How to Create Interactive Content

How to Create Interactive Content

The internet is overflowing with information. Most businesses and bloggers continue creating content without any strategy.

The result?

Users passively skim articles. Since they don’t engage with your content, they likely won’t derive value and are less likely to remember your brand.

Damn.

There’s a better way that requires active involvement from your audience. It calls for their participation. I am talking about interactive content.

Heard of it?

It’s an engaging way to educate and entertain your audience.

If you hang around on Facebook, then you’ve likely come across an infamous viral BuzzFeed quiz. There was a time when the company got millions of shares for a single quiz. In fact, here’s a list of 21 most popular quizzes by BuzzFeed, where the least popular piece got 150k shares.

I know you might be thinking that “social media shares” is a vanity metric. How would you like to see quizzes convert prospects into hot leads for your business? Well, quizzes can help you generate 10,000+ qualified leads for your business!

Indeed, quizzes are only one type of interactive content. In this guide, you’ll look at the other interactive content types that get active engagement from your audience. They will help you wade through the decreasing attention spans of the consumer and let them reach their desired results sooner.

Are you ready to sweep your audience off their feet with interactive content? Let’s get started!

What Kind Of Information Will Impress Your Audience?

Start with brainstorming on the kind of interactive experience that you can create and “wow” your audience. You can try answering the following questions to get your juices flowing:

  • How can you create an immersive experience for your audience?

  • What kind of customer data will help your marketing efforts?

  • What’s a burning question that might intrigue your audience?

Ramit Sethi has created a luxury brand and promotes a ‘rich life’ through his company I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He targets top-performers that are hungry for professional success and getting more from their careers. On his company homepage, you’re greeted with a quiz that promises to show your earning potential through a ‘custom report.’

Interactive content bring value to your readers

As Ramit directly talks to me and pitches making extra money leveraging my ‘unique strength’, I would love to take his quiz. From my quiz answers, Ramit will learn about my profession, interests, financial status, and decide if I’m a fit for any of his digital products. Can you see how the quiz fetches valuable customer data for I Will Teach You To Be Rich?

Interactive content bringing value to your readers

Note that in return for taking the quiz, he sends me a detailed professional analysis of my earning potential with actionable tips for me. That means it’s a win for the customer as well! Hence, he adds value in exchange of me putting in the effort.

Once you have ideas for content on the table, then move to the next step.

Choose The Right Type of Interactive Content For Your Audience

1. Interactive Infographics

Visual content is easy to consume and an excellent asset to promote your brand. However, with the increase in competition, infographics are now commonplace. An Interactive infographic is a nice step-up as it requires the user to click or scroll. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline by CNN is a great example. Although it’s more like an interactive guide, it does the job of distilling the marvel universe well. 

Interactive content infographics

2. Quizzes

Likely they are the most common type of interactive content. The concept is simple as it requires your audience to answer a few short questions. They offer a fairly quick way to learn more about your audience likes and dislikes while adding value to your users.

So if you want to generate leads through quizzes, I recommend you to begin with repurposing your existing high-performing content.

A great example is the popular Pew Research Center quiz around fake news. It’s a great display of integrating the organization’s mission with a trending issue. Indeed, they use the quiz to distribute a larger piece of research. How cool is that!

Interactive content quizzes

3. Interactive Video

Video in itself is rising sharply in terms of consumption. If users are already spending a lot of time watching your content, it makes sense to add interactive elements to it, right? You can include polls, questions, and any other clickable information that enhances the user experience of the video.

For instance, I’m sure you’ve heard of Bandersnatch. Netflix recently released the interactive movie as a part of its experiment with internet TV. And it had five major endings with a trillion unique permutations. Due to the huge investment required, such a project isn’t practical for most businesses. However, the audience excitement and the enriching data that Netflix collected from its users’ answers show the immense potential of interactive video.

Another well pulled-off interactive video that could you model is by Nicky Case. It uses a simplified model to explain the role of neurons in giving us an anxious or happy brain. You need to interact with the neurons in the video for the narration by Nicky to progress.

Additionally, the video is a gem from a storytelling perspective. It shares Nick’s personal battle with anxiety and his fear of holes. Overall, the video does a great job of explaining advanced concepts of neurons and the connections in the brain with interactive examples.

Interactive content video

4. Calculator

Content marketing is all about serving your audience as efficiently as possible. Hence, if you find that a simple piece of technology is better than creating text content, then you should develop that. A calculator is the most straightforward tool that can provide value to your audience and solve the problems of your audience directly.

In a recent copy weekly episode, Brad Smith from Codeless shared that he has developed such calculators for many of his clients. If you want it cheaply, then you can create one at $7-$15/month at uCalc. Here’s a simple ROI calculator example by Symantec that you can take lessons from before filing a request.

5. Interactive Maps

Go perform a Google search with the phrase “this map shows.” Can you see the number of results and the authority of websites that like to publish such ‘interactive maps?’

Interactive content map

Wouldn’t you fancy getting on CNBC?

Well, besides being loved by media houses, interactive maps are an incredibly useful and beautiful type of content to engage your audience. You can pick up a trend, use data, pop culture references, and the like for creating your map (explore in more detail in the Ahrefs article here).

The interactive map by Nat Geography on bird migration is a great example of how to nail them. It has dynamic and elegant visual storytelling.

Interactive content sample map

6. Contests

Humans love prizes, winning, recognition, and free goodies. A contest combines all of them by offering your target audience an opportunity to win. The best kinds of contests are those that encourage the user to create and share content. It’s the most legitimate form of advertising that generates trust for the brand.

For example, when Warby Parker launched their Home Try-On, they encouraged their customers to share their selfies with #WarbyHomeTryOn. It led to a tremendous engagement on social media and the prospects also got great feedback on their spectacles choices.

Interactive content host contests

You can choose the right content format for your audience based on their demography. If your audience likes consuming casual and entertaining content, but you serve them a data-rich infographic, then you won’t be able to retain their attention.

Choose A Tool To Bring Your Content To Life

Once you have a few interesting ideas and choose a format, you can use the following tools to create useful interactive content for your audience.

Interactive content map unltimate guide

As the name suggests, Mapme is a map builder. It allows you to add locations alongside photos and videos to create an interactive experience. You don’t need coding skills. Plus, you can customize your layout and let your audience add new locations as well as content to your maps.

The tool lists that the following entities use it primarily.

However, you can get creative and integrate photo galleries alongside videos and invite your community to participate. Here’s an example map depicting Obama’s visit to Cuba.

Once you’ve created a map, you can use its embed code and plug it on your site. You can also share it on social media and get higher engagement.

Interactive content snapapp

SnapApp is an interactive content creation powerhouse. It allows you to create a wide range of content types including calculators, quizzes, interactive infographics, contests, whitepapers, polls & surveys, assessments & personality tests, and more.

Here are the key marketing activities where you can use the tool to add an interactive element. 

snapapp Interactive content

Here’s an example interactive PDF created by SnapApp.

Interactive content call to action

Note that it has a question that calls for active participation from the user.

You can view more examples of interactive content created by the tool. Once you begin using the tool, it reports the audience engagement across more than 30 metrics.

Interactive content content tools

ContentTools is a full-fledged content experience service provider. It offers the following solutions on its platform.

Interactive content content tools for websites

If you’re looking for expert interactive content help, then the company is a great fit. It has accumulated millions of views and over 500,000 emails through their content efforts.

Interactive content tools contenttools

You can explore each of their service in the footer links.

Interactive content samples

They also have specific case studies of working with their previous clients here.

It’s Your Turn To Create Interactive Content Now!

Due to the publishing of a large volume of content on the internet, the audience has turned passive towards information. Further, Chartbeat found that the median scroll depth of an article is 60%, which means that users don’t complete what they start reading. That’s why you need to include interactive content in your marketing strategy.

I have shown you a few ways, tools, and examples in the article to get started with crafting high-performing interactive content. Now, you need to take action!

Have you experimented with creating interactive content and what were your results? Let me know in the comments below.

5 Habits of Successful Content Creators

5 Habits of Successful Content Creators

Let me guess:

You love creating content. You’re creatively fulfilled to share your thoughts and feelings with netizens. And you like how your audience showers love and appreciation on you.

Here are a couple of disturbing stats though:

5 habits of successful content creators

Ouch.

That’s depressing for any creator willing to make a living and sees a career in the content industry.

If you’re creating content as a leisure activity, then you’re cool, and the habits in the article are not essential for you. However, if you want content to pay your bills, then the following five habits can catapult your progress. As you might know, the skills required for a professional content creator go beyond writing. Here are the habits that can pave the way for these skills.

1. You have a detailed target audience in mind

Great content creation is about serving an audience. It’s about addressing their pain points and solving their problems. Aaron Orendorff, a top B2B copywriter, believes that every piece of content you write should “rescue your audience from their own personal hell.” Here are the two things he considers great copywriting should encompass -

habits of successful content creators

Note that the size of the audience (especially, at the beginning) need not touch a million. Or even a hundred thousand members. 

As writer Tim Ferriss recommends in the video below, it’s about finding your narrow niche and building a tribe of people that absolutely LOVE your content. It could simply mean as many as “1,000 true fans” that are super connected with everything you create. They alone can sustain your creative career. 

Later on, your superfans might act as your unpaid marketing force and expand your audience to your casual followers. If you look around most successful bands of all time, you’ll almost always be able to credit a huge chunk of their success to such “true” fans. 

For the metal band Slipknot (serving a niche market), it’s “Maggots” (you’re reading an article by one right now)! Justin Bieber also has his set of “Beliebers.”

habits of successful content creators

The actionables for you are: writing and creating content while always keeping a detailed avatar of  “who this content is for” in your mind. If you don’t already have an audience profile, then start with these aspects:

Age:

Gender:

Location:

Interests:

Problems:

You can later also create a detailed audience persona by answering a few questions inside the Make My Persona Tool by HubSpot. When creating content, you focus on keeping your content relevant to your audience above.

2. You are authentic and have a unique voice

Wait But Why is a well-known blog with long-form, insightful content laden with stick figure illustrations (an example below) and funny prose. The author, Tim Urban, has developed such a unique and engaging voice on his blog that he has built it to over a million visitors per month.

habits of successful content creators

Tim doesn’t even focus on a niche - it’s a blog about everything. Further, he doesn’t publish regularly, only “every sometimes.” And Tim’s audience LOVES him. They are often angry if he hasn’t posted new content in a while.

Do you know that 4 million blog posts published every day and hundreds of hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute?

To stand out in the sea of content, you need to:

  • create the best piece of content on the internet on your chosen subject,

  • covering the subject your way i.e. staying authentic and using your own voice.

Now, for starters, finding your voice involves reading a LOT by other writers that you like for inspiration. Also, writing a lot of content to see what fits and works well with your audience. For ensuring consistency in writing, you can begin with designing a style guide. I drafted one for The Ecommerce Academy (T.E.A.) before we kicked off our content calendar.

habits of successful content creators

If you’re a video content creator, then you have even more space to showcase your personality and grab the attention of your audience. Watch Gary Vee in his might on YouTube. He is often over the top and swears, but he inspires “to get shit done.” 

3. You focus on achieving goals (KPIs) through your content

Have you ever been fascinated by the image of a starving artist?

The romantic idea that to create ‘true’ art, you need to wait for your chance. You need to create solely for yourself and live the life of poverty.

Well, I had fallen in love with this image, and I see too many creatives around me worship financial struggle.

Time’s up, people! The image of a starving artist is a myth.

You know what you need to build a sustainable and thriving content creation career?

You need to have a serving mindset. Create while keeping your audience in mind and they will happily help you pay the bills at the end of every month. The way to achieve the same is by associating key performance indicators (KPIs) with your content. A few of these include:

  • Traffic/Video views

  • Social media shares

  • Email signups/YouTube subscribers generated per video

Largely, all of these might turn into vanity metrics. Hence, try to come up with KPIs that directly affect your bottom line. Remember that only conversions can sustain a creative business like yours.

Once you have metrics handy, you can actively choose the high-order activities that matter right now for your business.

It could mean that:

1. You update older pieces of content instead of creating new content pieces.

Why?

Since it provides a higher ROI on your time spent (it’s indeed become a vital blogging strategy to update older content).

2. You allocate time to syndicate and distribute your content instead of writing new pieces as it helps you recruit new audience members.

The takeaway for you? Choose your KPIs and prioritize what’s important every work day. Take help from the first template in this article by Venngage on identifying your high-level business goals.

4. You create content regularly

In 2015, a HubSpot report said that companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get almost 3.5x as much more traffic as the ones that publish 0-4 blog posts.

habits of successful content creators

It’s recommended to upload least one video per week even on YouTube. And a higher frequency can supercharge your channel’s growth.

Creating and publishing regularly sets audience expectations to check out your content at set intervals. Further, it puts you in the habit of shipping, being open to feedback, and honing your creative skill.

The actionable takeaway is to put dates on calendar and respect deadlines (they aren’t suggestions, aye?) You can use a free project management software like Trello for the same. At Graphic Rhythm Designs, we use Asana. Look at our editorial calendar below.

While publishing MORE might help your growth, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Substandard content that turns off your audience will only hurt your business. Your focus should be to stay consistent at a frequency where you can deliver high-quality content.

I recommend you to explore the habits of a few famous writers here and take cues to create your personal daily routine. You might also like looking at the writing process of a few modern writers here.

Remember that if you ALWAYS publish AMAZING content, then your audience won’t mind waiting. Look at the likes of Brian Dean from Backlinko (he built a million dollar business by merely publishing around 60 blog posts). And Michael has only uploaded 378 videos (including his paid content) on YouTube since launching Vsauce in 2010. He has snagged 14M subscribers at a frequency of less than one video per week.

Pro Tip: If you’re the kind of person that gets content ideas on the go, then you can also use an app like Workflowy/Evernote to capture them. Else, you can also archive your ideas in a notebook. Also, a convenient way to brainstorm on new content ideas is thinking in terms of containers. Here are five types of content you can start with (courtesy of Can I Rank?).

5. Leverage data to inform your content creation efforts

Would you prefer 100 views over 10 views putting in the same amount of effort in creation?

Well, then you simply need to perform keyword research to accommodate your content ideas in the language preferred by the users. It involves finding the phrases used by people interested in reading/watching your content. Hence, you can expand your reach by using the language of your audience.

If you’re a blogger, refer my detailed guide on performing intent-based keyword research. If you’re a YouTuber, then watch this 21-minute extensive guide on YouTube keyword research.

Another practical aspect of data is doubling down on the kind of content that fares well with your audience. It’s an asset whose value can increase over time. You can use the popularity of such pieces to amplify your reach. Did I forget to mention that creating such pieces is often easier?

For example, when Mark Schaefer saw his article on content shock go viral, he created follow-up pieces on strategies to battle it and a parable post. Both of them fared decently.

On YouTube, the algorithm calls for creating videos that keep the user engaged and retain them on their platform. Hence, it’s useful to create “clusters of video content” that you can mutually link and promote. Sean Cannell, a YouTube expert, relies on the strategy.

The actionable takeaway for you is to regularly (maybe, every week?) check your Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics reports. Look out for the content pieces that resonated with your audience (generally speaking, engagement metrics should take preference over the vanity of views on your content). Then, create future content pieces with the intel of “what’s working with your visitors.”

Pro Tip: You might like exploring SEMRush research of 22,000 articles here to inform your content optimization efforts.

Conclusion

Here’s how leading blogger and author, James Clear, defines habits: “Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.”

I have shown you around five such habits and hope that you find them valuable. Start with integrating one of these habits in your work routine. I would love to see you go onward and upwards in your content creation efforts!

What do you reckon are the habits of successful content creators? Let me know in the comments.

How to Build an Email list from your YouTube Subscribers

How to Build an Email list from your YouTube Subscribers

Cisco predicts that by 2022, videos will constitute 82% of all internet traffic. Further, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.

If you’re rocking a YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers, then you’re doing it right with audience building. However, as a content creator, YouTube isn’t the best for monetization.

There’s a major flaw in trying to create your content business solely on YouTube: a lack of control. It’s important to build an asset alongside your channel that has standalone value. I am talking about an email list of your raving fans.

Confused why you need to fumble with emails of your audience over the convenient option of letting YouTube handle your subscriber database?

Hear me out, please:

Why do YouTubers need to build an email list?

The four major reasons you should care about an email subscriber over a YouTube subscriber, and build a list are as follows.

1. You OWN your email subscribers

If you run a YouTube channel, it’s not unfamiliar to hear about algorithm changes and regular experiments on the platform. Your video views and subscriber count can drop unexpectedly. Worse, your channel might not align with the network’s policies and get shut down overnight.

Compare that with your email list. It’s solely YOUR audience, and you have a direct entry to their inboxes. You can broadcast emails and build one-to-one relationships by personalizing your message.

2. An email subscriber has a higher tangible value than a YouTube subscriber

In a study of thousands of sellers at Gumroad, email was found having a 4.27x higher conversion rate than YouTube. 

The reason is emails - can be personalized through segmentation. Hence, they get more click-throughs. Which brings me to our next argument...

3. Email marketing suites offer you powerful personalization features

Here’s the first email that Pat Flynn (affiliate marketer and blogger) used to learn about his new subscriber. Based on the answer you click, he shares targeted and relevant resources that suit your stage.

How to Build an Email list from your YouTube Subscribers

It’s impossible to segment your YouTube subscribers and serve them with personalized content in this manner, aye?

Now let’s move on to the specific strategies to build an email audience.

Five Powerful Strategies to Supercharge Your Email List Growth from YouTube

Convinced that you need to build a list? Then, let me show you around five strategies. To avoid overwhelm, you can begin experimentation with a couple of them.

Bonus Tip: You will need a valuable and high-quality lead magnet to persuade your visitors from YouTube. If you don’t have one already, then explore these 11 examples by HubSpot. You could use the same lead magnet to implement all the below strategies.

Bonus Tip #2: Having trouble tracking down the email address of a decision maker? We use a tool called Hunter and have a great success rate with it

1. Put a compelling CTA in your channel header

Noah Kagan, a multi-million entrepreneur, found that 400x more people subscribe to his channel from his channel homepage as compared with videos.

Here’s how his channel header looked initially.

call to action on youtube page

He changed his header with social proof optimized for “people aren’t familiar with his name yet.” His goal was converting the casual YouTube traffic into channel subscribers.

In our case, we want to convert casual browsers into our email subscribers. Hence, you can do something like Miles Beckler does in his channel header shown below.

He sets an expectation of 3 videos per week. Then, uses arrows to point to his “FREE Make Money Online Course.” It redirects to the landing page below soliciting the visitor’s email.

Actionable Tip: Place an order with us for designing a compelling channel header.

2. Link to your website from your videos using cards

YouTube allows you to link to associated websites by using cards in videos as long as they meet the community guidelines. First, you’ll need to join the YouTube partner program and associate your site with your Google account (detailed steps here).

Once your website is associated with your account, then you can add cards by going to the Video Manager. Here are the 8 steps you need to follow.

Note that you don’t need to always link to the homepage. You can point your visitors to specific pages (think landing pages) on your website that are relevant to the video. 

Besides cards, you can also put links to your website inside the video descriptions. Here’s how Ramit Sethi uses the first line in the description of his channel trailer. You can include links to your email subscription page from all the relevant video descriptions.

You could also use your channel trailer to invite people to your website homepage (or a landing page) where you solicit their emails. For example, In his channel trailer, Neil Patel uses a text CTA at the end of the video besides the card linking to his homepage.

neil patel cta youtube

Can you see how every headline and text in the video is benefit-oriented (“generate more traffic...”, “...& gain more customers”, “learn digital marketing in just 5 minutes a day”). Showing explicit benefits compels the readers to take action. 

3. Include a direct CTA in the video script inviting people to subscribe to your list

You might have seen brands asking its followers to ‘RT if you agree!’ on social media. It’s a cheat to bait engagement from users. However, on YouTube, it’s a norm to ask the viewer to “like, comment, and subscribe.” The audience has a much higher appetite for a call to action. It’s even a running joke.

Hence, it’s a great idea to ask your YouTube subscribers to get on your list at the end of all the videos. If you have a persuasive lead magnet that you could offer to your viewers, then tell them to sign up for that. 

For example, towards the end of the video below (at about 18:54), Jorden calls out her viewers to “enroll in her email course on freelance writing.” She also tells them the benefits that joining the course warrants to the aspiring freelance writers.

4. Syndicate your videos on Wistia. Then, use Turnstile…

Content syndication is an efficient way to scale your audience without creating new content. If you’re creating videos, then you could also push them to Wistia. It’s a terrific platform for getting detailed video analytics.

Once you have uploaded your videos on Wistia, it allows you to gate them with landing pages. Here’s a detailed guide on capturing leads using Turnstile.

Syndicate your videos on Wistia. Then, use Turnstile

You could also publish your YouTube videos natively on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram (where your audience hangs out) as video updates have a higher reach than links. Then, in the description of the social media update (or in the first comment), you can invite users to subscribe to your list.

5. Retarget them through YouTube Ads

Do you know that 81% of sales happen after seven or more contacts?

Videos are a great asset to draw people to your brand as they are pleasing for the user. 

However, you likely won’t convert your first-time video viewers into subscribers. That’s where retargeting ads on YouTube can help. It offers the option of targeting the people that have interacted with your channel in the last 30 days. Here are the potential YouTube-related activities that you could use to create remarketing lists.

To get started, you need to connect your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account. Here’s a detailed guide on remarketing to people that watch your videos.

Optional last step: Before we move on to the next section, I recommend spring cleaning your email list regularly. You can run your collected emails by using an email verifying tool. Here’s a case study of a prominent blogger that deleted 13,000 email subscribers with his reasoning on the same.

Case Study: How to use Email and video to complement each other and amplify your marketing results?

Do you plan on selling educational products to your audience? 

Then, email is a genuine relationship building tool.

And what’s the best medium to show off your personality and build a deeper bond with your audience?

Video.

Further, GetResponse found that emails with YouTube videos perform well.

However, email clients might not support videos. Hence, you might need to use a screenshot or an animated GIF to link to your videos. Mateusz, Product Manager at GetResponse, explains in more detail below.

Sending videos to your email list also helps in giving an initial spike of traffic to your YouTube videos and help them rank.

For example, Jorden Roper (a freelance writing coach) sent the following email to her list early this month. Note the date (it’s January 2nd).

She linked to her new video on ‘Writing Samples.’

However, the publishing date of her YouTube video is 7th January 2019. It’s five days from the date she sent the email.

What’s happening?

Well, Jorden is playing it smart to snag initial engagement from her email subscribers on an unlisted video (likely sharing them ‘privately’).

As soon as Jorden presses publish, the video already has gained initial engagement from her raving fans on her email list in the form of likes and views. YouTube loves to see engaged traffic roll in from external sources.

Indeed, the first 24 hours (and then the next seven days) are critical to deciding the ranking of your videos. On seeing early signs of engagement from your list, your YouTube videos could potentially pick top spots for your target keywords. Then, they drive evergreen traffic to your channel!

In this manner, the email list is a terrific way to support your YouTube marketing efforts and vice-versa. In the diagram below, Contently describes how they use the list to create a waterfall of engagement for their blog traffic. The concept applies in the context of creating engagement on your YouTube channel as well. 

Final Thoughts

YouTube is a terrific source of brand exposure. It can help you reach a new audience through your videos every day on autopilot. However, it’s smart to funnel your engaged subscribers into your email list. Then, deepen your bond with them by serving more relevant content to them.

I shared five strategies in the article to help you build an email list from YouTube. And now, I want to hear from you.

Which of the following strategies do you plan to implement on your YouTube channel? Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments.

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