Content marketing can be tricky when it comes to engaging an audience. Drawing them in with an exciting headline and a promise of shareable content is one thing, but keeping them on your site with something that they are genuinely invested in is much harder.
A lot of marketing professionals see very high bounce rates on the websites they manage. This is a symptom of an audience that is interested in the headline or premise of your content, but who quickly becomes bored with it upon arriving at your site. This lack of engagement is something you should aim to fix.
One popular tactic is to use interactive content, but this is not a sure fix; after all, if your audience does not want to interact with it, it won't make a difference. Here are some tips for making sure your content engages:
Tell a story
The beauty of interactivity is that it adds an additional layer of depth to your content that an audience can delve into. However, they are not going to do that unless they are engaged with the top layer, and this is where your story comes in.
Ashley Taylor Anderson from Ceros, a firm that specializes in creating interactive content creation software, said: "Until you decide on a narrative wrapper for your data, all you’ve got are numbers and facts. And numbers and facts don’t make very compelling reading." Fitting them to a story can draw your audience into your content straight away.
Take it a step at a time
Of course, interactivity doesn't have to be about drilling down into data. Quizzes and personality tests have taken off recently, in part because they take the user on a journey - something marketing firm SnapApp recommends. Rather than just learning, they get a feeling of discovery.
This is an experience similar to turning the pages of a book. Rather than being assaulted by a barrage of information, users are able to absorb interesting content in bite-size chunks. This "reduces the amount of information your audience has to process at one time," according to Ion Interactive's Katherine McAdoo, which makes the content more engaging.
Challenge your audience
With interactive content, users can't simply sit back and glaze over; they have to participate. For this to work, your audience needs to be motivated, and there is nothing more motivating than a good challenge. Look at any quiz that get's shared on social media; it will almost always come with a caption along the lines of: "I got 17/20 - can you beat me?"
Writing for the Content Marketing Institute, Yoav Vilner points out that challenging audiences in this way means "snoozing is no longer the preferred option". Provide them with something that they will have to think about in order to get through, and provide them with something rewarding - even if it's just a congratulatory message - if they reach the end.