I recently visited the website of a marketer who I respect greatly. His work is smart, his writing is engaging, and his approach to content is strategic and thoughtful. After reading a blog post about a new ebook he created, I completed the form to download the PDF.
The download was instant, I didn’t have to wait for it to be emailed to me and so, I opened it on my iPad and sat in my favorite reading chair to consume the content.
It was really good—great actually—and within two hours I had read the whole book and had action items for my next steps.
But, did the marketer know how engaged I actually was with his ebook? I could tell that the content took a lot of time to produce. It was obvious that the content was researched because it included a lot of stats and key takeaways, the design of the ebook was modern and attractive and was successful at drawing my attention to key information. The effort that went into the content was not lost on me, but my engagement and interest in it was definitely lost on the creator.
Marketers Cannot Rely on Measuring Downloads When it Comes to Success
Downloading your content is great but what if I never read it? What if it just sat on my desktop for months before eventually being deleted in my semi-annual “feng shui my computer” event? You still think that since I downloaded it, it was successful but as far as I am concerned, it was not worth reading. If your users do not read your static content, it isn’t successful. It doesn’t matter that they downloaded it.
Unfortunately, if you are only creating static content, you will never know if your audience actually read your content or if they enjoyed it. Interactive content solves this problem.
What Interactive Could Have Improved in the eBook
The ebook that I recently read was so good, the action items that the writer included at the end were saved in Google Docs so that I can reference them later and keep notes about my improvements. The sections were broken up in a way that made sense and moved me from being a beginner on the topic to an expert. The writer included questions to ask yourself after each section too, as a way to get you thinking about the content and the lessons you just learned. When I was working through the ebook and got to these questions, I wished they were presented in a way that encouraged me to answer them. This could have been really helpful and would have shown the writer that I really was engaged with the content. Or what if he had included reveal tiles to break up some of those more robust content sections? Or what about a mini resource library at the end of the experience that could push me to additional content? I would have continued reading his content if the opportunity had been presented to me.
I saved the ebook on my desktop and iPad to reference later—I love it, I really do and the only way for me to actually show the writer that I loved it was to send him a tweet telling him so. But, I wish I could really show him how engaged I was with his content in the form of usable data. If he had taken that ebook and turned it into an interactive infographic that provided teaser content from the ebook, he would have known what was engaging. What if he sent me a quiz or assessment after I downloaded the ebook to test my knowledge on the topic? That would be huge, and I would have definitely completed it. Interactive content opens the doors to create a more personalized and strategic content journey for readers.
Interactive content should not replace static content but instead should work in tandem with traditional static pieces to create a more personalized and complete journey for readers.
For curious minds, the ebook was created by Jeff Goins.