Story Creator: Time For Engaging and Interactive Content!
Basically, you should have done it some time ago, but if you’re reading this just now—get your act together, because your competitors will leave you far behind. Toss out dull and static content in favor of one that is engaging and interactive, and one that will get you more clicks, shares, conversions, and wider reach.
Some time ago, Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or around the time when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds (source).
Eight seconds. I’m not even going to mention the goldfish. Right now I should be happy that you’ve made it to this paragraph. But my inherent ambition makes me expect more. I do hope it’s the same with you, which is why I’m throwing in here—taking our Story Creator as an example—several ways for how to use your content to grab the attention of your readers for longer. And yes, even of those aged 18-24, among whom in the Microsoft survey the overwhelming majority (77%) responded “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone.”
More life, more formats
Probably some of you, despite what all studies and statistics show, are still desperately holding on to simple and “clean” forms, with one lead photo at most and without unnecessary “disruptors” and “embellishments”. But the thing is that by not including any visual or interactive elements you will make your content stylish at best, but definitely not engaging. And your readers do enjoy pictures, graphics, infographics, surveys, studies, quizzes, tests, GIFs, videos, etc. For instance, did you know that in June 2016 Instagram had reached over 500 million users (source)? Or that every day Facebook users view 8 billion videos (source), while Snapchat users—10 billion? And that YouTube reaches more viewers aged 18+ during prime-time hours than any cable network (source)?
We are living in the digital marketing era, and for the time being—as reported by Ascend2—while nearly one-third (31%) respondents describe the success of their digital marketing activities as “best-in-class” compared to their competitors, a total of 23% still consider their organizations’ efforts unsuccessful. Luckily, 63% of the respondents are aware of the importance of websites and the content that fills them in their efforts towards this success. So…
Play with multimedia
In my last article for FreshMail “How to make press releases more attractive for tech-savvy journalists?” I mentioned Sarah Shepard, Business Wire’s regional VP for New York, who has recently held a presentation at Ragan Communications’ PR and Media Relations Summit in New York on creating multimedia press releases that gain traction.
According to Shepard, it takes 20 touchpoints to convert a prospect, so adding multimedia elements to press releases increases the odds of higher traffic and viewers taking action. How much? Press releases with visuals are shared about 3.5 times more often than plain text releases.
In Story Creator—regardless of whether you take upon yourself to create a press release or a longer piece—you will be able to easily add (drag & drop) both your own and external visuals. Apart from the cover photo, which you should be selecting very carefully as it will constitute the main theme of your story, weave some other photos or a video which will add to your note something you haven’t quite captured into the content of your news. And while you’re at it, don’t forget—if your message is directed at journalists—to make selected materials available for download.
Try not to put them in email—they will clog the inbox, and, what you are getting at after all is to facilitate the media’s work and liaise with them to develop good and lasting relations. Check below how Pixers is doing it:
Do you need to caption a picture downloaded from a stock photo library under the CC BY license? Just enter the author’s details in the field below the pic and each time they will be displayed in smaller font. Additionally, you can add a title to each photo.
Would you like to cite a particular Facebook post or tweet? Just click on the Twitter or Facebook icon on the right sidebar of Story Creator and type in the search engine below the right nick, hashtag or fanpage name (depending on the channel). Our browser also allows you to search the Internet for GIFs: choose one that suits your needs, “grab” it and drag to a location of your liking. It is similar with videos (the vast YouTube and Vimeo library is at your disposal) or your other press releases, parts of which you wish to include. Trust me, this game of content has never been easier and more fun. Each of these multimedia elements can also be pasted in the body text using the embed code. It’s entirely up to you.
Check out how our CEO, Joanna, applies these features:
And if you still need a bit of motivation to start playing this game with us, do your homework and go over the following stirring research results:
– Content Marketing Institute: 51% of B2B marketers emphasized the gravity of developing visual content assets in 2016;
– Brain Rules: when people hear information, it’s likely that after three days they will recall only 10% of that information. But in cases where that information is paired with a related image, people are able to remember as much as 65% of what they have both heard and seen after the same period of time;
– kpcb.com: by 2017, video content will account for almost three quarters of all Internet traffic;
– animoto.com: the number of people who would rather watch a video about a product than read about it is four times as high (by the way, when the email subject line contains the word “video”, the open rates go up by 19% and click-through rates by 65%);
– go.ooyala.com: a little over half of all video views are mobile. It’s 15% more than in 2015 and 203% more than in 2014. What’s more, media kits and corporate journals are now fully responsive;
– nngroup.com: eye-tracking research has shown that users pay attention to information-carrying images that display relevant content. They will spend more time visually examining these images than actually reading the text;
– massplanner.com: infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more often than other any other visual material;
– link.springer.com: people who follow directions that contain text and images do better than those who follow directions without illustrations by an overwhelming 323%;
– buzzsumo.com: in a study of more than one million articles, BuzzSumo found that features containing an image once every 75-100 words got twice as many shares in social media when compared to articles with fewer images.
Interactive means better
Unlike the traditionally presented content (which looks the same for every reader), interactive content is tailored to the specific needs and expectations of individual users and not only makes it fun to be around it, but also forces the reader to take specific action. Scott Brinker, author of ChiefMartec.com, in a guest post for Copyblogger, describes it like this: “By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.”
What do you gain from incorporating this concept in your activities?
- Increase in traffic and page views
- Better conversion
- Improved engagement
- More shares
Interaction is our nature. It helps us better absorb and comprehend what’s new, learn and remember.
Pic: A conversion study by Demand Metric indicates when examining “very effective” content, interactive blows away passive content for educating the buyer.
What types of interactive content can you use?
- Quizzes—if you wish to develop your own, you can use many free software tools, such as this one or this
- Surveys and studies
- Galleries, portfolios—BJ
- Interactive whitepapers and ebooks—with a navigational scheme tailored to the reader—example here
- Infographics with embedded questions, changing titles, etc.—example here.
And many more. Listed below you will find the types that are most widely used by content marketers in USA (polled by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and ion interactive during February and March 2016):
Each of these may be embedded in our Story Creator by means of a generated code. Is it worth doing? These numbers prove it is:
Ready to incorporate more visual and interactive content into your 2017 marketing strategy? Check how we can help you.