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How to make your online content go further

Published May 16, 2023 – By Eve Reed

Creative design. Contemporary art collage. Team, employees cycling together symbolzing successful teamwork, cooperation.

Creating engaging content is a constant challenge in an ever-evolving digital world. Our Wardour survey digging into people’s preferences on print versus online content showed that today’s audiences expect more from online offerings. But with time-poor audiences already over-saturated, we consider some of the ways to stand out by jazzing up your online content, including some content marketing examples.

Prioritise short-form video

While video content is nothing new, sitting firmly at the top of content marketing trends for 2023 is short-form video. Whether you want to entertain, educate or inspire, make this format a central strand of your content marketing strategy and content engagement will increase. The definition of what counts as short-form video varies, but it’s often considered to be between 60 seconds and three minutes. According to HubSpot’s survey of more than 1,600 marketers globally, this content format will see the most growth this year. Adobe’s predictions for 2023 content marketing trends also put short-form video at the top. It offers easily accessible content that audiences can consume quickly and on the move. Optimal video lengths vary (particularly when promoting this content on different social media platforms), but we think 1-2 minutes tends to work best. Some viewers will drop off after a minute or so, so the shorter the better for short-form video, in our opinion, especially if it’s a general audience. Longer videos work better if viewers have a vested interest in the topic.

Of course, it’s all in the execution and storytelling, but there are all sorts of ways to make an impact. For example, short-form video that is truly immersive (360 videos) – where audiences can experience views from every direction, all recorded at the same time – is one way to effectively communicate your story.

If you prefer to stick to long-form video, don’t worry, you’re still on to a winner – according to HubSpot it’s the leading content marketing media format for the third consecutive year. For business audiences, our Wardour Video Producer has some great tips for making engaging B2B videos.

Make it authentic

Our final tip to help you capitalise on short-form video content is to ensure it’s as authentic as possible. Do you have a massive brand fan base as a consumer brand, for example? Publishing user-generated content (UGC) is an effective means of connecting to audiences, although this typically works best on social media platforms. Employee-generated video content (EGC) is another great way to illuminate the essence of your brand or your organisation’s workplace culture and employee experience, and can be a compelling tool for employer branding communications.

Consider scrollytelling

You can also breathe life into web content through scrollytelling. This is a narrative technique that requires users to scroll through text and visual assets on a single website page, which means you can present audiences with more information in one place, in a format that won’t overwhelm them. Any animation, audio and video effects are triggered by the viewer simply scrolling the page. This format enables audiences to learn more about your brand but also have a smooth, dynamic visual experience, as scrollytelling can help with readability.

For story-led content, this means it literally unfolds in front of the audience. Although scrolling is more typically designed vertically, there are examples where viewers are ‘pushed’ horizontally, or both. Scrollytelling allows you to control the pacing and weight of each user experience by dictating the speed and level of control a user has. One example of this is the new scrolling microsite Wardour created for FTSE100 company Informa. We wanted audiences to be inspired and excited by what it’s like to work at the company using a very immediate, captivating scrolling design.

Parallax scrolling – a visual effect where the website background typically moves more slowly than the foreground – is one type of scrollytelling. Done well, it creates a 3D effect, offering a more immersive visual experience. Car manufacturer Porsche uses it on its website to show the evolution of the Porsche. Another stand-out example appears in the Tunnel Creek avalanche story on The New York Times website.

Go interactive

If you haven’t already got to grips with interactivity, now is the time to consider it. Interactive content, which encourages users to genuinely participate, regularly features among the top marketing trends for 2023. You can still communicate key messages and build brand loyalty by lightening the tone of your content using this format.

Making it playful is a great place to start, for example, by introducing online content such as a simple quiz or game. There are all sorts of tools out there to help you get creative. We favour a powerful data visualisation and storytelling tool, which we use when our clients want something a bit different from their online content. It allows you to create everything from interactive quizzes and timelines to picture galleries and graphs, which bring data and storytelling alive in a way that client audiences are responding well to.

This game (which is really a quiz in a game) we created for waste-to-product company Renewi is another example of how to make content fun for audiences. Or, for another interactive experience, try this educational game from the British Heart Foundation about what’s in your food.

This type of content can work for all kinds of business audiences too. Financial services company Legal & General and global STEM recruiter SThree both have some strong interactive examples on their websites. Legal & General’s online content on inclusive capitalism, showing how the company is investing for good, offers users multiple click points and lets them choose what topic they want to know more about without leaving the web page. We also enjoyed creating this interactive map for SThree on global hotspots in research and development investment.

Introducing interactivity can also be a valuable source of insightful first-party data, which is key to tailoring your content to target audiences and creating more purposeful messaging.

We are always excited by developments in online formats, which are opening up a whole new world of visual communication (see our blog on how to connect to Generation V; the visual generation) – from emotive, interactive videos to animated infographics or scrollytelling. While there’s certainly still a place for powerful written blog content, successful content marketing strategies involve keeping pace with changing audience expectations and being a bit bold. And just because online content can be fun, it doesn’t mean it can’t still be meaningful.

To learn more about how Wardour can help with your online content, pop us an email at hello@wardour.co.uk – we’d love to have a chat.

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