Immersive Content Part III: the future of written content
Published December 6th, 2021
The future of written content has arrived. It’s more interactive, more engaging and more closely focused on creating better experiences for your readers.
Sr. Director of Marketing at Tiny
But in an increasingly noisy world, it’s getting harder for marketers, and content creators to keep up and raise their voice above the static. What’s the answer? How do you produce quality content, ongoing, when it requires more and more designer and developer resources?
This is the final part in a series on immersive content. To read the other articles in the series, you’ll find the links below:
Content marketing’s new direction
With readers constantly bombarded with an avalanche of mediocre content, just writing an article or publishing an eBook and expecting it to be your go-to method for getting views or converting customers, is no longer viable. Even if it’s a brilliant piece, you’ve handed it to an SEO expert, then posted and distributed it with the help of the social and digital teams… there’s too much already out there, for it to be really noticed.
To make a mark and get views, things need to change.
Readers' tastes (and expectations) have evolved from plain blogs with basic images, and the simple text-based posts of yesterday. People make decisions, based on both logic and feelings. The feelings they form about you, your brand and your content are based on the experiences you provide to them.
In fact, 98% of consumers are more inclined to purchase after a live experience with your content and on average, they talk about your content to 17 other people. So experience now trumps facts, fame and familiarity.
It’s a new era – that’s driven by experiential and immersive content.
What is immersive content?
Immersive content is sometimes called experiential content. It’s content that immerses you within the reading experience – you almost feel like you’ve fallen into the page (or screen). It envelopes you within it’s story, and instead of telling you, it shows you. We’ve all experienced it, loved it and shared it, but frequently we don’t have the marketing resources to make our content “experiential”.
If you want an example of experiential written content, just look at this post. We’ve spent time over and above the initial writing to work with a designer to create a more engaging, immersive, and interactive piece of content with our Setka tool. But the time it took was far less than what you’d imagine.
In our previous posts in the series, we’ve shared other examples of immersive content pieces, and we’ve gone ahead and picked a few our other favorites from around the web:
Immersive content is sometimes called experiential content. It’s content that immerses you within the reading experience – you almost feel like you’ve fallen into the page (or screen).
Barriers to creating immersive content
Having reviewed other content pieces and this article, you may think that immersive content sounds great – in theory. But, with pressure on staffing, budgets, and deadlines there are considerable roadblocks ahead of you to enable the creation of large-scale content pieces.
Consider these four common barriers that often stop the creation of immersive, interactive content:
The chances are, you’re already investing many hours of professional time in drafting, editing and creating simple imagery to go with your content pieces, so:
- For even more complex pieces of content, do you really have the time to wait for the availability of additional resources in design and development to help you?
- Have you planned far enough in advance to allow for the additional time needed?
- Can you invest more of the content creator’s time – thinking about how the content needs to shift and change – as it becomes more interactive?
- Or is speed to market your biggest barrier?
Similarly, time is money. Involving more design resources, adding more reviews, as well as involving engineering resources is often a major consideration when deciding on the scale of a content piece. Compromises and quick decisions are frequently made, in order to save costs.
Experiential content is often primarily seen from your large Fortune 500 companies, and is yet to be embraced by the general market for a reason. One day we all hope to have the $50+ million content budgets, but that still seems a bit far away for now…
Interactive, immersive content that moves, and embraces you in a story, generally means you need to get additional development and engineering resources to build the content on your website. By the time that you plan sprints, story points and make technical decisions, you’re eating up valuable engineering resources on content pieces.
Often, engineering resources are limited and are already backlogged with a growing list of higher priority items. So immersive content is often put on the back burner. Some smaller teams may not even have in-house developer resources and are relying on freelancers to help – that’s even more time consuming and costly.
You’ve likely already engaged designers (or are DIY’ing yourself) to help with imagery and illustrations. But, when it comes to designing an immersive content piece, you often think you need a more advanced design skill set. Those people are often engaged on major website projects (if you have them in-house), or are situated in completely different product teams.
The hard priority decisions you need to make, often leaves immersive content to the wayside, when shipping products and delivering core changes are directly linked to your brand and revenue growth.
Benefits of investing in immersive content
Perhaps you’ve been scared off with all the negative barriers when considering immersive, interactive content, but there’s also a large number of benefits that can outweigh those things that seem to be roadblocks to your progress. Here's a few positives to help change your mind:
Higher and deeper engagement
Great content is about engaging people. It’s about drawing people into your story and making them stay. With only 1 in 4 brands standing out to consumers, the ability to make people stop, pay attention and consider your brand, is more important than ever.
Imagine if an immersive content piece can get your readers to increase their dwell/reading time and stay longer on your website.
Better still, what if it could engage them so deeply, that they happily click through to more content or even convert immediately? Surely that makes immersive content worthy of consideration.
Increased revenue from your content
As the old adage goes, you need to spend money to make money. But, that doesn’t mean you should be spending like a drunken sailor in order to generate revenue. Your content should be created with a fiscal awareness that aims to help generate revenue in proportion to your spend on the piece.
65% of marketers see an increase in conversions directly related to experiential content. Therefore, if investing more time and effort into your core, strategic content pieces, and an increase in revenue can be directly attributed to them, then it makes sense to do so.
Differentiate yourself in a crowded market
As mentioned in Part II of this series, 70% of marketers are investing in content marketing. That level of participation, prompts the question: what are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
With more aggressive competition and new entries seemingly jumping into every niche, the ability to make yourself stand out has moved from important to imperative. By differentiating yourself – not just with the content you write, but also the way you present it – you can begin moving yourself towards being a category leader in your market.
Decreased barriers to entry
Technology really is the great equalizer. Especially when there are no-code solutions. Tools that enable you to create immersive content, fast, have arrived. Many of those no-code solutions even lower the engineering barrier, have designer-first features, and can even enable your most junior designers to jump in and design great content. It’s really never been easier to invest in an immersive content strategy. In fact, we’ve written about the process and time it took to build the State of Rich Text Editing 2021 Survey, and with technology inplace to augment your effort, the financial cost of entry really is lower than ever before.
Does simple content still have a place in an immersive world?
Yes. Simple, traditional content will still exist – you can see it here on Blueprint. That's because not every single piece of content you make, needs or deserves to be an immersive content experience piece.
Investing in immersive content enables you to make bold content, innovative content, that stands out when you need it to – without being hamstrung by a prebuilt design, layout or process.
Traditional content is here to stay, but it’s now supported by its more immersive brother (or sister), who helps you share a deeper story when it’s best needed.
Immersive content is here
As with everything related to technology, content continues to evolve and morph into areas that it previously never touched. Immersive content sits at the forefront of what's coming at us from the future, and it can potentially place you ahead of the curve when it comes to differentiating your content from the competition.
In an obvious product plug, Tiny are the world leaders in creating authoring content, and TinyMCE is the world’s most popular open source rich text editor. Similarly, to help you easily make immersive content, we’re sharing Setka – the interactive content design tool that helps the many, not the few, design their own no-code content. There’s a 14-day no credit card required free trial of Setka so you can experience how easy it is to create this style of content for yourself and your brand.