5 Questions to Brainstorm Awesome Interactive Content Ideas

A great piece of interactive content draws the viewer in for an authentic exchange. They give you their time; you give them a valuable experience, whether it’s entertaining or educational. And, really, interactives are just plain cool. But it takes creativity, expertise, and skill to create a great one. (We’ve covered the keys to a great interactive here if you want a sense of what goes into the process.)

If you’re going to devote your time and energy to building interactive content, you want to be confident that it’s going to be seen—not gathering dust out there on the Internet. That’s why you need a truly great idea.

What Makes a Great Interactive Content Idea?

Because interactives are so fun, a lot of people think any idea will translate to the format. Wrong. As we know, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. You might want to flex your design skills or show off your developer’s talent, but an interactive is only successful if it really resonates with your audience. Your job isn’t to make what you want. It’s to make something they want to engage with.

Luckily, there are many ways to create interesting interactives. But how do you come up with that big idea?

We’ve made many types of interactive content for many companies, so we’ve gone through the brainstorming process a lot. We’ve learned that finding the right idea often comes from asking the right questions. To help you get those creative juices flowing, here are five of the most helpful questions to ask.

1) What Do People Want to Know?

Yes, we just said it’s not about you. While that’s true, that doesn’t mean you can’t create interactive content that benefits you. To make great content (interactive or otherwise), you need to know what people are thinking about, what issues they face, what information they’re seeking. Interactive content like surveys and quizzes can help you get this information—while providing a unique content experience for the viewer.

The key is to present an interactive quiz or survey in an enticing manner. BTW, interactive surveys are great because they can generate even more content. After you get the info, you can use it to create an infographic, add it to an e-book, or craft an article.

Example: We collaborated with Mashable to create an interactive quiz that polled their readers about how they pronounce tech terms. The survey resulted in 30,000+ responses from 191 countries, 7,000+ social shares for the poll, and 10,000+ shares for the follow-up article.

Interactive content Mashable

2) What Would Make People’s Lives Easier?

Content is, in essence, providing a service. But it’s even more helpful when you build interactive tools that help people solve a problem. Consider how an interactive might teach or help people do or learn something valuable. For example, you might create an interactive map to help readers get a world view of data. You might craft a calculator to help them figure out if they can afford to buy a house in their area. Anything that helps them solve a problem will help you build a relationship.

Example: We collaborated with Intuit to create an interactive cheat sheet to help small business owners prepare W2s. It’s a useful tool that helps them with a relevant task.

Interactive content Intuit

3) What Content Can You Build On?

You probably already have an archive of cornerstone content that converts. But some of it may be stale, outdated, or fairly surface level. You can refresh that content with updated data, more information, or different perspectives to make sure it’s current and up to date. If you are looking to refresh and update this type of content, interactivity lets you offer a deeper dive—in multimedia formats—or create a more entertaining presentation.

Example: We collaborated with Ceros to create an interactive e-book about the power of content. The interactive guides content marketers through successful brand campaigns, allowing them to explore each individual campaign, watch video, and learn about the technology that supported the content.

Interactive content ceros

4) What Data In Your Organization Is Underutilized?

We’re huge proponents of data visualization at any scale, but we love interactives for their unique data visualization capabilities. Most organizations have a ton of interesting, valuable data wasting away in spreadsheets. Turning that data into a story gives you a piece of truly unique, original content.

Did a recent customer survey offer interesting insights? That could be a data story. Are sales in a certain region far higher than the rest? That could be a data story. (Follow our 5-step guide to finding the stories in your data if you don’t know what to look for.)

Example: We teamed up with the United Nations Population Fund to create an interactive map that shows the ratio of the working-age population to non-working age. The map allows the user to explore past and future years to see how the ratio shifts.

UN interactive content

5) How Do You Want to Play With Your Audience?

It sounds juvenile, but too often we forget that we’re dealing with people—people who are tired, bored, stressed, and desperate for relief. Interactives are great as practical tools, but some of the funnest, most exciting interactives inject some novelty into the experience. You don’t even have to create a strictly “entertaining” interactive. You can just use interactivity to enhance it. (Think of Warby Parker’s entertaining 2013 interactive annual report, which combines company info with funny anecdotes from the year.)

Example: We partnered with San Diego Tourism and Huffington Post to create an interactive infographic map that “drove” alongside the highlighted city hotspots. It was a simple addition, but it added some whimsy. 

San Diego Travel interactive content

We hope these questions help you uncover your best interactive content ideas. And we promise that once you dive into interactives, you’ll start to see more opportunities for them in everything you create. To find out more about the awesomeness of interactives:

Need a little help? Let’s chat about your project.