One of the biggest challenges I've faced as a content creator is generating content that is highly interactive and engaging. It's not always a matter of creativity– many of the topics I write about are perfectly well suited for community engagement. However, as a blogger, the blog medium isn't always the best for getting folks to directly interact with content. It's easy to skim through a relevant blog post and then bounce.
Throughout my time as a blogger over on BlakeWrites, one of the tools that I found helpful in reducing a reader's tendency to bounce away from my content was to embed something like a quiz within my content. In fact, some of my highest performing pieces of content on BlakeWrites were quizzes– not only did they sustain significant month-over-month traffic, but they also tended to generate more conversions and new subscribers than static text publications.
I started off using Interact to build my quizzes and it worked beautifully. I still think Interact is a great tool and recommend using it, but only if you have the budget to do so. To use Interact at a subscription level that lets me directly sync leads into HubSpot (the CRM and CMS I use to manage my sites), I was paying close to $700 per year for Interact. Since I don't aggressively monetize BlakeWrites, that meant that my investment in Interact, though it was generating leads, had basically no ROI.
I searched high and low for an out-of-the-box solution that wouldn't require a huge chunk of my budget. After comparing products that ranged from $200 per year to $750 per year, I eventually came across Playbuzz.
With Playbuzz, I'm able to create quizzes, polls, listicles, ranked lists that readers can upvote, and even promotional videos. And since I'm not monetizing these pieces of content, my annual subscription cost for Playbuzz is a whopping $0.
That's right. I'm creating beautiful, interactive content that is easy to embed within my blog posts and website pages and paying nothing to do so. I am rapidly falling in love with Playbuzz, and wanted to share a bit about what I love about it, as well as some of the drawbacks that you may face if you give it a try.
What Playbuzz Does Well (like, really really well)
Right off the bat, my very favorite thing about Playbuzz is that they give you a wide variety of options for types of content to create that are traditionally difficult to create within most blog and CMS platforms unless you have the assistance of a frontend developer.
Most people don't realize how dev-heavy things like quizzes, upvote-based ranked articles, and polls can be to create and deploy. Getting the functionality to work well is one thing, and making them look nice and modern is another. With Playbuzz, you don't have to do any of the heavy dev work. You fill in the content, such as images and text, and Playbuzz handles the rest. Once you've created your interactive content, you can just generate an embed code and add it to the HTML of your blog post or website, or you can get a direct link to your content that you can share on social media.
Embedding the content you create in Playbuzz is incredibly easy. For example, in the HubSpot content editor, all I have to do is choose to edit my source code, paste in the Playbuzz-provided script, and hit publish. Boom. That's it. Playbuzz handles the rest.
On top of that, when you're logged into your Playbuzz account and visit your published content, you'll see a quick snapshot of the content's stats. This snapshot won't be visible to your readers, but it gives you an easy way to see at a glance how your content is performing.
I genuinely can't overstate how much this feels like a game changer. There are so many more options for creating engaging content that I wouldn't have thought of as a possibility previously. As any blogger will tell you, getting your readers to really engage with your content is a huge challenge, but it's hugely rewarding. Something as small as a poll or quiz can be the difference between someone bouncing away from your content or sharing it with their social network on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or whatever.
What Could Playbuzz Potentially Do Better?
While the aphorism of "you get what you pay for" is often true with online tools, I am already getting way more value out of Playbuzz than what I'm currently paying for. Their freemium tools are amazing, and they are perhaps some of the best examples of product marketing that I can think of.
That being said, there are a few small tweaks I would make to the Playbuzz platform, so I'll point those details out here for any other marketer or content creator who is interested in trying it out.
First, I wish that the content editor would autosave. I've accidentally rubbed my hand on my Mac's track pad and gone back to the previous page, losing my work within the Playbuzz editor on more than one occasion. If the editor autosaved every thirty seconds or so, it would make the editing experience feel much more stable and easy to use.
On the topic of easy to use, some of the editor UI can be a bit confusing. For example, when creating a list-based piece of content, it can be a challenge to locate the appropriate button for adding a new list item. The first list-based piece that I created in Playbuzz, in fact, I used the duplicate function on my last item card to add new items since I couldn't easily locate the add more option.
Finally, especially for marketers with an SEO focus, I have some reservations about using Playbuzz to create text-based content, such as listicles or ranked articles. Since the content gets loaded onto your page via an embedded script, when Googlebot and other crawlers explore the content source, they see a script, not the text that would get loaded onto the page. So if you're integrating keywords or using the Playbuzz content to link back to your pillar pages, Google isn't necessarily going to see that. To get around this, I've been editing my pages' source code and basically copying and pasting all of my text content into a div that's set to include all of the words and links within the HTML but not display them on the front end. It looks something like:
<div style="visibility: hidden; height: 0px;">
<p>CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT</p>
<p>CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT</p>
<p>CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT</p>
This way, all of that content is available for search engines and other crawlers to understand the content of the page, but it doesn't create duplicate content on the front end. While this is a fairly easy solution, it is one that requires a bit of manual copying and pasting, which can get quite tedious, that marketers and content creators should be aware of.
In spite of the few critiques that I have about Playbuzz, it is seriously one of the best marketing tools I've ever used. I can't wait to explore all that I can do with it and integrate it into more of my published content!