As modern PR professionals, it’s impossible to avoid hearing the phrase “content is king.” Content creation is important, especially within the PR and communication industries, but with an estimated 27 million pieces of content being published each day, it seems impossible to stand out and make a lasting impression with your intended audience.
Creating interactive content can stimulate interest from users and provoke positive engagement.
What is interactive content and why it is helpful
As implied by its name, interactive content involves a participatory element for users. Interactive content is often organized into the following categories:
- Interactive eBooks, infographs, and white papers
At its most basic level, interactive content is useful because people often learn better by active involvement. A University of Chicago-led experiment found that students who participated in the learning process scored seven percent higher on quizzes than students who learned simply by observation.
The participatory element in interactive content mimics the activity in this study. Presenting your audience with interactive content makes them involved in the process of learning about your organization and its message, which could increase the likelihood that they’ll remember key brand facts.
Well-known websites have popularized interactive content in recent years. In particular, Buzzfeed has made themselves an authority on a variety of interactive content, especially quizzes. Their quizzes, such as “This Quiz Will Reveal Who You Are Based On Your Salad Preferences” and “Which Cartoon Cities Would You Rather Live In?”, offer users quick access to humorous entertainment and easy-to-share results, which leads to large engagement numbers for the site. In January 2014, Buzzfeed’s top ten shared stories were all quizzes, and they led the most monthly article likes on Facebook by nearly 4 million in March 2014.
Additionally, The New York Times experienced significant success with their quiz “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.” The quiz was based on questions from Harvard’s Dialect Survey. Josh Katz, a graphics editor for The New York Times, evaluated 350,000 responses and created heat maps to indicate the probability that someone from a specific region would reply with the same answer the quiz taker selected. The quiz was shared millions of times and became the most popular piece of content in 2013 within 11 days.
Interactive content and PR
Although interactive content seemingly falls under the umbrella of content marketing, and therefore the responsibility of a marketer, these interactive elements possess value for PR professionals, as well. The core functions of PR involve forging and maintaining relationships and sharing a company’s message, and interactive content allows professionals to achieve these goals.
A survey from Ion Interactive found that 88 percent of those questioned said interactive content helped separate their business from competitors, while only 55 percent believed the same thing about static content. With the endless stream of content being published by other organizations, especially by direct competitors, interactive content can help your organization stand out and make connections with your intended audience.
Once you stand out from your competition, you need to interest your audience to ensure they remain engaged with and informed about your brand. Different types of interactive content can offer an appealing interaction to educate your audience.
For example, quizzes can broaden the reach of your company’s name. Consider a cupcake bakery that wants to increase its audience and forge connections with new people. A quiz, such as “What Type of Cupcake Matches Your Personality,” offers an entertaining content-based experience for users. Making the quiz results brand-appropriate and shareable allows the quiz takers to publish their answers on social media, which allows the company to reach new people via the quiz takers’ social networks.
The engaging, participatory elements of interactive content provide a multitude of opportunities for PR professionals. With thoughtful design and integration, interactive content holds the potential for improved engagement, retention of brand information, and to reach new audiences.