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Content Marketing Prediction 2012: Interactive Content

What happens when someone asks your opinion about a topic you're particularly passionate about? What if they don't put any restrictions around your answer? Every year for the past four years, Joe Pulizzi and the folks from the Content Marketing Institute do just that. They ask marketing experts from around the globe to predict what they expect from content marketing and social media in the following year. It took me about two seconds to dash off an answer because I think exciting things are on the horizon.

Leading marketing experts weigh in
The Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2012 piece contains opinion from over 75 contributors. The predictions give insight into the future of content and what marketers believe will happen in the next year. It's a good read with a lot of variety if you're thinking about content marketing or planning your strategy for the next year.

Interactive content
My prediction is content is going to be become a lot more sophisticated.

"Brand marketers are going to move into interactive content and do it in the biggest way. As consumers became more accustomed to custom content, they also became more demanding, driving the need for better ways to engage.

[color=orange]Thought leaders in this space will begin to develop content which will lead the viewer on a path of discovery. People enjoy doing things; content giving lots of options to click, open and move around will be viewed longer and more thoroughly. Skimmers will be drawn into spending more time with a particular product. In addition, interactive content will be shared more often on social networking sites.

[color=orange]Interactive content will mean marketers have no choice but to include design into the budget, planning and development of branded content."

Terrific examples
The first time I really understood the power of interactive content was when I ran across an infographic called Get the Facts About Security at the Minerals Make Life website. It's not appealing subject matter – at least not to me – but the infographic lured me into spending a fair bit of time on the site. Each section of the infographic is incomplete until you open more information by clicking a box. Not only did I click on every box, I read every bit of the content as it appeared on the screen. I digested information I wasn't interested in, have bookmarked the page and gone back several times. Isn't that exactly what we wish would happen with all our content?

Another great example is an interactive infographic called Envisioning emerging technology for 2012 and beyond. I challenge you to have a look and not play with the chart.

Why is interactive content so powerful?
Humans possess many different ways of absorbing information. Historically, we've been given our education in some form of text. It's a tried and true method but it's also boring. YouTube has proven consumers accept education and information in video format. The rise of the infographic adds to the mounting evidence we yearn for something different more entertaining and easier to digest. Webinars have become incredibly powerful tools with current research showing the only marketing tactic more effective is in-person events. And then there's social media, the most popular and widespread application of interactive content around.

Interactive content = sticky content
If you view your content as an asset to your business, make it as interactive as possible. (If you don't think content is an asset, you should read my posts on Asset-Based Marketing!) Social media channels, mobile apps and the gaming industry figured out long ago getting audience participation is key to long-term success. Interactive content is sticky. People are attracted to it; they remember the information and they come back to it. It combats the skimmers and engages your target audience. When you think about your content strategy for 2012, think about how you can add some interaction into the mix.

What's your view on interactive content? Have you seen a great example?

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