This is a guest post by Tea Silvestre of ProsperitysKitchen.com.
(How to create kick ass content that gets put to use, rather than just downloaded and forgotten)
There’s a glut of information available on the web today – and now that everyone’s building their lists with a free download, our hard drives all have a bad case of infobesity.
Don’t lie. You know yours does, too.
I’ve seen a variety of statistics on the topic, but most agree that somewhere in the neighborhood of 85% of all web content and info never gets put to use.
Makes you say, “hmm.” Doesn’t it?
Here’s the awful truth: if you hope to attract and retain new clients, you need to be able to show prospects your value via the real outcomes you’ve helped past clients achieve.
And there will only be real outcomes if those folks take action.
It’s a vicious circle, and one that’s bound and determined to continue…at least until you figure out how to get all those folks who download your kingly content to do something with it.
Experience vs. Content
Alright. So we’ve established that content by itself is no longer King of all the Interwebz. Useful for attracting visitors, yes. But marketing King? Nope.
The thing that’ll make or break your business – especially if you don’t have a brick and mortar shop to call your own – is your ability to create an engaging experience for your readers, visitors and prospects.
Lucky us. Technology makes this easier and easier every day.
So why are you still relying on a PDF or a blog post when you could create a 3-dimensional, multi-media experience?
If you read Denise’s blog at all, you already know you need to have strong calls to action at the end of your blog posts. That’s because every time you ask a reader to do something (and they follow through), they are that much more likely to take the next step. And the next. And the next…
Every little action – even if it’s just clicking a button — can add up to something quite profound for your reader (and potentially profitable for you). With that in mind, what we want to aim for then is content that’s highly interactive. And yes, asking for a comment to a blog post is a great start. But we can do better.
Beyond the Content: Engaging Your Website Visitors
These suggestions aren’t necessarily new – but if you’re not using them, it’s time to seriously consider starting. And while there are probably many more ways to create engagement with your prospects, these categories specifically encourage community and group interaction – something that’s proven to get and keep people more engaged than if they’re passively reading or watching something on their own.
1. Host regular interactive events – These might be Twitter Chats (use the TweetChat.com interface to make things easier); Google hangouts; or even podcasts (BlogTalkRadio is a great way to get started). These types of events are better than traditional webinars or telecasts because they’re more inclusive of audience feedback and encourage conversations rather than just one person speaking in one direction (to a passive audience). Just be sure to publish the event time/hashtag invite prominently on your site with a link to instructions for first-timers and include a way to follow up with participants.
2. Create interactive or collaborative content. Yes, our blogs are supposed to be interactive by virtue of the comments – but try to think outside the comment box. Use email to spark conversations that you continue on your site (via video, podcast or blog post). Let email readers know that you’ll expand on their responses or compile them into a post on your blog so you can continue the group discussion.
Another option is to let readers create something personal using a template of some sort (remember Office Max’s elf-yourself campaign? You could do something similar with a simple Powerpoint slide) that they can download/alter and then share with their friends and colleagues.
For video tutorials, bump things up a notch by asking viewers to answer a multiple-choice question in the comments. There are even special plugins that will allow you to embed calls to action with a video. (EasyVideoPlayer is just one example.)
3. Gamify your content. Gamification is a big topic and there are lots of great resources on the internet to learn more. The idea is to add game elements and design to something that isn’t usually thought of as a game. For a blog, this might mean running a contest or holding a competition. You could have readers enter by answering a question in the comments; or use a plugin like PunchTab to manage entries and encourage social sharing.
Another option is to use a short quiz or poll that gives your reader customized information and rewards them for taking action (even if it’s just finishing the quiz).
A Case Study in Progress: The Test Kitchen Project
In preparation for my Prosperity’s Kitchen program (a 12-week reality web series/competition/online marketing class that premieres this January), I’m running a gamification experiment with a small group of my loyal blog readers (see The Test Kitchen Project).
The idea is to see what types of missions they find most engaging so that we can build even better ones for the Prosperity’s Kitchen contestants (this is important as they’ll be competing for a $10K prize package).
We’re just two weeks into the 8-week experiment, and so far the results look good. Nearly 75% of those who raised their hands to participate are actively doing so – tackling fun missions that focus on a fellow player’s real-life marketing challenge.
Enticing these readers to play a new game each week (facilitated in a private Facebook group) hasn’t been too difficult. The fun factor is definitely there.
But beyond the fun, I made the WIFM (What’s-in-it-for-me) factor clear:
- Get free help with a current marketing challenge
- Have the chance to earn and win prizes
- Possibly learn something new in the process
The rules are simple and promote things like collaborative sharing of ideas, earning points and badges, as well as random (surprise) rewards.
The games help the players to learn from new content and implement ideas that I write about on my blog. To date, we’ve focused on email list building, downloadable giveaways, and sales pages – all things that my readers would like to get better at doing themselves.
Could You Gamify a Free Download?
To be honest, I haven’t figured this one out, yet. Instinctually, I know that we’ve got to change HOW the free information is delivered. That a simple PDF or even a video isn’t going to cut it. A simple call to action is no longer enough.
Perhaps our downloads are replaced with games, quizzes or some other dynamic activity (like the gamified tribe example above).
What do you think? How could you change up your content so that folks are more likely to take action and follow through? Ideas are everywhere.
Share yours in a comment below so we can help each other build more engaged and enlightened readers, customers and loyal fans.
Tea Silvestre (aka The Word Chef) is a gastronaut, marketing coach and the producer of the ground-breaking web series, “Prosperity’s Kitchen.” Learn more and apply to compete at ProsperitysKitchen.com.