As marketers, we spend a lot of time optimizing our lead-generation programs. We A-B test our social media and email copy. We experiment with different landing page designs and messaging. We tweak our CTAs until they yield the highest possible conversion rates.

However, we often overlook an important aspect of lead generation in regards to optimization: the content that a lead receives in exchange for information. Sure, we research topics that will resonate with our audience, spend time writing great copy, and work with our design teams to make sure the end product looks great. But for many marketing teams, the lead-gen content creation process is on autopilot.

Forward-thinking marketing teams are starting to experiment with new content formats and ways of using that content to generate leads for their businesses. One of the most intriguing trends I've recently seen in the content marketing space is interactive content.

From well-established brands to rapidly growing startups, marketers are pushing themselves to tell stories in new ways with interactivity.

Consumers are starting to show a preference for interactive content over static content. Moreover, recent studies have shown that interactive content generates conversions more effectively than static content.

Let's explore four key reasons why interactive content is great for lead-generation programs.

1. Interactive content is unique

How many times do you download a PDF e-book or an infographic only to trash it a few days later without ever opening the document? If you're anything like me, this probably happens regularly.

In the B2B space, creating content that stands out and gets noticed online is challenging. The majority of companies are publishing the same types of blog posts, PDF e-books, whitepapers, and infographics for top-of-funnel audience engagement. Even if you have fantastic information to share, format fatigue can work against you via social or in their inbox.

Interactive content is a great alternative to traditional formats because it allows you to tell the same stories for your brand in a unique way. Using text, images, video, audio, animations, and interaction effects, you can deliver your messages in a dynamic, interesting way that stands out in a sea of mostly static marketing content.

With a flexible interactive content creation platform, you can also break out of the 8.5 x 11 PDF or long-scroll infographic mold and build assets of any dimension you like. Not only does this give you more options to create something that looks totally different than the content other brands are creating—it also empowers you to create micro-content that you can easily embed into a landing page or blog post. Those smaller interactive elements can provide just enough novelty to capture a distracted viewer's attention and get him or her to convert.

2. It's engaging

At first glance, engagement may seem to have little to do with lead generation. After all, most lead gen tactics put a "gate" in front of the content you want someone to engage with. Whether the person decides to give you his or her information solely depends on the topic of the piece and the copy that drives the user to it via a social post, an email, or a landing page.

Therein lies the rub. People may ante up their information to download a piece of content, but if that content is boring or unoriginal, you're unlikely to get that lead to engage with you further down the funnel. Often times, gated content is the first touch a prospect has with your brand. If that touch is weak, you've missed a huge opportunity to warm that person up for any further interactions. Your lead that you worked so hard to win will just be a cold, inactive star in your CRM galaxy.

Interactive content can help you drive more engagement with your lead-gen content. By inviting viewers to actively participate in the story you're telling—by choosing their own path through your content, drilling deeper into topics they care about, or answer interesting questions—you create a kind of virtual dialog with your audience. This dialog can then carry through seamlessly in subsequent touches as you nurture leads down the funnel to sales readiness.

3. It's cross-platform-friendly

In regards to lead gen, we tend to create longer assets like whitepapers, reports, and e-books. We feel like, if someone is going to "pay" for a content piece with his or her information, it better be robust enough to make a fair exchange.

The problem is that long-form PDFs are difficult to read on mobile devices. Sure, there are PDF reader apps that make consuming long-form content on a smartphone possible, but those assets haven't been designed with mobile devices in mind, either visually or editorially. Though a PDF e-book may render legibly on a small screen, a viewer will likely bail after a couple of pages because the content doesn't reflect the nature of the medium in which it's being viewed.

Interactive content solves the issue of cross-platform friendliness. By designing content in a more fluid, bite-sized, visual format, you ensure that your content will be easy to digest on every device. And with interactive content software, you can build content once and not have to hassle with testing it on every operating system and browser to make sure it renders properly.

4. It's flexible

In regards to generating leads with traditional marketing content, there isn't a whole lot of flexibility. The majority of marketers use a landing page with a form that triggers a PDF download or an email send on submit. Some marketers using Web-based PDF readers that allow readers to preview content for a minute or two before a form pops up and blocks the content.

With interactive content, your lead-gen options are much more flexible. You can...

  • Go the traditional landing page route, with your content hidden behind a form.
  • Embed a teaser piece of content on the landing page to entice someone to convert.
  • Use a time-triggered pop-up form within your content so readers can get a taste of what they’re "buying" with their information.
  • Use an event-triggered pop-up form (either based on how far someone has gotten through the content or which objects he or she interacts with on a page) within your content.
  • Let viewers opt out of a form and continue reading or lock them out until they complete it.

The other way interactive content is flexible is in terms of storytelling. You can create a simple, long-scroll content piece with a few simple animated and clickable elements, or you can create a multi-page, multi-layered experience with lots of rich media that provides deep insight into a specific topic. Interactivity can help you articulate your message in a way that's visually appealing and relevant for your audience, whether your message is simple or complex.

* * *

Incorporating interactive content into your lead-generation strategy can help you create marketing assets that stand out, keep prospects engaged with your brand, provide a seamless experience across devices and browsers, and provide a more flexible lead capture experience for your audience. With the right platform and a clear creative vision, you can fuel your lead-gen engine with content that makes a great first impression with prospects and drives results for your business.

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Four Reasons Interactive Content Supercharges Your Lead Generation

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image of Ashley Taylor Anderson

Ashley Taylor Anderson is director of Content at Ceros, a provider of interactive content marketing software.

LinkedIn: Ashley Taylor Anderson