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The Next Chapter of Content Experience: Interactive, Visual, Code-Free.

Video Summary

Creating custom websites and interactive content is a big challenge for all marketing teams, that are typically bottlenecked with high development costs and limited resources which cause slow turnaround times. All that is changing, fast. The new content marketing revolutionaries craft 'code-free' design and digital experiences in minutes vs the days or weeks in the past. Learn about all the new creative tools that instantly remove the bottleneck, enabling you to create more interactive content experiences that create more engagement and performance, with way less resources and less budget to boot.  


Revenue-focused Marketing executive with 13+ years working with high growth technology companies.

Passionate about building great tech and media brands and having a meaningful impact on product development, sales and corporate strategy.

I am currently the CMO at Brandcast, the first code-free Digital Experience platform. We power web design for many of the world’s leading brands.

Previously, I founded the Marketing dept. for Sharethrough, a software company that powers the largest in-feed ad exchange. We defined the native advertising market and drove 6+ consecutive years of revenue and product growth.

Earlier in my career I worked at Google and helped launch and build the brands for multiple Google products, including Gmail, Google Photos, Blogger and Google Apps.

Specialties: marketing, corporate communications, product marketing, public speaking, media relations, business development, video production, public relations, writing, social media strategy, analog/digital music production

What you will learn?

  • Interactive versus passive content
  • The new trends in content marketing
  • Steps for taking your program to an interactive level
  • Hacks to publish custom content experiences quickly
  • How to turn static PDF's and ebooks into interactive content
  • The new toolkit to manage large portfolios of digital content

Okay, this background seems to be working and the slides also seem to be working. So, we’re doing good on AV. Great to meet everybody. I’m Chris Schreiber. I’m CMO of Brandcast. This talk is going to be called future of content experience. Really what we’re going to be diving into is interactive content, the new trends in visual design, where web designs kind of crossing over with content marketing, give you some sort of specific steps for how you can take your programs into a more sort of interactive space.

[00:00:39] Just so I have a sense of who’s in the room, raise your hand if you’re an in-house content marketer. Okay, solid. Agencies? Okay, Firefighters? All right. There we go. Thank you for your service. Cool. So, just by way of introduction Brandcast, we’re a code-free digital experience manager. So, effectively you can design create and publish any type of custom website or interactive content all within our SAS space platform.

[00:01:12] So it’s all in the cloud. Designers, marketers can collaborate. They can create fully-customed digital experiences all the way from your full corporate site to just a standalone interactive infographic. We work with clients from different verticals. Usually sort of skewed towards larger enterprises, but then also a number of digital agencies.

[00:01:31] The company was originally funded by Marc Benioff, CEO and Chairman of Salesforce, and then we’ve gone on to raise a series A-round from Shasta and we’re headquartered in San Francisco and also have an East Coast office now.

[00:01:47] So, to talk about the future of content marketing, I want to sort of frame it and what I see as are the major turning points in content over like the last 15 years or so, so just to sort of start off, you know, I think about early 2000s. We’re in the sort of passive content desktop mindset, blogging software starting to come on as a sort of core marketing program, email marketing starting to get stood up and really more advanced in SEO as really sort of our core vehicle for discovery for content.

[00:02:17] Obviously, we moved into a new phase in the mid-2000s with the launch of Facebook, YouTube. So, we all started to understand what a conversational content marketing program looks like and starting to play to social both get discovery and disengagement. We started to move into a more multimedia mindset with YouTube really exploding a video became sort of a core piece of the toolkit and then we all had to start thinking about mobile with iPhone launch I think in 2007 and so we had to think about it. What is this experience going to be like on the smaller screen? And so, you know really sort of simplified view.

[00:02:49] I think now we are in the next phase. Just really focused on sort of omni-channel interactive content and this is less so about revolutions I think and hardware right now and revolutions and communication Networks. More the revolution is really in depth of experience.

[00:03:03] For content marketers through that really becoming experts and interactive content responsive design. So not just making your content appear on mobile. It’s time to really think about the mobile experience and modify it in the best way and then using those means to sort of get more sophisticated data and personalization.

[00:03:20] So that’s the sort of chapter that I think we’re in now and that’s we’re going to spend most of my presentation talking about today. So, what am I talking about when I say interactive content? There’s a lot of shades of the rainbow. So, sort of infinite permutations. What could be interactive content, the sort of core definition floating around there is, its content requires participants active engagement, right?

[00:03:41] So it’s not just a lean back experience with there’s reading it or watching. You’re actually giving something that they can do, so that could be an e-book that has interactive qualities or an infographic, white papers turned something interactive, calculators, and there’s a long, long list of what that can be but the core piece it’s something that your audience can do with it.

[00:03:59] So why am I talking about it? I think as we all know attention spans are not getting longer. They’re getting radically short, right we can think about our audience is a bunch of Kanye West’s which is very little time for us. And so that’s part of where interactive comes in it’s just a way to sort of catch people’s interest faster and longer. Another reason why is the early data showing that actually performs better? So, this is a large study done by demand metric of marketers using both passive and interactive content and from the study found that actually conversion rates for interactive were coming in a pretty much higher rate significantly for interactive overpasses. So, it’s kind of early, early data here, but it was pretty significant result.

[00:04:43] So what is holding us back? Why is interactive not just a core piece of the toolkit? Why isn’t the primary piece of the toolkit? Well actually that question was asked to hundreds of markers by big content marketing Institute survey and asking why are you not making interactive content? What’s holding you back? The top two answers were, just lack of staff and bandwidth was a top result and the second last was just lack of budget. And the study was done a few years ago and those answers make sense within the context of the time in the ways that you actually were going to be able to create anything sort of custom interactive.

[00:05:15] You think back a few years ago to the way you might be able to create some type of interactive site or content. You would have to build it on top of one of the open CMS Frameworks typically or do a custom code execution. So, whether it’s commercial or open source it’s probably built on one of these guys so high customization possibility, but the workflow was really slow and expensive.

[00:05:37] So marketer would have the concept they would hand it off to designer to create service static visual of it. Designer would hand it off to the developer who then code it. Something usually gets messed up in the process. Back to designer, marketer, a lot of cycles there and eventually to operations to deploy it and sort of bring us the rest of your Tech stack.

[00:05:55] Typically that was going to take sort of three months or more and the cost range a big range anywhere from 15k to 150k. But typically, this is we’re going to be more like a one-off project not just like part and parcel of the content marketing toolkit.

[00:06:19] Then came the website Builders. So, these were new software tools for us marketers to start to publish things directly to the web without having to go through development to be able to publish on our own devices in the way you did that was through templates, so that we have a lot of tools now to be able to manage our blog to be able to set up event pages, set up landing pages and more than that, but the way they do that is through templates. We’re sort of painting my number typically and that’s how they cut through the development cycle.

[00:06:39] So the downside there is there’s a lot less customization and your sites can start to look so much generic because they’re literally are just templates. So, that’s definitely been a big step for marketers’ productivity getting things published to the web. This is a really funny site if you ever want to check it out, the whole thing is very meta. But here we are today and this upper quadrant upper right quadrant starting to be something that’s becoming real.

[00:07:02] So the first piece is obviously code-free. Marketers need to have control over these tools. They need to be able to publish directly to the web. They can work with a designer, but if everything has to go through a developer, we just know that the volume is not going to be there.

[00:07:16] The other piece though is we want high customization, right? Like we want to be able to get beyond templates, make our brands, or to stand out and I think interactivity be more up to our own choosing, but if we’re going to put in the time, we need to be able to reuse those assets really easily. That’s exactly the world that Brandcast lives in. A number of other tools there started to be built that way.

[00:07:32] And really the technology wasn’t there until pretty recently make tools like this that are in the cloud that just processing power browsers sort of ability to host this type of content was just only very recent this is possible as a software play. So, what does it look like in practice? So, here’s an example Colliers big commercial real estate company that we work with they put a lot of reports but different markets you can just picture with this would have been like five years ago.

[00:07:58] Pretty standard PDF not interactive. Probably not super interesting. They would email out ask people to download it. Fast forward to now, this is how they’re publishing their reports to fully custom websites. They’ve effectively created their own custom templates with us. So, all these reports are now living online, you know, some of the benefits are they’re creating a lot more data. So, they’re seeing what people are clicking on. They’re getting better sense of what people are interested in. It’s more shareable because it’s living on the web. It’s actually very similar workflow to creating the PDF. It’s just that, the end result is fully Interactive now.

[00:08:29] Another example, Athena Health, Healthcare Company built a site. So, what would this site look like five years ago? Would have just been like a form to ask for your email phone number Etc. And if you did that, then they would give you the white paper. Now, today a lot more value is coming upfront. They’re building the white paper into an experience self on the web that can be fully interactive, get people a lot more value, you know, if they don’t download it and if you are interested, they give you that option now, you can take that away. They can potentially get your information, but you’ve given a lot more value upfront. And again, you’re getting a lot more data and insight to what people are interested in.

[00:09:03] Last example, this is actually our own company. We build these sort of marketer microsites. We realize part of the issue with our sales cycle is depending on who you’re talking about marketing organization, they had no idea what web development costs or what they were spending. So, we built this calculator with insight to just help people understand what their costs are and what the cost would be based on different projects. Actually made a big difference for our sales cycle because now they’re coming in with just a higher degree of information about their own programs and we can kind of work within that.

[00:09:30] So I want to talk about how you are successful. We’ve sort of made the case here right. Why should we create interactive content? How can we do it now? Now, let’s talk about how you really stand up a program. So, these aren’t one-offs but these are fluid processes that you’re doing high volume continues are built on the value that you put time in.

[00:09:50] The first piece is just creating your design system. It may sound a little intimidating, but it’s really not. What is the design system? It’s a series of just reusable components. So, you can mix and match any type of sort of site experience from the same foundation. Really makes our production a lot more efficient once you’ve built up your library and system.

[00:10:09] You guys are all familiar with this, brand style guide. We need our colors, we need our type. We need our media our logo and really what you’re doing is just adding on to this and creating a full component library. So, just to walk through this what I mean by that is these steps are to build on themselves. First piece is just that interactive layer of how you want people to connect with you. Example would be just a button and you create sort of the color the shape the hover state all this would be a thing that you can share within your organization.

[00:10:39] Then you start to build it out a little further. Now, you’ve got that button you designed the header text, the body. Now, that’s a block that you can always use. Sorry, this is block where you’ve got these pieces now adjacent with a piece of media. So, this is something you can just copy and paste into any site, which then allows you to create templates so that marketers can go in and start a reskin, reuse these things. But a lot of the basic design elements have now been figured out and that’s how you get to being able to create custom web pages pretty quickly because these core components are now available for you to build on.

[00:11:14] The next piece is consolidating that workflow. So, I showed that visual before here’s what it looks like to create, you know, a custom site. It’s a lot of handoffs between design to developer to ops. That is way too many steps. It takes too much time, too much money and so really, we need to consolidate the workflow if we’re going to be really bringing interactive into our lives as a serious piece of our program.

[00:11:36] That’s exactly the type of thing we do for Brandcast. So, this is more just for explanatory purposes of what that means. So, everything I just showed you about the creation of those components, the blocks, the grooves, templates that would all be created in a tool like ours. So, I can be designer or that could be even like a marketer but then once those components are created that’s all becomes shared within the organization. So, I can start go create a new version of our webified sales deck or our landing page or infographic. It’s all been shared similar to the way that slide deck is shared but now you’re really sharing websites and web components.

[00:12:12] And so, from the same workflow, from the same program, you’ve now got a large rainbow of interactive content. Your team is putting out not having to recreate the wheel every time just figuring out what’s the individual new element i’m going to add and reuse a lot of the additional components and that’s sort of the efficiency play of where we’re getting to from a software standpoint.

[00:12:37] And last piece is just thinking full funnel. You know for us it’s important that we have a tool that can answer any of a marketer’s objectives. I’m sure all of you are sort of living in this world of okay, I need to hit these different pieces of funnel, these different pieces of the customer journey, so that I can help bring them down, and when I think about so, where am I going to start in terms of interactive content? For me it’s really about thinking about where’s your burning need? So, it’s less about we should just go create something interactive for the sake of creating active. It’s more about what is falling down right now. What is not working? Okay, we are having a hard time getting people over line to even understand our product.

[00:13:15] What if we layered on sort of a new type of web experience and explain our products, explaining our service. And there’s all sorts of associated content types that you can have there. But the best part is where ever you sort of invest that time the whole point is that becomes reusable. So, you may start specifically on interactive how-to content, for the purposes of getting people educated faster, but that becomes very easily reused, you can basically copy that paste into other types of experiences, so you’re getting a lot of mileage of what you’re creating.

[00:13:47] So I really ran through this super fast. I’m actually towards the end here. So, I want to go through top five takeaways and I want to open up for Q&A or for anyone who wants to talk through and things.

[00:13:58] So main takeaways here early data is telling us that interactive is showing higher conversion rates than passive. We know that just because people like to touch things, they like to educate themselves on the web. So, it makes sense give them more to do on this icy creating. Second is that interactive content is now not necessarily a laborious developer-lead process. This is control at your fingertips and really customizable control. The way to be successful is build that design system. Build all sorts of the core assets that you would use to reuse, rematch different types of sites. They’ll make you move a lot faster and there’s places now to house those types of components which we call a digital experience manager for us. That’s really about consolidating workflow.

[00:14:50] And the last pieces get started, think about your full funnel, think about where you’re falling down use that as your starting point for interactive content. So, I moved a little faster here. Thanks a lot, but I wanted to open it up. Is there any questions that anyone had?

[00:14:58] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:15:11] The company that I brought up there, Colliers, I think is really pushed our platform into a lot of interesting new areas. I think you know, they’ve taken all this Rich sort of research. It could have been pretty dry and figure out how to really bring like a visual element there that I think that’s a Playbook that sort of anyone could do but that’s top of mind particularly because you know think about the real estate industry as really being sort of leaders in design. They figured out I think that how to race ahead of some other companies. B to C, who’s creating great interactive content? You know, I think Disney typically is pushing the envelope. I think Red Bulls typically pushing the envelope. Actually, Connor our head of a customer evangelism, do you have any thoughts on a good B to C examples?

[00:15:58] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:16:30] So sorry, I saw a bunch of other hands were up before. At the back?

[00:16:35] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:16:51] Having the same playbook and I think the PDF is the end deliverable that people like to have things on their computer, but you’re not necessarily giving them a lot of value when you sort of say like here’s our five takeaways, fill out this form. So, it’s more that you can just give a lot of value upfront same playbook if you want to learn more.

[00:17:08] You know, here’s the exchange of information for download. But you know, those forms of like gated content from what I’ve read, that’s lower than 5% typically conversion rate for your visitors. I’m sure you guys have different numbers interesting here, but usually pretty low and typically the more value giving up front, the higher likely he might be able to get that information.

[00:17:28] But then again probably a lot of you guys using marketing automation platforms you have ways to track to know who’s on your site. So, you know, if you are using HubSpot Marketo Etc. You’ve cookied in your users now, you know if they’re coming to that page, you don’t necessarily need that information.

[00:17:42] This is just another way to sort of track their behavior see what they were interested in. So it sort of depends, you know, if this is really like a net new Legion strategy or this is more like a nurture education strategy and I think that’s sort of cuts the difference between are you just trying to learn from the data and your MA platforms such as analytics platform or collect the collect the leads through that that gated form.

[00:18:05] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:18:24] Yeah, I mean, I think it’s probably not the most successful visual because in no way, am I trying to say anything’s being replaced versus sort of adding new layers. So just go back to this slide. So, all of these things in the first chapter are core parts of the content marketing toolkit. We layered on all these pieces and now we’re layering on these pieces is the way I think about it, and I think about these it’s just big turning points where you had to learn it. It became non-negotiable that you had to become an expert in it, and they all kind of work together. Yeah, we ran out of time for that one, so we went more for the linear visual. Thank you. Thank you for calling that out though, because that is the narrow. I’m trying to say is sort of layering not replacing.

[00:19:10] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:19:24] Yeah, so for us it’s sort of two-pronged. One, we’ve got like a whole interaction studio. So, essentially like any type of Animation that you want to have on the site when someone click something or harbors or something or scrolls to this page. There’s something that will sort of trigger that event that you can decide and then there’s the actual sort of widgets like calculators or whatever.
[00:19:46] So, typically for us the very specific kind of widget would actually be a third party because there’s a lot of ways to get individual kind of applications like that, you know, something like Snap app or companies that specialize in just those widgets and for us that’s sort of how you house the whole experience.

[00:20:04] Audience response [inaudible]

[00:20:17] Yeah, I think you know this. Athena Health example is a good one. Actually both of these you could easily call. I think this is a situation where we’re like, the experience is a little bit ahead of the vocabulary, you know, do you want to call it infographic? Do you want to call it content marketing site?

[00:20:33] I don’t know exactly what this is, there’s not a specific word for this. It is infographic. It is interactive. It is a website. It is a piece of content marketing but the point is that you’ve taken something that might have been static before and now you’ve brought, there’s a lot more people can do with it.

[00:20:50] And so you can imagine all the same information that was in the PDF, but now there’s more of a choose-your-own-adventure experience to it. And that’s a good way for you to learn more when you realize like wow people are clicking, you know, maybe that’s because design but maybe people really are more interested in this aspect of the report and if you’ve got some tie into your analytics platform you say oh this person was more interested now, you’re still seen as a little bit more to go on

[00:21:11] That’s a big piece of it is like just better user experience but more information data on your side. Infographics, I think are just like a great use for any company every company’s got their own data that they can make us an interesting story around and typically that’s what sort of hits the hardest is a quantitative view of whatever your story is.

[00:21:30] And so that’s why most companies have been making infographics for a while and where they’re falling short is on that last step, which is the presentation layer. You’ve got a beautiful infographic, but it’s a JPEG so you just post it in your blog, but now we can do anything with it doesn’t quite show up or you ask people to download it versus just web applying it creating a site onto itself. That seems really hard before so it was and now it’s not. I think there are some more questions back there?

[00:22:01] Cool. Alright. Well, we’re sorry. We’re a little short on time here, but I’ll give you a part of your day back. Feel free to come out if you have any questions or want to want to learn more. Thanks a lot.

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