If you’re a marketer, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the tried and tested method of creating interactive content in pdf form and putting it behind a lead generation form. This has been a staple of B2B marketing for some time and is set to remain so, for now at least.
Innovations continue to change the way we work and it’s interesting to see what the future has in store for us. Let’s see what a departure from the traditional model may look like as we develop alternative models of sharing content and generating leads.
Moving away from static content
For some years, B2B inbound marketing has relied on a fairly well-established model for releasing content and generating leads. Content like whitepapers, eBooks and case studies are generally released in pdf form, often behind a lead form, to be downloaded by the user.
There are two strands of logic behind this approach. The first is that, by putting valuable content behind a contact form, marketing managers can derive qualified marketing leads from content they’ve created.
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The second is that the act of downloading a pdf file filters out readers that have less interest in exploring the true value of the content. The pdf, together with its lead form accomplice, effectively act as a barrier to ensure that your content is read by more of the right kind of people.
The approach certainly has many benefits and always will. But it’s likely we’ll see new approaches in the future as marketers look to attract and engage readers in different and inventive ways.
A different alternative for marketers
One of the new approaches we could see is marketers creating content as usual and publishing it on their website in much the same way you would with a blog or services page. That’ll open your most valuable content to a wider audience, resulting in more exposure and engagement. But there’s an opportunity to go even further.
Since the earliest days of the internet, it’s been a long-held mantra that heavy chunks of text are less effective than a more visually engaging alternative.
This rule largely holds true today. And that’s why today’s marketers are finding value in going one step further and creating interactive, visually engaging eBooks, case studies and whitepapers.
Defining interactive content
Interactive content can be loosely defined as anything that requires the user to actively engage in the content, or something that changes depending on the user’s action. In short, that’s content and UI rolled into one. With interactive content, you’re working with two main objectives:
- Making it easier for users to find the most valuable information
- Creating easier to digest information
This mindset is particularly well suited to eBook and Whitepaper type content. This information is often weighty, technical, and research-heavy. Making this content more interactive is a great way to make this more digestible, without sacrificing quality or depth of content. The trick is to boil information down to what’s really valuable and find innovative ways of drawing user’s attention to it. Here are a few examples of this in practice.
• Interactive data
An excellent example by Lucidworks demonstrates how data can be bought to life through intelligent copy and design. This interactive infographic on dark data pulls out statistics that would otherwise be buried pages within a pdf and guides the user through a journey that moulds this information into a story.
If the user makes it to the bottom of the page, they’ll encounter a contact form – which is a great way of ensuring collecting leads without creating unnecessary barriers to the content.
• Annual report
Another example comes global German giant Volkswagen, who successfully animated the main takeaways from their annual financial report in this interactive landing page. The most important information is easily accessible and draws attention towards the most eye-catching figures.
The best part of this approach is it attracts attention and then draws users towards the more detailed full report. This is a fantastic way of repurposing detailed information without sacrificing detail and context for those who want to explore further.
Moving away from a tried and tested way of doing marketing is always going to be difficult. Many have found success in a staggered approach, by creating interactive content and then including a traditional pdf download for those users who want to explore further.
It’s not always a straight dichotomy between something new and scary, or something tried and tested.
As marketers, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our audiences and drive traffic. Making content more interactive and engaging is a fantastic way of achieving this. And as time goes on, it’s likely this will become something we’ll start to see more of.