Users are getting sick of force-fed content, just as they’re sick of ads.
Consumers want to feel that they’re an active and willing part of the experience; otherwise, they might feel manipulated or ignored.
How can you create content and experiences that assuage those feelings of alienation? One key is to use interactive content, which gives users more influence and a greater connection.
Interactive content makes the user an active and engaged part of the experience, either by responding to user input with new material or by giving users something to do in coordination with the existing material.
It’s easier to understand interactive content by studying examples, rather than through its technical definition. Here are popular types of interactive content, which you can use in your own campaign:
1. Quizzes. When you first see the term “quizzes,” you might think about social media clickbait such as, “Which ‘Game of Thrones’ character are you?” You can, however, create more serious, practical types of quizzes, such as guiding users in understanding their current medical needs if you’re writing for a hospital. Even if your quiz is just a few questions, it engages users more deeply than most types of content do.
2. Calculators. Calculators help readers understand certain numerical concepts; for example, you might use an online calculator to estimate the effects of compound interest in investing. You could also use a calculator to help customers come up with quotes for your work or their pressing needs, such as the square footage of their house.
3. Customizable content. This format is difficult to pull off, but there are many ways to approach it. The idea is to present slightly different types of content based on the individual who accesses it; for example, you might have a flow chart that leads users to different eventual results, or you might encourage different users to read different follow-ups to the original piece.
4. Worksheets. These get your readers involved. Often printable (or at least easily saved), these items give users a chance to experiment with a concept you’ve described in your main content. For example, you could give them an editorial calendar template to fill out on their own.
5. Interactive videos. You can also make your videos interactive in several ways. For example, you could include more clickable pop-up bubbles or guide users through step-by-step instructions—affording them time, of course, so they can follow along.