Automation can be Great for Content Marketing, But Not for Interactive Content

Creating interactive content can seem like a daunting process. From drafting the concept of the experience, to deciding what interactive elements to use where, to testing. Sometimes, it might seem like just pressing a single button to have a program do it for you would be a lifesaver.

And while automation for many things in content marketing really can be lifesavers, interactive content just simply is not one of them. The beauty of interactive content is the ability to completely reimagine the static content you have in front of you. And while much of the same content may be highlighted in the experience, it takes a resilient, intelligent marketer to really strategize how that interactive experience will boost the online visitor’s interaction with your asset.

In this week’s Ask Audrey, ion’s Director of Customer Engagement speaks to how automating these experiences can hinder your interactive content strategy and why it’s worth it to keep the creation process as close to a human marketer as possible.


So, sometimes people think when they are going to look at an interactive content marketing platform, it means they can upload some static content and out comes an interactive version. My question is, can or should interactive content be automated, meaning uploading a static PDF or something and getting an interactive output version of it that’s suddenly now interactive?

Audrey Ross: 

Well, I think in terms of should interactive content be automated, no. I think that there are aspects of content marketing that should be, and I don’t want there to be any confusion around that. I think marketing automation platforms are great at being able to automate what type of interactive content you’re serving up to someone or use the data that you’re capturing in interactive content to better feed your marketing automation. But, the actual process of creating a new interactive content piece that you want to be valuable and you want to be strategic and you want to do all these positive things for your results and your performance and your KPIs, that is not a process that can necessarily be automated. It doesn’t require the same amount of thought that goes into it.

Think about this. If you have a static ebook, maybe it’s a four or five page one and it’s broken up into some sections. You upload that and you get an ebook that you can navigate through and you can click to the other pages. The content itself and the copy itself is still the same. There’s been no reimagining this in a more impactful way for an interactive and digital format. That’s the first thing that feels like that’s not a good place to start. It’s that copy and that message is not going to be necessarily as impactful as it could be.

The second thing is that that ebook, you’ve probably been keeping that ebook gated behind a lead generation form. What are you going to do with it now that it’s interactive? Are you going to have people fill out the form to then go interact with this interactive ebook? How are you going to use what you’ve made to actually get more leads? If you think about it, strategically around “Well, I’ve got this ebook. It’s been doing really well for me gated behind my forms. Maybe I can pull out some aspects of this and create something like a little interactive infographic or something that has something a little bit of a mini benefit or a product feature tour.”—something that’s a little more immersive and interactive from that ebook content, use that to get more leads. Then you can still keep this ebook piece as the driver for getting people through that form experience.

Interactive content is inherently something that is going to require a little bit more thought and a little bit more strategy to do it well, but it’s so worth the effort in the end. Investing in thinking through how to structure your content, to craft your experiences to drive engagement, get people more immersed in that experience, get them more willing to engage with you is going to be worth the effort so much more than plugging something in and getting a sort of interactive version out of it.

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