New dynamic content formats for marketers to use

As interactivity and mobile technology accelerate, those promoting brands and organizations must stay current with every twist and turn. Here’s a handful to keep an eye on.

Content shock is here.

When I wrote about this concept—the idea that content marketing becomes less sustainable as a strategy as the amount of competitive content increase—I predicted there would be new innovations in content forms.

If we can’t achieve reach for our content organically, or at a reasonable cost, the market will invariably find fresh formats for getting content out to the masses.

Beyond that, we are also seeing an influx of ideas to carry our message and reach consumers in new ways. Here are five that have caught my attention:

Interactive dynamic video

How cool would it be to actually play with objects in a video? That is becoming reality with new technology being developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Dubbed interactive dynamic video (IDV), the method uses traditional cameras and algorithms to scope out the almost invisible vibrations of an object to create a simulation users can interact with virtually. These items can be pushed, pulled and stacked—as in real life—through use of a new imaging model that costs a fraction of 3D modeling and involves only a camera and some image editing.

Mobile-first TV programming

NBCUniversal has started creating exclusive television programming for Snapchat.

The initiative started last week with The Voice on Snapchat, a five-part short-form series that will feature “The Voice judges Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton reviewing user-submitted video clips and choosing one that will give its creator the opportunity to appear on the reality competition show’s new season.

Other shows will be part of the deal, including NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as to-be-determined fare from NBCUniversal’s entertainment, news, sports and Hispanic properties.

Many other traditional media outlets, particularly newspapers, are beginning to embrace a mobile-first strategy—and even a social-media first strategy—to help them connect consumers with content in a new way.

Interactive stories

There is probably no organization on earth producing new storytelling formats better than The New York Times. The news organization stepped up during the Olympics, an event that allowed them to plan creative treatments well in advance.

I called these innovative formats interactive stories, but really they are a compelling integration of photography, video, slow-motion effects, data visualization and stunning visual treatments. I shared a few of these stories on Facebook, and I was amazed at how many people had already seen them and shared them.

There is no way I can describe what the Times is doing here; you’ll just have to click and see for yourself: Check out New York Times Interactive Stories, or skip to one of my favorites.

Text messaging integrated into content

Text messaging service Purple enables you to choose stories you want to follow and get Facebook Messenger alerts as the story breaks.

Other news organizations are starting to implement this idea in other ways. You’ll be able to choose a news story and get customer updates from the reporter covering the beat.

This has a lot of potential for integration into other forms of organizational content. If you liked a new product or service mentioned in a piece of content, how would you like to just click to receive personalized updates from an executive involved in the project?

Interactive infographics

This new generation of infographics is visually stunning and finds new ways to engage readers. Interactive infographics enable you to:

  • Add animations
  • Allow users to click and reveal more information
  • Get users to highlight certain areas of the infographic
  • Add scrolling effects
  • Create social media sharing right from the graphic

New applications such as Ceros enable you to quickly build interactive infographics and test them on a small scale. Consider this example from Propoint, which created an interactive infographic on podcasting and its origins, or this example explaining new advertising options.

The field of content is extending beyond simple blog posts and tweets. A whole new world of exciting options is opening up to us. What innovations are you seeing out there?

Mark Schaefer is executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. A version of this article originally appeared on his blog.

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