child rearing (where we quickly learn the true meaning of “pick your battles”). So it probably goes without saying that with any digital marketing campaign or project, we should be considering the required effort and the anticipated value received.
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!
There are two fundamental questions that must be asked when conceiving interactive content: What are we teaching? And, what are we learning? Conceptualizing content as a two-way exchange of valuable and useful information serves everyone—marketing, sales and buyers.
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.