With over 4 billion active internet users producing nearly 83,000 blog posts every hour, finding innovative new ways to stand out from the legions of online chaff has become imperative for content marketers across all industries. New techniques such as visual storytelling and interactive content have risen to the fore as creators have been forced to adapt to the new realities of the digital landscape.
If you’re worried about what concrete, actionable steps you can take to elevate your content in an environment that’s noisier than ever, this guide is for you. Attracting and retaining the attention of your target audience has become the new gold standard for online content creation — and while it’s harder than ever — successfully accomplishing this can supercharge your marketing strategy into something that can reliably drive and convert leads to your sales teams.
Marvin Pranger is all about creating & consuming snackable content at Maglr. Marvin firmly believes that memorable content experiences are key in effectively informing, engaging and convincing your audiences. His mission? To replace all static content that is living online.
Piper Thomson works with G2 as a Content Marketing Associate. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, they graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in Sociology. Their interests include podcasts, rock climbing, and understanding how people form systems of knowledge in the digital age.
Dive straight into the leadings trends. This guide is more than just a simple overview of the shiny new toys. We'll show you why you should be using interactive content and how to best leverage it in your digital marketing strategy.
Remember the old days? Companies were confined to tools like PowerPoint, PDF and printed brochures to share their story.
Much marketing and sales content still are distributed as static content to date. In addition, it's never very mobile-friendly in terms of design and use. And that, of course, does not fit in with the experience that brands and companies want to communicate. You want the content experience to be right from start to finish.
The benefit of social media is that everyone has been given a voice. The downside of social media is that everyone has been given a voice.
It changed the way how we currently distribute and consume content. As snackable content. Bite-sized content snacks that quickly satisfy our hunger for information and entertainment.
Before the usage of mobile devices and even for social media, websites and forums were the way to distribute content. Websites were crammed with static pages full of texts and images. Information was sent to you as a Word, PDF or PowerPoint file.
But as our screen became smaller and the way we started consuming content changed, so did the way we had to communicate. Everything became more visual and faster.
4G Internet: kickstarting internet usage on smart phones
Instagram Stories. A new way to share visual stories wrapped in seconds
When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.
We're living in times of a content overload
Our time online and attention is scarce. So it's time to give back more attention to..well, our attention. How? By offering better context experiences. Everyone and everything is connected. Brands and companies are competing to win over our (digital) attention. So it's time to look into how we are delivering content.
Nothing has changed!
With all of the changes in technology and consumer behaviour, companies still keep pushing content that is static, unreadable on mobile devices and unattractive to read. So....
This playbook will show you how to turn static content into engaging experiences. How? By adding more interactive elements to your sales & marketing content.
We’ve come a long way from the mommy bloggers of the early 2000’s. Nowadays there are dozens of content vehicles you can use to reach new audiences. Even if you’re not ready to try something totally out of the box like starting your own podcast, there’s plenty you can do to create content that stands out.
Content marketing is making forays into several new forms of content. Here are 6 of the most notable developments in content marketing today.
Video content has taken over much of the product buying marketplace, with over 50% of people claiming online video has helped them decide which product or brand they want to try. Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) is a natural extension of this, using overlays of information on the real world in order to show the user something that isn’t physically there. Furthermore, this technology isn’t as high-brow as you might think: Over 80% of mid-sized companies are already using AR/VR in some capacity.
Interactive content allows users to more easily form a connection with a brand by engaging with the information they need. A report by Ion Interactive and the Content Marketing Institute shows that 79% of marketers believe interactive content enhances the retention of brand messaging and is superior to most traditional tactics.
Voice activated content is one of the newest up-and-coming trends that opens an entire new avenue for engaging with your target audience. Currently, over 25% of households have a smart speaker, and that number is only expected to grow.
User generated content (UCG) has exploded onto the marketing scene recently thanks to the wild popularity of a single app: TikTok. This has proven to be a fertile field for marketers to introduce their brands and products to legions of new consumers; 90% of consumers trust content that centers around brands if it is made from their peers, so incentivizing this content creation is a quick way to get ahead in the marketplace.
Finally, visual storytelling — while not itself a stand alone content trend — has become a vital part of the execution of contemporary marketing endeavors. Stories allow humans to form emotional bonds and contextualize the world around them, so applying these principles to your next campaign can do wonders to help retain consumer’s attention.
It’s an indisputable fact that the omnipresence of the internet has fundamentally altered the way humans interact, and by extension, changed the way they market their businesses to one another. However, the ascendancy of the online world has led to a strange tension within the discipline of marketing, and content creation is at the forefront of this.
In the past, marketing interactions were based on more personalized human interactions; events such as phone calls, meetings, and pitches dominated the landscape. The internet has caused the number of marketing interactions to grow exponentially, yet the mechanical nature of the internet has made capturing meaningful, substantial actions outside of little things like clicks and views much more difficult.
While content marketing has long been the most effective way to sift through the noise and attract the right viewers with well-written content, the constraints of website architecture made it so that, for many decades, capturing and qualifying leads was a difficult and onerous process, to say the least.
This was clearly unsustainable with the rapidly growing size of content on the internet. The constant barrage of information has lead most humans to have shorter attention spans than goldfish, so they say. But the truth is, capturing and retaining audiences has become a herculean feat.
Luckily, the internet is getting closer and closer to making the effortless realisation of our imaginations a reality. Interactive content has become much easier to execute and can be an amazing tool for finding and capturing the information for targeted visitors to your website.
Not only is interactive content far more engaging to website visitors — a vastly preferable alternative that condenses information into manageable, bite-sized chunks as snackable content — it also makes it easier to identify which of your many viewers could be good leads worth nurturing into a full-blown sale.
According to our friends over at Demand Metric, interactive content is far and away the best choice at educating your target audience. This is what you content should be striving to do always; by showing you understand and can offer solutions for your target audiences wants and needs, you embed yourself in their psyche as an authority in a particular area.
Interactive content is also viewed as effective in-industry: Go-Gulf’s State of Interactive Content Marketing report show that a staggering 93% of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective than traditional static content and 88% believe that well-crafted interactive content is an excellent way to distinguish their brand from that of their competition.
Content Marketing Institute’s report discuss additional benefits as well, stating that 79% of respondents to their report found interactive content to be far more flexible than static content. Interactive content does have a much higher up-front investment to create than a plain old whitepaper, true, but the ease with which it can convey information allow it to be translated across channels far more effectively than the written word.
Furthermore, over 90% of buyers want their content presented in a more visual and interactive fashion, opposed to just 5% who want detailed written reports. Of course, those reports will let you scrape by, but why not give the people what they want?
At this point, you’re probably chomping at the bit to get started with interactive content. Well hold your horses, cowboy! As we mentioned before, interactive content has a high start-up cost associated with it: money if you have someone make it for you, or your own time if you do it yourself.
Rushing forward without thoughtfully considering how best to leverage dynamic content can be just as ruinous to distinguishing your brand as publishing nothing but dry whitepapers for the next 300 years. There are several types of interactive content, and each have specific uses that are tailor-made to accomplish specific initiatives at different parts of the marketing pipeline.
The Content Marketing Institute’s research on the use of interactive content provides us with key insights into the best way to utilize specific pieces of interactive content to best nurture your leads from mere brand awareness all the way to the sales pitch.
According to their research, it’s more effective to start the buyer’s journey with less complex, more interactive pieces of content such as quizzes or games and gradually build up to more educational pieces like an interactive whitepaper in the middle of the process. Buzzfeed popularized this business-model and has transformed what was once considered a silly quiz website into a multi-million dollar affiliate marketing platform.
The final step is providing your potential client with a configurator to help drive home the importance of your business in providing a lasting solution to their problem and showcasing how you’re best equipped to do so.
Of course, one of the most effective ways to make sure the content you’ve laboriously crafted to help nurture your leads is actually reaching their eyes is through a solid marketing automation system. These powerful tools can help you track the ROI of your campaigns, automate multiple workflows, and collect and aggregate prospect information. Using a marketing automation platform to send personalized emails highlighting the appropriate content can go a long way to smooth the user journey for possible conversions.
Below you can find a few of the most successful forms of dynamic content that you should take some time learning the ins-and-outs of.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous forms of interactive content, a good infographic can be a master-class in visual storytelling. There also some of the most shareable forms of content, with many infographics including the HTML code necessary for other blogs to post the information they provide, thus organically extending the reach of the creator’s brand.
Like the face of digital marketing, infographics are evolving. Back in 2014, a static graphic was all the rage and was just the ticket for elevating your brands reach. But now, it’s important to understand that simply presenting an image, while helpful, is not all there is to creating a truly effective piece of interactive content.
A good bit of graphic design software can work wonders in helping you quickly and effectively creating a piece of interactive visual content. Tools such as Canva or Charblocks — while simple — can go a long way in transforming the presentation of your content. These programs can not only help you distill information in an easy to consume format, but it can turn any boring blog post into something more exciting.
And then there is content experience software like Maglr that can turn larges amount of static content into highly visual interactive experiences. Content that will turn a passive reader into an active participant of your content. Interactions that definitely will win over some hearts in the early stage to grow brand awareness and engagement.
“A calculator? Why would anyone need another one of those?” You might be asking yourself. “After all, it’s not like people are visiting my eCommerce website to help them do their taxes.”
Well, my fine feathered friend, as it turns out that some ingenious, mad, incredibly attractive content marketing scientists have devised ways to create calculators that are tailor-made to provide education value for a myriad of different issues that your target audience might be experiencing.
The above picture is an example of how some scrappy content marketing teams have devised a way to deliver tangible solutions, in this case for creating UTM campaigns.
This highlights a key understanding of creating interactive content: identify a problem being experienced by your target audience (in this case, really long and unwieldy URLs) show your audience you understand what they’re dealing with, then offer a solution. The beauty of interactive content is that it makes offering tangible solutions much more satisfying for your readers.
Okay, you’ve piqued their interest and have them coming back to read your content on a regular basis. Now it’s time to seal the deal.
This last example of interactive content is much less flashy than some of the other listed examples. However, if you have a potential lead hooked on your marketing pipeline, this is perhaps the best way to turn them into a customer.
The information and inputs that consumers provide when using interactive content lead to richer profiles, better lead scoring, and improved nurturing of prospects along the buyer’s journey.
Essentially, a “configurator” is a multi step process on your website that helps your prospects find exactly what they’re looking for, with minimal investment of time or effort on their part. These have been used in many eCommerce storefronts for several years. For example, Amazon.com’s book section has a configurator to help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for and easily make a purchase:
However, a configurator has a wider application than simple direct B2C sales. They can be exceptional tools for helping visitors slim down and synthesize information on your website, particularly if you’re offering extremely complex or technical services.
G2.com accomplishes this well with B2B software selection. For example, their category for CRM software allows users to view dozens of software options on a visual display that sorts products based on their user satisfaction and market presence. The configurator for this piece of interactive content can be seen off to the left with the functionality to sort based on market size or other user-defined parameters.
Now that you know how these work, check out the best CPQ Software on the internet to help you identify the needs of your website visitors and offer them long-term solutions that will naturally lead them into a productive sales call with your team.
Regardless of which trend you decided to home in on for your content marketing strategy, one rule remains the same: make sure your content is engaging.
Ask yourself this question: would you want to share or re-read the content your team is putting out? Is there something compelling in your content that provides value other publishers don’t?
If not, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and start creating more snackable content. Are you working up an appetite yet?
These days, content creators are having difficulties in choosing between creating short-form or long-form content to beat the content overload. Even more when they have to take into account the quality, consistency and time it takes to make quality content. And at the same time we are told that our digital attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. Nonsense! We still determine for ourselves where, how and when we want to consume content. But it helps when it is delivered in a bite-sized format.
In the current content marketing landscape, we see that snackable content is perfect for grabbing the (first) attention of the target group. It is often scroll-stopping content that visually stands out. Content that is recognizable, relevant and immediately understood, delivered in a bite-sized format. You would even want to take another bite.
There are two types of snackable content. In most marketing blogs you can read about short-form content that needs to be designed quickly with a focus on mobile-first. This type of content is often shared in the form of short videos, stories, memes, images, GIFs and audio files via social media and messaging apps.
These are content snacks for on-the-go consumption. A principle that, in our eyes, is perfectly executed by Gary Vaynerchuck, as he also describes in his own content model (pdf). The goal is, in the first few seconds of our attention, to gain more reach, views, clicks, likes and shares. And to get the target audience ready for the main course: the long-form or evergreen content.
Compare it to a trailer or teaser of a movie. You often know from the trailer whether you want to see the entire film. And still, you have control over when you want to watch it. And that's how it also works with this type of snackable content. It is an attractive way to satisfy our appetite for more information. Because of the fast, easily scannable and shareable format, it has the potential to reach and engage a larger and wider audience.
A tasty example is Food Inspiration Magazine, who are stimulating readers with beautiful food photography, short blogs and quotes via their social media channels to read the online magazine. Give readers a first taste and let them crave for more.
Snackable content is not just about a quick branded message. Brands and organisations have more to say. But they can't tell it in just a single-sided post on social media or a short blog. And therein lies the challenge for most content creators. They want their long-form content (such as a blog, white paper or e-book) can be enjoyed and consumed just like we do with smaller bite-sized content. Our brain loves images, which are much easier to digest and remember than text only. Meaning: we need to let readers enjoy every bite they take.
But how can you present and design a large amount of content in such a way that every (relevant) information is crystal clear at a glance? You need to shorten texts and support them with descriptive images, graphs and headlines. This way, you provide a clear structure and layout. Content that is easy on the eyes and can be understood quickly. Make it snackable! Arouse the curiosity of the reader and invite them to take another bite, as this example of the BBC shows.
Snackable content contains anything but empty calories. In those few seconds that you gained the reader's attention, you have the opportunity to involve them with your content. And with the available technology and tools of today, we are now able to add interactive elements to it. As a result, for example, longreads offer readers a new reading experience in a bite-sized form.
Publications such as Millennials are screwed by Highline (Huffpost) or Retour Rumoer by NOS show that you can captivate and engage readers for minutes with a well-thought-out mix of interactivity, animation, images and text. Snackable content that is finger-lickin' good.
You can see the impact of snackable content through various metrics. Short-form content is perfect for data-insights such as reach, clicks and shares. Long-form content however offers more insights into the reading behaviour of the target group, such as average session duration, scroll depth, click-through rate, bounce and even conversion percentages.
With both this quantitative and qualitative data you can assess how snackable content contributes to the needs of the target group. Once you know what they like, you can serve your returning visitors!
Finding innovative ways to stand out from the legions of online clutter has become imperative for content marketers. And when it comes to sales & marketing content, nothing much has changed over the past 20 years. Until this day, companies are still using tools like PowerPoint and PDF while consumers demand mobile-friendly, visual and engaging content. Therefore, attracting and retaining the attention of your target audience has become the new gold standard for online content creation.
Content that is fit for 2020
Content marketing is making forays into several new forms of content. And one of the most notable trends today are interactive content and visual storytelling. Interactive content allows users to more easily form a connection with a brand by engaging with the information they need. Visual storytelling has become a vital part of the execution of contemporary marketing endeavors, because if you can’t display your content as understandable snackable content, you will lose your audience.
There’s data to prove it
Content Marketing Institute’s report discusses additional benefits, stating that 79% of respondents to their report found interactive content to be far more flexible than static content. Interactive content does have a much higher up-front investment to create than a plain old white paper, true, but the ease with which it can convey information allow it to be translated across channels far more effectively than the written word.
How-to: interactive content
Interactive content enables you to deliver engaging, educational, differentiated content experiences. Content that will help you nurture your target audience from mere brand awareness all the way to the sales pitch. From informative infographics at an early stage to configurators to help your prospects at the final stage; one rule remains the same: make sure your content is helpful and engaging.
Back at the menu: snackable content
We know that it can be hard to stand out with your content. But it helps when it is delivered in a bite-sized format. Make it snackable! Create visually engaging and interactive pieces of content that will invite your audience to take another bite. And once you know what they like, it is much easier to retain your happy consumers.
So what type of content do you want to serve your audience?
We hope you've enjoyed reading this playbook. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues or friends via mail or social media. We would only appreciate it! Thank you for your valuable time!
G2 and Maglr have joined forces in this playbook to show you how interactive content offers an opportunity to differentiate your brand and engage your audience.
G2 is the world’s largest tech marketplace where businesses can discover, review, and manage the technology they need to reach their potential.
Headquartered in Chicago, G2.com is revolutionizing the way businesses discover, buy and manage software and services. More than three million users per month rely on G2 to help them find and buy the best software for their businesses. The platform has more than a million verified reviews and $100M in total funding invested by IVP, Accel Partners, LinkedIn, Emergence Capital, Pritzker Group, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures, industry leaders and founders. G2's customers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM and Zoom and Its most recent funding, a $55M Series C, was announced in October, closely followed by the company's acquisitions of Siftery and Advocately.
Maglr is the platform that empowers companies to create interactive content for sales & marketing communications. Join our mission to replace all static content with better content experiences. Content that is visual, engaging and measurable.
We offer a content creation platform where your ideas can come to life. An easy-to-use tool for marketers and designers to improve their corporate content, without having to write a single line of code. Discover our drag-and-drop Block and advanced Pro editor. NOTE: This playbook was created with the Block editor