As social media and online content grows in popularity, interactive storytelling is an essential skill marketers need to succeed this year. Online content marketers need to stay-up-to-date with the current trends. If you don’t stay current and unique, then your content will become buried in people’s newsfeeds. Use interactive storytelling to improve your content marketing and offer appealing, bite-size content that is more engaging and successful than other forms.

To really make an impact with consumers, your online content needs to stand out, both on your website and on your social media platforms. Successful online content today is not the kind that pushes sales and focuses on directly marketing a product and its features. The best performing content today is attention grabbing storytelling that allows consumers to participate through interactive elements.

Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Socialmedia-pm.png

Not only is interactive content more engaging, but it also goes a long way with developing your online presence, with promoting effective branding, and with nurturing leads. Storytelling engages consumers on both a logical level as well as an emotional one. Stories draw people in and hold their attention in a powerful way. As a result, interactive storytelling also improves Search Engine Optimization and Google ranking as visitors spend more time on your website. Read on to learn more.

Examples of Interactive Storytelling Used in Content Marketing:

-National Geographic features the stories and experiences of adventurous travelers on its Instagram page. Breath-taking sites and magical journeys are documented, shared by followers, commented on, and liked.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/natgeo/

-As a sponsor of the 89th Academy Awards, Walmart featured a campaign named “The Receipt,” in which three film directors created shorts based off of one Walmart receipt that listed bananas, wrapping paper, paper towels, scooter, batteries, and video baby monitor. The corporation prompted these film directors to creatively produce a story behind the receipt. Each film turned out completely different, and Walmart also made a donation to The Academy Grants Program for FilmCraft.

-Sometimes the story behind a brand is one of social responsibility and of giving back. Examples include Toms, Warby Parker, Amazon Smile, Faucet Face, and (RED). For example, Toms is a shoe company that donates one pair of shoes for each pair sold. A message of sustainability and green living is another popular storytelling theme with companies like Patagonia.

-In an interactive story about burgers, in collaboration with Burger King, Time Magazine published “What’s the Beef?” The interactive article featured text combined with fun, colorful textboxes featuring information on which burgers are most popular in specific American cities. Data from GrubHub was analyzed to determine which areas of America prefer which burgers, and the data was creatively shared in a visual manner with minimal text and a map.

“What’s the Beef?” published by Time Magazine can be seen below:

 

Photo Credit: http://labs.time.com/story/burger-capitals/

Another effective, interactive element in the article is the ideal burger quiz (see above) that asks the user to add their favorite burger ingredients and toppings. We selected a gluten-free roll with feta, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, ketchup, guacamole, and salsa. After entering the options, the quiz shows that the burger matches up with the ideal burger in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, it informs readers that burger lovers in Washington, D.C. are nine times more likely to order salsa on their burgers than the average, American burger lover.

-In a famous pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps tale, the Steve Jobs narrative shares how he and his business partner Steve Wozniak started Apple in the Jobs’ family garage. Learning about how Jobs and Wozniak fulfilled their American Dream is inspirational and adds to Apple’s branding as a home computer company.

Types of Interactive Storytelling Content include:

-Infographics: Infographics use educational visuals to communicate data and why it matters without boring people with complex numbers and long sections of text.

-Videos: A modern content strategy is incomplete without videos. Blogs and textual website content are not enough anymore. Scroll through big brands’ social media accounts and note how they are publishing video content and video ads. These videos are kept short and sweet to keep people’s attention and keep them coming back.

-Animation: Videos don’t necessarily have to be live-action. Exercise your imagination while creating animations for your business.

-Quizzes: Quizzes like the ideal burger one published by Time Magazine are a fun and interactive way to share a story and the implications of data with a large audience.

-Landing pages: Landing pages are optimized webpages that target segments of an audience. Marketing with landing pages is an excellent method for generating leads, an email marketing list, and for improving sales. You can use landing pages to share stories with specific segments of your audience.

What to Consider with Interactive Storytelling:

When starting to create interactive storytelling content, you need to consider your marketing goals. Are you trying to increase conversions and generate leads? Are you trying to hit a specific audience? Are you trying to raise awareness about a new product you are offering? Here are some elements to take into consideration as you begin:

-Audience: Which stories you are going to tell and which storytelling formats you are going to use should correlate to your audience and what is most compelling for them. If your audience is younger, you may find yourself producing content for websites like Instagram and Snapchat. If you are doing B2B marketing, then you may want to publish to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

-Platform: Once you have identified your audience, you will have a better idea of where to publish your interactive content. Instagram is photo-based and uses short captions. On Instagram, use hashtags, so users will find and share your content. You can ask users to share their experiences with your products. On Pinterest, users share and pin long-format photos to their profile pages, like an online version of scrapbooking. Recipes, DIY projects, and fashion does well on Pinterest. Ads and live videos perform well on Facebook, and Facebook offers multiple types of ads. Stories, photos, interactive filters, and geofilters go viral on Snapchat.

DIY Network’s Pinterest account is an excellent example of interactive storytelling. Their profile page features their pins about DIY wedding projects.

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/diynetwork/?eq=diy&etslf=6019

The Pinterest board on their profile below features Upcycled Projects, showing how everyday items can be turned into functional and beautiful décor.

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/diynetwork/upcycled-projects/

-Video formats: Short videos that are native to a social media platform perform well. You can also use your videos to grow your YouTube following. Note that videos that combine footage with text are also popular and perform well, because they can be viewed and understood with or without audio.

Live videos on social media are another popular form of storytelling. Followers can tune in and watch your live video. Depending on the platform, the videos disappear after the broadcast or followers can view them later.

-Design: As you start developing interactive stories in your online content, you may want to develop design skills to help you tell your stories. For example, you may want to spend some time becoming familiar with simple video editing. Otherwise, practice effective communication with your designer(s) to produce the best story possible.

Once you brainstorm the best story for your audience, take your time to craft the best interactive storytelling content possible. Post it, share it, market it, and test how well it performs. In time, you’ll see how engaging and successful interactive content can be.

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