It’s an Honor Just to Be NominatedBut don’t nominate a format just because it’s shiny and new. You choose the format based on the message, not the other way around. What is the best format to deliver the message in an effective way? Take some time to determine which formats have the best potential for telling your story in a way that resonates with your audience’s evolving tastes and preferences. Several members of the Content4Demand team explored a variety of engaging interactive formats in a webinar called “Content Marketing Hit-Makers: Audience-Centric Formats You Need to Add to Your Catalog.” Some time has passed since we first aired the webinar, but its takeaways are as relevant as ever. Alicia Esposito, Dana Harder and Steve Voith packed their jam session with a playlist of the top interactive content formats (as well as some audience-centric static formats. They presented real-world examples of how brands like Oracle and Nasdaq have been playing them formats appreciative B2B audiences. Here’s a sampling of the interactive formats our content rockstars covered in the webinar.
iPapersThis modernized version of the white paper draws readers in, allowing them to scroll through an experience where callouts animate on-screen and important statistics pulse to grab readers’ attention. The iPaper dynamically renders on all screens, with collapsible and expandable sections that allow buyers to self-navigate through the information. These bells and whistles give readers the opportunity to consume a big-rock asset in a new, engaging way.
ListiclesThis short-form asset type is likewise getting lots of play, combining a quick review of a topic with interesting visuals and links out to related information. Dana calls this “the Buzzfeed of the B2B world”—condensed information that buyers can comb through quickly to get what they need. Very visual with minimal copy. You can embed videos, quizzes, instant share links for social media, or even other assets.
Interactive InfographicsInfographics have long been an engaging staple of content marketing. The addition of interactivity takes data visualization to the next level. The best examples of infographics are so much more than data dumps. Each statistic or piece of information follows logically to tell a story. Keep the experience clean and uncluttered, with animations that draw attention to key stats but don’t get in the way of a quick navigation.
Case Study PortfoliosBuyers love case studies, but they’re not likely to comb your site to dig up the customer examples you want them to see. By showcasing your best customer successes in an interactive storytelling format, you can draw them into the challenge/solution in a way that’s more accessible and relevant.
Podcasts & VideosBuyers are hungry for more on-demand content, and these are two incredibly popular on-demand formats. Both allow you to take unique approaches to storytelling—and to how you promote your content. Both are personal and immediate. Listeners can take podcasts wherever they want, and when they’re done well, they allow you to develop a loyal following. Most will shy away from podcasts that focus on products, so this format is best when you have thought leadership to share, and tips that will satisfy your listeners. Video, on the other hand, can be a great vehicle for sharing product information—particularly for demonstrating complex products that require visual and audio explanation. Keep them to 45 seconds or less, when viewers drop off. Cox Media took a creative approach to promoting podcasts by embedding them in their “A Day in the Life of a Smartphone User” interactive infographic. And Nasdaq demonstrates the perfect execution of explaining a complicated product in its Nasdaq PSX video. (Both are featured in the webinar.)
To take a deeper dive into these and other audience-centric formats, I strongly recommend that you watch the entire webinar. In addition to accessing some instructive samples, you’ll hear all kinds of tips and best practices to help you execute these popular formats with award-winning style. If you’d like to learn more or work with Content4Demand to create your own audience-centric content, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.