content writers, content creatorsAs the world of digital marketing continues to evolve, marketers are turning to interactive content to engage their audiences in meaningful ways. That was the primary finding from the Content Marketing Institute, which conducted a recent study (in conjunction with ION Interactive) on the strategies and techniques of today’s interactive content creators.

According to CMI, three of the most effective tools within this realm of content marketing are interactive white paper ads, interactive infographics and calculators.

White paper ads guide their readers through a task or problem they may be facing. These “definitive guides,” as they’re often labeled, have been around at least since the early 20th century. Today, companies can advance the white paper strategy by moving it into the digital space and allowing users to interact with it in ways that were previously impossible.

Infographics, for their part, represent a substantial component of the content marketer’s toolbox. These handy visualizations of research findings can help consumers and other audiences make data-driven decisions. By making infographics more engaging, interactive content creators can help people find information that’s more relevant to their specific needs.

Calculators can be a valuable tool for companies offering financial planning and related services. While ads with calculators are most typically used to sell loans or similar products, CMI suggests they can also be helpful when demonstrating the costs that businesses incur when experiencing problems such as network downtime or high employee turnover.

A recent example of truly innovative content marketing is HP’s “The Wolf,” the first of a four-part video series that details what can happen to offices if their printers are unsecured.

Enlisting Christian Slater to play a computer hacker in the Hollywood-caliber, six-minute short film, HP immerses its audience in an exciting storytelling experience. The ad went on to win Best in Show at the Digiday Content Marketing Awards.

Widespread adaptation across brands

CMI finds that more than 60 percent of brands are employing some form of interactive content marketing. The study, conducted in July 2016, found that 75 percent of respondents were serving as interactive content creators with the purpose of educating their audiences.

The survey reveals that 52 percent of businesses employing interactive content marketing tactics used calculators, while half use contests. Another 48 percent employ online quizzes. The true potential of this valuable marketing tool is finally being realized across industries, and brands are learning how to get their messages across in ways that are increasingly relevant and engaging to their audiences.

Whether they intend to inform audiences through punchy infographics or allow their customers’ imaginations to run wild through an immersive storytelling experience, brands can capture the attention of their targets in brave new ways through the power of interactive content. And, when implemented effectively, they can serve as a valuable supplement to a brand’s existing content creation efforts.