Why immersive elements are more important than ever right now |  Associations now

Why immersive elements are more important than ever right now | Associations now

By Melissa Bouma

The good news about content marketing is that its value is no longer in question: it’s no longer a battle you have to fight with your board, it’s an expectation.

There is only one problem. Since targeted content creation is easier to push through the pipeline than before, it comes with a lot more competition. And that competition may not just come from other organizations like yours, but from outlets like mainstream media. You might be competing with celebrity news for mindshare without even realizing it!

So if your goal is to reach your association’s intended audience, text alone probably won’t be enough. For one thing, it’s a lot to digest, whether it’s 300 or 1,500 words. It is also created from all corners of the internet by competitors and colleagues, so it is difficult to make it stand out.

Sure, the written word still has a lot of power, but it can’t be the only way to create engaging content. We live in a world where people spend an average of 15 seconds on an article, but will spend an average of 24 hours per month using TikTok and nearly 23 hours watching YouTube videos. What does this tell us? Immersive content has captured more and more of your audience. Below is the how and why to become immersive with your content.

4 easy ways to create immersive content

The phrase “immersive” could certainly make you think of expensive things like augmented reality or virtual reality. These may even be ambitious goals for your association to budget for in the future. Either way, you can still create compelling content that takes your organization’s message to the next level without breaking the bank. Consider the following:

  • Build around data points. Nonprofits are often primary sources of information about their industries, which can generate effective storytelling hooks that can be leveraged in interactive infographics, social shares, and hooks for more traditional storytelling. Data is great fodder for engaging content, and it can grab your readers’ attention in both their feed and their inbox.
  • Play on visual elements. We live and interact in increasingly visual mediums, and your content must match the times or it risks being overlooked online. Effective video projects like CDW’s Feds in the Field series are proof that great storytelling and clever visuals combine into a stronger whole. In short, give people something to wow them while staying connected to your global messaging.
  • Build around interactivity. Creating quizzes or crowdsourced content is a great way to tap into the energy surrounding a great story in your space. Consider how Google hid an interactive multiplayer online game on its main search term for the World Cup. It’s about taking advantage of the momentum.
  • And don’t forget the audio. Audio content is an effective way to stand out when presenting content to others, and it can even integrate with your visuals in a multi-sensory package.

How your immersive content can augment your event strategy

For many reasons, associations’ business models are tied to their existing events, which can generate a lot of revenue for the organization. But current consumption patterns may not align with what your audience is currently looking for or how they interact with information.

So, in addition to hosting a large virtual, hybrid, or in-person event (and, of course, leveraging content to drive interest in the event), it might be a good idea to create a hub of content as an alternative. for audiences who better consume information without the intervention of webcams. And don’t forget that virtual events and immersive content can work together.

And let’s be clear: while content is often at the center of a sophisticated funnel-style model, what you create doesn’t always need to be in service of a sales strategy.

Maybe the content is good enough that people are willing to pay for it, no extra steps needed. Perhaps the interactive elements you create help communicate the true value of your industry to the public, as Manifest client Paper and Packaging Board does on its How Life Unfolds site.

Either way, it all starts with creativity. It only takes a little time to successfully engage your audience for more than 15 seconds at a time.

Melissa Bouma, CEO of Manifest, has over 16 years of experience creating insight-driven brand and content strategy, with a client base representing large corporations, leading universities and leading associations.

(Tara Moore/Pierre)

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