How Interactive Content is Changing the Digital PR Industry
There is a lot of debate over the definition of Web 2.0.
Google it and you will get a number of definitions, probably with similar undertones. For instance, this specific definition of Web 2.0 says, “Web 2.0 is a term that describes the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and Web design that aim to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, increase collaboration, and improve the functionality of the Web as we know it (Web 1.0).”
In a nutshell, it refers to the way how we utilize the Web at present as it goes without saying that there has been a tectonic shift in how web pages are created, designed and used by the end-users.
Web 2.0 is also characterized by a massive change in the way content is created and shared. Today, we have a number of personal blogging platforms, content sharing sites, social media channels, etc., which provide ample opportunities for the creation of dynamic, interactive content.
How different is interactive content from the normal content?
The basic difference between interactive content and normal content is that the users can interact with the former and are easily lured into taking a call-to-action. Apart from text and images, interactive content includes games, animation, GIFs, videos, quizzes, polls, interactive infographics, interactive white papers, etc.
Sample these statistics, which favor interactive content:
- Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than those without.
- Users who view video are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t view videos.
- Mobile video plays exceeded 44% by mid-2015, which was an 844% rise since 2012.
- Infographics are 3 times more liked and shared on social media as compared to other types of content.
This means that when you want to boost page views, you’ll require more than an article plus a picture as the target audience wants to see the more visual content, preferably interactive in nature.
How the digital PR industry benefits from interactive content?
Interactive content is transforming the way we see and use content for marketing purposes. Moreover, it is more personal and challenging to create. But once it is out there on social media channels and other platforms, there is no looking back as it can do wonders for any brand or business.
The digital PR industry, in particular, benefits greatly from interactive content
This is because interactive content:
Helps retain users’ attention spans
People nowadays have the attention span less than that of a goldfish! Add to this the fact that they process visuals a staggering 600,000 times faster than text. What does this tell you?
- Bite-sized content is easily consumed by the users
- Any information, however complex, can be made interesting by going interactive
A lot of planning is definitely required for this, but ultimately, it is going to be worth the efforts.
Involves the users easily
Given a choice between a long-form article on an ongoing crisis and an infographic about the same, which one do you think will capture your audience’s attention? The infographic wins hands down.
Interactive content allows your target audience to closely get involved with the content created and presented beautifully. It immerses them in the storytelling and gets them to emote or to take a call-to-action on their own.
The Guardian’s interactive World War 1 documentary is an apt example of making the target audience get involved deeply in a content. The same can be said for The Fallen of World War II, an interactive documentary created by Neil Harollan. Both these documentaries are excellent resources for learning about the two wars that are an important part of world history. Had these documentaries been presented in the form of text and images, they wouldn’t have made that strong an impact on the minds of the viewers!
Increases social engagement
Visual, interactive content will any day, anytime, ensure more engagement as compared to text. The more people will interact with the content, the more calls-to-action they will take such as hitting the like, share or comment buttons. This leads to an increase in social engagement, which translates into a stronger relationship with the brand or business.
You probably have been living under a rock if you don’t know what the heck is the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
Promoted heavily on social media, the challenge was to raise awareness of ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The foundation spread the awareness and raised money simply by making people have fun, record it and tag other participants, thereby creating a chain. It broke the internet!
This is the power of interactive content and this is exactly how brands can leverage it to raise awareness about their products and services.
Helps collect data
Data collection is one of the most vital steps of the decision-making process and planning future strategies.
Interactive content helps PR professionals get tons of information about their end-users known as ‘interaction data’. It helps them know the number of target users who have taken a call-to-action on their page such as liking a post, sharing it or clicking on the link to visit the website. This data proves to be vital for implementing their new, improved strategies.
The role of social media in interactive content marketing
Since we are talking about interactive content, it’d be completely unfair not to mention about social media. According to CIO, Facebook has about 1.55 billion monthly active users, while its recently acquired content sharing app Instagram has more than 400 million monthly active users. Its arch-rival Twitter may be lagging behind, but still, it happens to be one of the best and the biggest social media platforms that exists. The micro-blogging social media platform closed the third quarter of 2015 with 320 million monthly active users. Also, Pinterest surpassed 100 million monthly active users along with LinkedIn.
Because a vast majority of their target audience are on these and countless other social media platforms, digital PR professionals have no choice but to include social media in their content marketing strategies.
The following examples are testimony to this fact:
- Heineken Brazil’s ‘Um Like Um Balao’ (One Like One Balloon) campaign earned them thousands of followers in just a few days.
- Red Bull’s Instagram campaign, which took the popular image sharing social media platform to the streets. Literally!
- Hilary Clinton used Snapchat to reach out to young supporters in 2015.
Therefore, it is evident that by using social media as a tool, PR professionals can take their game many notches high.
It helps them to directly reach out to their consumers, gain deeper insights, keep a track of the trends, analyze consumer behavior and constantly improve their existing strategies to stay ahead in the race.
Even startups are not far behind from getting benefited from interactive content. Creation of outstanding content, with which the end-users can interact, is the best route that they can take and get noticed. They can share their expertise and slowly but surely, make an impact on their target audience.
For them, interactive content creates the simple chain of:
With a focus on this chain, PR professionals can work on increasing startups’ exposure and credibility on the market and thus successfully implement PR for startups.
Interactive content is one of the best and the most powerful tool, which has the potential to attract target users amidst an overabundance of content. It is up to the PR professionals how they use it to their advantage and implement it to guarantee the best results.
Taral Patel is PR Executive at PRmention, a digital PR agency. Being closely associated with digital marketing industry, he has good knowledge about how modern digital marketing methods can be applied in a PR strategy. You can connect with him on Twitter @connect2taral