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:
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.
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
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.
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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
6. Subjects that encourage debate.
Choose topics that naturally encourage users to communicate with one
another, creating a conversation around your work. You could ask your users
a direct question, for example, or post new information about a
Interactive content holds many advantages, but these are three of the most powerful:
Engaged consumers are more likely to develop brand loyalty, which means
they’ll probably return to you for their content or consumer needs.
Next, because your content is more engaging, it’s more likely to be
shared and show up in outside newsfeeds. Overall, interactive content
is more visible, which will draw more traffic to your website and earn
more attention for your brand.
Few people offer interactive content to their users. If you do so,
you’ll set yourself apart from the crowd.
If you want to
get the most out of your interactive content, focus on these best practices:
Remember your audience.
Your readers make your content succeed or fail. Make sure your
interactive pieces fulfill readers’ wants and needs.
Update your content.
Keep your pieces up to date; revisit them to respond to commenters and
Interactive content often involves extra mechanics and functionalities,
so make sure you
test everything—thoroughly—before you publish the final version.
Reward your users for interacting.
Respond to your users. Thank them. Do whatever it takes to reward them
Learn and improve.
Pay attention to your users’ feedback to find out what they like and
don’t like, and update your strategy accordingly.
By making these types of interactive content a bigger part of your campaign
and by refocusing on your users’ wants and needs, you’ll earn more
readership and greater customer retention.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher and business
consultant. She is also a columnist for Entrepreneur and The Huffington
Post. Follow her on