How to Create Engaging Content: The Three Layers Deep Rule

7-layer-dip1We all know how delicious a 7 layer dip can be.  Salsa and beans alone are OK, but when they are combined with 5 other ingredients they become a mouth-watering extravaganza!  (Yes, I have issues with food.)

Adding layers is not only a good strategy for a party dip, but also for developing engaging, interactive content.  However when it comes to content, 7 layers is just too much and you should really stop at 3.  So when developing content, here are the 3 layers you should put in place to get attention, encourage thought, and ultimately create a deeper level of buy-in and stickiness.

Layer 1- Billboard Advertising

Everyone who experiences interactive content starts at some point as a passer-by.  The glow of the LCD attracts them from the corner and now the clock starts ticking.  The human attention span is 7 seconds, same as a gold-fish, so you need to act fast.  In this case you need to use the same philosophy of the old school of advertising, road side billboards.  1 large message needs to be prominent, with a catchy visual to match, one that can be read and understood as the consumer speeds by.   If this is a video or music with visuals, it is sometimes called an “attract loop”.  Something counter intuitive, a play on words, or a question all work well here.  If the message is catchy, they will stop to dive into layer 2.

Layer 2- What’s in it for them?

The second layer to the content comes when the user stops and interacts, or is close enough to read a smaller font etc, based on slowing down and becoming interested.  Again the 7 second clock is ticking so make the first sentence count to earn a few more.  This should be no more than a short paragraph or 30 second video, and should clearly illustrate a value proposition for the customer.  It should define the reward and create a call to action, driving them either to action or to layer 3.

Layer 3- The Lowdown

This is where you tell how your product or service fulfill the promise of layer two.  Why you are different, why you are better, why people choose you, etc.  This is the layer where you explain how it works.  Too many skip to this before the consumer is interested and they walk on, or if you are actually speaking to them in person, they begin glaze over as speeds and feeds without any relevance are shouted out in rapid fire succession.

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Again this layer shouldn’t be more than 2-3 short paragraphs or a 1-2 minute video explaining 2 or 3 key features.  Many times having a way to make the content portable, like a QR code to full details or an email option for a pdf etc are good here, as you don’t want to create a traffic jam at the interactive display as the student decides to become the teacher.

If you can follow these rules, and not rush to the stuff you think is important before the consumer is ready to hear it, then you may just create an engaging experience that encourages deeper interaction and ultimately delivers high ROI.

What is the best content experience you have had with interactive digital signage?  Please share one example in the comments below.