One of the biggest challenges that digital PR practitioners face today is getting their client noticed by customers. In addition, they work very hard at differentiating their clients from their competitors in the market with the help of social media, articles, and blogs.
Customers are bombarded with volumes of information every day through their laptops, smartphones and tablets. In order to grab and hold their attention, PR professionals need to stop selling and start engaging.
Herein lies the importance of interactive content.
The last thing modern customers want to do is sieve through a pile of data for a small piece of pertinent information. It is, therefore, necessary for marketers and PR practitioners to whip up creative ways to not only gain audiences’ attention, but also keep them engaged.
Speaking of interactive content, here are a few interesting facts:
Interactive content is sometimes also known as interactive media or active content.
Wikipedia defines it as, “a method of communication in which the output from the media comes from the input of the users. Interactive media works with the user's participation. The media still has the same purpose but the user's input adds interaction and brings interesting features to the system for better enjoyment.”
With the virtual world being bombarded with content every day, the criticality of interactive content cannot be undermined. This, however, does not imply that your blogging efforts take a back seat. Digital PR recognizes this, which is why it now advocates supplementing text with interactive and interesting content that directly adds value to users and customers.
Wondering how you can use interactive content? Here are a few ways in which it is being used by businesses currently:
One of the most effective ways of providing information to people in a manner that is easily comprehensible is through infographics. For even greater efficiency, you can make them interactive with embedded questions, flip tiles, flexible user paths, and so on.
Interactive infographics enable readers to click, zoom, pan, and more. If you create an infographic replete with useful, valuable information, you can attract potential leads, who can explore it and focus on the information that is most interesting or relevant to them.
Another great form of presenting interactive content is by incorporating polling features that allow users to express their opinions. For companies, it's not just about building a website but also incorporating various features in it to study visitors’ response to a certain issue which, in turn, makes the latter feel like their opinion matters.
Not only is it easy to keep visitors involved through this tool, it is also cheap to implement. Several online plugins and add-ons can be used to add this tool to your website for a negligible cost.
Who doesn’t like trying their hand at those interesting brainteasers and quizzes that show up in social media feeds? How about engaging your customers with this tool? All you need to do is formulate an industry-specific quiz and share it on your social media accounts for followers to complete and share it themselves.
Ending the quiz with a call-to-action or a form to sign up for your newsletter can eventually result in several new leads for your company.
Reveal-based interactive content involves advertisements or features that activate users’ curiosity and tempt them into taking a particular action in order to see/know more. According to Adweek, a recent Macy’s ‘reveal based’ banner ad saw “the average person spends more than three minutes interacting with the unit, and the interaction rate was 921 percent”.
Examples of reveal-based marketing include:
Games: Customers are offered promotions and discounts that require them to scratch away, spin, or play a flash game, and then reveal a hidden deal.
Problem Solving: Customers are offered promotions and discounts that require them to draw a picture, build a puzzle, or solve a riddle in order to be able to see more.
Motion Interactions: Customers are offered promotions and discounts that require them to move, shake, tilt, blink, or jump to reveal further information.
Galleries and Brackets: As visual marketing continues to gain momentum, businesses are cashing in on this phenomenon and using galleries to stimulate interaction with customers. Apart from using them to display their products, they can showcase their portfolios, ideas, customer examples, event highlights, among other things to promote their brand.
According to SnapApp, “Determined by participant votes, brackets pit a series of competitors head-to-head in a round-by-round voting format, until a winner is reached. Common examples include:
SnapApp also opines that brackets are an effective way of engaging users for long periods of time through blogs and other motionless pieces of content.
Value-Adding Features: These are distinctive forms of interactive content that harmonize with a brand’s central offerings and add value to them. For example, car dealers often combine simple product features that let buyers calculate their monthly installments for the vehicle they’re looking to buy. Doing so adds value to the core product, i.e. the car, by encouraging the buyer to make a purchase.
Interactive marketing is great for PR as it focuses more on building a relationship with customers by engaging them in conversation than on making immediate sales. The explosion of social media has given rise to several opportunities for digital PR professionals to make interactive marketing easier than ever.
Let’s take a look at how well-known companies are putting it to use, and how you can too.
Coca Cola made use of referral and social marketing to boost interaction with customers. The ‘Share a Coke with...’ campaign substituted their iconic logo with people’s names and invited customers to share a Coke with their friends. The ‘#shareacoke’ hashtag generated over 340,000 posts on Instagram and enjoyed a 96% positive (or neutral) customer reception. That was a dream-come-true for Coca Cola!
What Coca Cola is trying to convey here is that sharing a Coke with someone is about more than just enjoying the drink. It’s about getting together with people, making a memory with them, and capturing a moment in time. A bottle of Coke with a person’s name inscribed on it works as the primary driver of that memory, and brings Coca Cola more customers.
Jack Daniels (JD) enables interaction by encouraging their customers to share their bizarre drinking stories. These could be interesting, intriguing or even action-packed; anything that would make a great bar tale. This was done under the campaign named ‘The Few & Far Between’.
While some of the stories involve mentions of brand Jack Daniels, others do not talk about JD at all, but are still funny and share-worthy. Unlike Coca Cola, where the brand name is used explicitly, JD is more subtle. It lingers in the background, yet is noticeable and leaves a mark in customers’ minds.
With interactive content, brands can encourage customers to share their story from a particular industry, which can help strengthen brand awareness. They can bring together customer stories in the form of snippets of media and images to weave a tale about nearly anything and promote themselves in the process.
This campaign was created to raise awareness about ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and, in the process, raise money for it. The campaign involved celebrities pouring a bucket of icy-cold water over themselves and tagging their celeb friends to go next. It went viral in no time and raised over million dollars.
For many, it was the viral-ity of tagging friends to participate and record their reaction is what made the challenge memorable. Further, the campaign started during the hottest time of year, so participants were happy to cool off and simultaneously support a good cause.
Interactive content can turn to be the most powerful tool for startups that usually find it difficult to engage with the audience. Practices like interactive polling and quizzes can help in creating hype about your startup before you even launch it, thus creating a strong audience with minimum efforts. There are several effective ways to implement PR for your startups on similar lines.
The important thing about interactive content is that it focuses on the customer and their response rather than on the brand and its benefits. That’s what good PR is all about. If used effectively, your content can go viral and fetch PR practitioners and their clients the response they’ve always aspired for. Creating such content may be challenging, but with the changing face of digital PR (thanks to interactive content), it surely isn’t impossible.
Author bio: Taral Patel is PR Executive at PRmention, a Digital PR Agency.
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