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Interactivity to Increase the Value of your Story

Guest Post By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Product Marketing, Business Wire

Every day, communications professionals are tasked with proving the value of their work. And they do this in an industry that faces unique challenges that include a shrinking media landscape and rapidly changing consumer behaviors when it comes to information consumption.

So how do you innovate your communications program, when the landscape is continuously changing?

Simply tell your story, but make it a journey. 

Think of your news – and your overall story – as a single content piece, and create a story arc that, when followed, walks your audience in and through the story. By using unique and compelling content pieces that feed into each other, you’ll maximize the time viewers spend with your news. 

When developing your content, think about who your audience is and what they expect from your experience. How can you exceed that expectation? How can you provide an experience they will take away and share with others? What does your audience need to know before they act?

Map out the journey: Look within

Unless you’re a one-person shop – and even if you are – rely on what you already have in order to develop your story package. Once you know your story arc, determine what existing assets you have to create your new content piece. This means interacting with all the stakeholders in your company – from sales to online marketing. If done correctly, you will be able to find assets to support your story and identify new assets to be created. And you have the bonus value of aligning various internal departments behind a common external goal now and in the future. 

To find the right assets for your story arc, you want to look for content pieces that don’t merely tell, but also explain and illustrate. With the right mix of assets – whether they’re photos, videos, graphics, info sheets, or a combination – you’ll move audiences through a path that ultimately achieves your desired audience reaction. 

Once you have your story arc and the supporting content pieces, the next step is to think of your delivery methods. How can you get this story arc in the hands of your audiences? How do you cut through the thousands of messages people see every day to get them to pay attention to your news?

Capture interest

The constant consumption and sharing of multimedia provides a great opportunity for communicators to grab their audiences’ attentions – humans have a visceral reaction to imagery. Multimedia engages multiple senses, and illustrates situations, and relays messages quickly and effectively. 

To capture your audience’s interest with your story arc, kick it up a notch. Vary the way you use multimedia. Static images or brief videos, and their corresponding captions, are great for some announcements. Others, though, might require a little extra help to truly convey the importance of the news. 

So what is the right vehicle for this content? Interactive media.

Interactive media is not new. BuzzFeed has been doing it for years, asking readers a series of questions to walk them through a scenario. Interactive media enables you to present your entire story arc in one place. 

Create an experience 

Interactive media creates a robust user experience by utilizing overlays placed on top of a base asset, such as a photo or infographic. The overlay features hotspots that actually move and pulsate, capturing viewer interest. Take note that this is not a video that auto-plays, but a content piece that uses flashing, moving buttons to get user attention. Every time a viewer clicks a flashing icon, a new piece of your story arc is presented.

Each icon clicked does two things. First, it presents content to the reader, educating them as they go. Secondly, the icons create FOMO – a fear of missing out. Once one icon is clicked, viewers are more likely to click a second and third icon, simply to see what other content will surface.

This customer-led journey increases active engagement, content consumption and, by using well-placed off-ramps on each content piece, will drive your viewer from your asset directly into your landing pages. 

Today’s media and consumer audiences are engaging with multimedia at the highest rate in human history. By creating a complete story arc of your assets and providing them to your audience in a modern format, you can create brand new interest in your business and your brands. But more importantly, you are generating useful data that can showcase your success every day. 

By developing a valuable and informative experience for your audience — and within your organization – you’ll gain an interested following who will, in turn, help share your story with others – proving the value of PR.  

Learn more about developing your story arc with Business Wire’s Guide to Modern Storytelling

About the Author: Serena Ehrlich, Director of Product Marketing, provides guidance for internal and external content creation and distribution services, ranging from PR programming to mobile marketing to social media updates.