Interactive Content 101: 4 Tips You Need to Know

Interactive Content 101: 4 Tips You Need to Know

Business owners and marketers know the importance of a strong content marketing strategy. Your blog is the first thing many visitors see when they land on your site. Similarly, if you hope to keep your audience engaged, you have to promote high-quality content through your various marketing channels.

I don’t have a single doubt that content will continue to reign king in the coming years. However, the way we create and distribute content has changed dramatically. Instead of creating static posts, we need to start thinking more about interactive content.

Interactive content is a post, form, or video that encourages users to engage with your business. The more people interact with your content, the more opportunities you’ll have to turn visitors into subscribers while convincing subscribers to become customers.

Today, we will explore several essential tips you can use to create more interactive content.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Embrace Personalization

The best way to encourage more user interactions is to use personalization to send relevant content and offers. Research shows that 4 out of 5 consumers want more personalized posts and promotions from their favorite brands.

One way to make your content more relatable is by creating customer personas that align with the various people who visit your website. An online pet store would design segments around people who own specific animals.

The thought process behind this strategy is simple; people are more likely to interact with posts and offers that relate to the pet they own. Cat owners want to read and comment on cat-themed blog posts, and dog owners are interested in promotions specifically for dog food and toys.

Once you create your audience personas, you can use what you learned to add personalization to your on-site, social media, and email marketing strategy. If you’re not sure where existing customers fit into your personas, use on-site surveys and email outreach to ask users to tell you more about their interests so you can send them personalized content in the future.

Focus on Customer Loyalty

Another way to add an interactive touch to your content is to design your funnel with customer loyalty in mind. The eCommerce marketplace is fierce. If you’re not offering an incentive to keep visitors coming back for repeat orders, there’s a good chance they will experiment with multiple brands, which can damage your profit margin and customer relations.

There are several things you do to reward customers for their loyalty. One strategy that works well for us involves giving users promotions on our other products after their first order. We believe that this incentivizes users to stay loyal to our brand when plenty of other companies operate in our industry.

You can deliver these promotions through your mobile app, website, or email. If you use push notifications, you can create custom alerts to reward customers for their loyalty. These alerts work well because you can reach your audience even if they’re not on your website.

When you send users messages about their loyalty points, we’ve discovered that you can boost your conversion rate and add personalization by showing recommended products. Users are more likely to interact with your brand when they see products or services that resonate with their goals and pain points. Don’t forget to strategically include links back to your website to make redeeming their points as easy as possible.

Gamify Your Marketing Strategy

You can make your website and social media channels more interactive by adding gamification. Simply put, gamification is the process of adding game-like features to your marketing strategy. We use several different ways to keep our visitors engaged with this technique.

On a few of our sites, we use spin-to-win wheels to keep users who are getting close to leaving to stick around. When a visitor is navigating towards the X on their browser tab, we trigger a popup that shows a colorful wheel spinning with prizes that may convince them to stay. Some of the rewards we offer include:
– Free lead magnet
– 20% off their order
– 50% off their order
– Free annual license

These are all things our target audience would find valuable. If someone is genuinely interested in our products, this element of gamification could be the thing that turns them into a customer.

We are big fans of hosting giveaways on social media. Everyone loves a good raffle. Our team hosts giveaways during times that are important to us, like on our company’s birthday. There are times when we decide to create a contest so we can grow our lead list, social media followers, or sales.

When running a giveaway, it’s essential to determine how you want users to interact with your brand. Establish rules that will encourage them to take the specific action you’d like to see. For example, you could create a rule where visitors can enter by joining your email list. This strategy is an excellent way to generate new leads while interacting with your audience.

Post More Video Content

Did you know that 43% of consumers say they want more video content from their favorite businesses? One reason for this trend is video content is one of the best ways to interact with your audience.

The possibilities are endless. You could take your knowledge to social media and host interactive webinars. We like to create these types of events if we want to discuss a specific customer goal or pain point. You can appeal to most of your audience if you host a webinar that dives into one of these hot topics.

At the end of your presentation, give your audience a chance to ask questions and engage. You’ll find that these moments can help you build trust through direct interactions.

You could also create a YouTube channel for your video content. Globally, YouTube gets 2 billion visitors every month. You can safely assume that your target audience is out there, waiting to find your channel.

We suggest creating playlists tailored to your various audience segments. This step will make it easier for visitors to find the content they want to see. As a result, there’s a greater chance they will like, share, and leave comments on your videos.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see that interactive content is here to stay. The good news is there are plenty of tools and strategies you can use to keep your visitors engaged. The tips offered today will help you build a robust marketing framework that focuses on highly interactive content and promotions. As your brand grows, you’ll start to find new and inventive ways to keep your customers coming back for more.


Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.

How to Make Better Decisions When You Call the Shots

How to Make Better Decisions When You Call the Shots

A former president of the United States once famously described himself as the “Decider in Chief.” On one level, that’s comical. On another level, it’s instructive, and succinctly so. The person who possesses the most decision-making power is the person who will be judged for the success or failure of those decisions. End of story.

That sounds a lot like a business owner, yeah?

When entrepreneurs are first starting their small businesses, I wager most aren’t thinking of themselves as a “Decider in Chief.” But from day one, they are. That’s the awesome and terrifying reality of working for yourself, a reality that only gets more rollercoaster-like as your business grows. You get to call all the shots. (Yay!) If they work, you’ve earned the glory. (Woohoo!) If they don’t, you’ll risk feeling like a failure. (Gulp.)

How you experience that rollercoaster-like entrepreneurial journey is directly influenced by the quality of your decision making. I actually think of them as one and the same thing: so goes your decision making, so goes your small business. Full stop.

Looking for the least turbulent ride possible as a small business owner? Then work on your decision-making skills. The more intelligent your decisions, the smoother your ride will be. That’s not to say decisions are easy; oftentimes, decisions are quite hard. But assuming you make smart decisions regardless of their difficulty, the tracks those decisions lay ahead of you will provide for a smoother and more successful journey.

There are many ways to develop your decision-making savvy. Experience alone in the wild business world is a good teacher. Experience-based learning, however, can often be reactionary. If you care to complement experience with a proactive counterpart, then invest some brainpower into learning and using a strategic framework

What Is a Strategic Framework?

Ask someone, “What is strategy?” and you’ll likely receive a dizzying array of responses. Strategy is challenging to pin down in discrete terms because (in most cases) it encompasses a composite of inputs: values, vision, market conditions, competitive advantages, intellectual property, available resources, intended outcome(s), etc.

A framework can help to organize such a fluid concept into focused and actionable terms that lend direction to your decision making. Said differently: a framework is what small businesses owners like you, me, Pat, and others need to harness our ideas into actions.

Here’s one textbook definition of a strategic framework: “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”

The “plan” part of that definition is crucial. Applying a framework produces the plan. Without a framework, you don’t have a plan; instead, you have—at best—a set of loosely connected actions into which you’re investing time, energy, dollars, and other resources. These actions will hopefully, maybe produce desirable results and, thus, are maybe (but not necessarily) strategic in nature.

If that wishy-washy existence makes you squeamish, then you’d do well to adopt a strategic framework.

Frameworks vary. Some are surgical in purpose, like a SWOT analysis. Others are more mindset-oriented, like Blue Ocean. Some are built bottom-up within an organization to enable unified performance, like Objective and Key Results (OKRs). Others strive to enable unified performance from a top-down approach, like Objective, Goals, Strategies, and Metrics (OGSM).

There is no one right framework versus another. Frameworks are tools (a theme I’ll return to later in this article). How you wield a tool usually matters far more than the tool itself and/or in combination with other tools.

I believe in the use of several complementary strategic frameworks. If you’re a nerd like me, think Voltron. The collective is more powerful than any individual component. That said, I also believe in having a central strategic framework that anchors thoughtful decision-making at the business/enterprise-level. It’s the point of origin of all of our intentional actions.

For us at SPI Media, that’s the OGSM framework.

I was first exposed to the OGSM framework in my post-graduate leadership development program at Johnson & Johnson. This framework revolutionized how I thought about strategy development. It taught me how to not only nurture strategic ideas but rather, and far more importantly, develop strategic plans that connect vision (i.e., raw ideas turned into directional objectives) with outcomes (i.e., results described as goals) through deliberate actions (i.e., focused strategies).

The OGSM framework comes from the corporate world and isn’t as shiny as other options, like OKRs. That’s just fine with me because whatever it may lack in shininess it makes up for in substance.

Components of the OGSM Framework

I reeducate and reemphasize the OGSM framework every year with my SPI Media team during our annual strategic planning summit. In fact, the slide above comes courtesy of my strategic planning presentation deck. It summarizes the four key components of the model:


  • A vision-based direction that aims to achieve something big
  • Can be quantitative in nature, further quantified by its goals
  • Must empower the company’s vision and mission statements as well as its core values


  • Quantifiable results that prove the objective was achieved
  • Must have at least one goal per objective; can have multiple goals
  • Goals are delegated to others consistent with their roles and responsibilities


  • Prioritized work to serve in the pursuit of achieving the goals to which it is associated
  • Can be a combination of projects (one-time efforts) and/or practices (ongoing work)
  • Declared strategies should not be confused for tactics and tasks

Metrics (aka Measures)

  • Data points to collect, analyze, and review along the way to effectively govern the work
  • Over time, the analyzed metrics should produce trends that suggest positive progress
  • Tracking too many metrics is counterproductive; concentrate on the critical few KPIs

This framework provides a high-fidelity way of organizing your decision making at the strategy-level based upon the goals you’re aiming for to achieve an objective. When decision making is refined in this way, it reduces the waste of precious resources (e.g. time, money, energy) and elevates the probability of success. Success, however, is not guaranteed.

Caution: Strategic Frameworks Do Not Guarantee Success

Strategic frameworks—all of them—are tools, nothing more. Like any other tool, success comes not from its innate qualities but how it is used. So don’t make the mistake of believing that the quick adoption of a strategic framework will make all your dreams come true.

Instead, proceed with cautious optimism. Using a strategic framework will feel weird at first. That’s natural, so don’t stop at the awkward feeling. Also don’t stop using it when it fails to deliver upon your goals and objectives, because—frankly—that’s likely the first few times.

The not-so-secret secret to deriving value from a strategic framework is to use the framework repetitively. It’s muscle development, plain and simple, with the “muscle” in this context being your strategic brain—your critical thinking and decision-making abilities. The use of the tool builds and strengthens the muscle. At first, you will be weak. If you remain committed to the work, you will become strong. And from strength comes success.

How to Apply the OGSM Framework in Your Small Business

Start small. Start slow. Revisit frequently. That’s the best, most distilled and effective way to begin applying this framework, or any other, to your small business.

Specifically for the OGSM framework, I advise entrepreneurs to consider the following approach:

  1. Define your goals.
  2. Unify those goals into an overarching objective.
  3. Brainstorm all of the possible strategies you could choose to invest in that may help you achieve those goals and, thus, the objective.
  4. List out your key operational constraints including time/bandwidth to do work, monetary budgets, availability of other types of resources, relationships that may help, etc.
  5. Whittle down your strategies list to the critical few that you believe will generate the results you need to accomplish your goals that you can make work within your declared constraints
  6. Select a shortlist of metrics (1-3) that you’ll track over time as signals of your progress toward achieving your goals and objective.

Why You Should Start with Goals

There are two main reasons to start with goals:

  1. In my experience, very few entrepreneurs actually know what their goals are. Oh, I’m sure most think they know. But when I talk to small business owners, advise startup founders and CEOs, and generally participate in this spectrum of conversation in entrepreneurial communities, I’m reminded just how rare it is that someone has credibly defined goals in quantitative, rational, and achievable terms. If such high-quality goals don’t exist, then it’s arguable why you should bother developing an organized plan of strategic actions.
  2. Goals are a good “stage one rocket booster” for strategy development. Engaging at this level of the model first usually goes faster with less friction as compared to starting elsewhere within the model. That positive momentum is the “booster” needed to propel further good work elsewhere within the model.

If you’re new to organizing your decision-making in this way, then destress your work further by narrowing the timespan of your strategic plan to just three or six months. There is no rule that says you must develop a twelve-month annual plan on the first go.

Start Small with Your Chosen Strategic Framework

Remember: success with any strategic framework comes with repetition. So consider building one for the next three months, then execute against that plan, then analyze and evaluate the results. Learn from that experience and apply those learnings into the next three-month strategic plan. And so on and so forth until you’ve developed enough new strength and confidence with this caliber of strategic decision-making that you feel ready to take on a six-month strategic plan.

It’s easy to get lost in the trees and forget to see the forest when you engage in intentional strategy development. So pull back from time to time and revisit why you’re doing this work in the first place: to make smarter decisions that actually lead to the results you want for your small business while smoothing out the ride.

If the process and/or results aren’t to your liking, then chuck the plan you have and start over. You are your own Decider in Chief, after all. Embrace the heck out of that awesome and terrifying power, and you’ll be a-okay.

To learn more about building your business, read my guide, The SPI Beginner’s Guide to Business Fundamentals.

How to Create Content If You’re Not a Writer

How to Create Content If You’re Not a Writer

As an entrepreneur, you need to be a jack of all trades—developing business ideas, marketing, public speaking, mastering finances and cash flow, and much more. But there’s one area that often leaves business owners paralyzed with fear: Writing. How do you create content if you’re not a writer?!

As we all know, these days being a “content creator” is a requirement for building your online business. Providing value through creating useful content helps to grow your audience, builds trust with your audience, establishes you as an authority in your industry, and invites people into your ecosystem. 

This type of content, also called content marketing, is all about creating content that will invite people to come to you because of the value you offer, instead of just pushing out a message through advertising or traditional marketing. 

Content marketing includes blog posts, email newsletters, social media, podcasts, YouTube videos, and other content that people actually want to consume. This content doesn’t involve the “hard sell” you put in your marketing and advertising efforts. Content marketing is more about offering help, building relationships, building trust, and building your community of superfans

Content marketing is great, but it also requires a lot of writing, even if you’re creating a YouTube video or podcast.

So . . . what if you’re not a writer? What if you’re just not good at it, or don’t like doing it? What if you just don’t have the time?

Don’t despair! Here are some hacks that you can employ that will help you create great written content that will help you build your business. 

Hire a Writer

This is a no-brainer, right? If you have the means to hire someone else to do your writing for you, then, by all means, hire away! This will allow you to focus on what you do best.  

So how do you go about hiring a freelance writer? Ask around and see if anyone in your network can recommend a writer. Post a message on LinkedIn, or visit one of these platforms that can match you with a freelance writer.

Fiverr is a great website where you can find writers who have experience with just about any kind of writing, whether it’s articles/blog posts, white papers, sales and marketing copy, or ebooks. You can also hire editors and proofreaders.

An example of some of the help you can find through hiring a freelancer on Fivver.

On Fiverr, you can browse the profiles of freelance writers available for hire, and see which one may be a good fit for your needs. UpWork is a similar website. 

Don’t be afraid to hire someone to help, even if it’s for only a few hours a week, or one project at a time. If the writer is a good fit, you may even eventually want to ask them to come onto your team full-time. Hiring freelancers is a great way to get to know someone before you hire them. 

But what if you don’t have the money to hire someone?

Tap Your Team

If you have a team, even if they’re not in an official “writing” role, tap them to see if they will contribute. 

You might be surprised that there are good writers out there who aren’t in an official writing role. So see if team members can focus on a specific topic they have expertise in, and ask them to contribute on a regular basis.

At SPI, we have several people on our team who write content, including me; our senior writer, Ray Sylvester; our co-CEO Matt Gartland; Sara Jane Hess, and David Grabowski from our podcasting team; and Jillian Benbow and Jay Clouse, from our CX team. 

If you have someone on your team who is good at editing, you can also record an audio “brain dump.” This is where you record your thoughts and ideas for a blog post, and then have someone else edit the content into a cohesive article.

Repurpose Existing Content

You probably already have content that you can repurpose to make blog posts, email content, and even social media posts. 

Do you have an online course? If so, take one module, or chapter, of that course and edit it down to create a blog post. At SPI, we recently did that with this blog post on how to nail your business idea. 

We took one chapter from the Smart From Scratch course, and we turned it into an article. 

You might think, “What if people know the blog post is taken from course content? That’s cheating!” 

No, it’s not. It’s providing your audience with valuable information through more than one medium. Blog content is free. So offering free content from a paid course is adding value. Just be careful not to give away too much content for free, or that will devalue your paid content. But a slice here and there is a smart way to reuse content and serve your audience.

You can also reuse content from your podcast, if you have one, and YouTube videos. Take the transcripts, evaluate them to see what content will work best in a blog format, and edit them down. 

Strategically reusing content is smart and efficient.

Invite Guest Bloggers to Contribute

Is there someone in your network who can write valuable content on topics that will benefit your audience? Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in writing guest posts. Ideally, these would be people who have a somewhat substantial audience, so you’re killing two birds with one stone—you’re providing content for your audience, and when a guest blogger promotes the post to their own audience, you’ll get some new eyes reading your content. 

Make sure the guests know your audience and the types of topics you cover on your blog. Suggest topics they can write about, or collaborate to come up with topics. When their post is published, suggest ways the guest can promote the post to their own audience so you can get more traffic to your website.

At SPI Media, we frequently invite guests to write for our blog, including this one from our friend Heather Osgood, founder of True Native Media, on how to turn your podcast into a profitable business.

Curate Content

Whether it’s for a blog post or your weekly newsletter, curating content is another option for providing value to your audience without having to personally churn out a 2,500-word original article. 

Curating content is simply putting together several pieces of content that you have found interesting and think your audience will like. For instance, a blog post could consist of a list of articles (with links) from other publications that you’ve found helpful on topics related to your industry. 

Again, this may seem like a cop-out. But it’s not! People like convenience, and having links to several articles all in one place saves them time and effort.

Survey Your Audience

Enlist your audience to help you write content! You can do this by surveying them and using their answers to create blog posts. At SPI Media, we typically use a Typeform survey to ask our audience a question. Then we gather the answers and put them together in a blog post. This is a great way to provide interesting information, and also connect with your audience. 

Last May, early in the COVID pandemic, we surveyed our audience and asked them, “What’s giving you hope?” Several people responded to our survey, and we compiled their answers in this powerful blog post

Leverage the Power of Lists

A list of tips or recommendations is an easy way to pull together content that doesn’t require a lot of research and writing. 

About once a month, our podcasting team puts together a list of their favorite podcasts. They write a paragraph about each one, and tell readers why the podcast is good. Sounds easy-peasy, right? 

You could do this for anything. What are your top ten recommended online business tools? What are the best business books you’re reading right now, and what do you like about them? What are the top five things that helped you start your business? Giving people advice through a list is a great way to create valuable content.

Interview Experts

If you’re good at asking questions and being curious, then you will probably be good at interviewing. 

  • Interview an expert on a topic that you think will help your audience. At SPI Media, we regularly interview entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things.
  • Interview people in your audience who have found success, and write a success story for your blog. People love to read about people just like them who are succeeding.
  • Interview a mentor or someone you look up to. Ask them for advice, and create a blog post with the answers.

If you record a video of your interviews, it can be used in many different ways: for a podcast, a video for your Tube channel, as a blog post. You can get a lot of mileage from just one interview!

If you want to learn more about creating content, here are some tips from Pat about how to create content when you’re a busy, beginning entrepreneur.