Crafting Content Strategy For Interactive Story-Telling

Annie Stone, Director of Marketing
Posted

We are thrilled to be hosting our friend Jeremy Sherlick, Deputy Director of Multimedia at Council On Foreign Relations(CFR) on our Visual Dimensions vodcast series tomorrow at 1:30PM EST to discuss how CFR develops  content strategies for their striking interactive presentations. I had the treat of sitting down with Jeremy for a Q&A session  on the eve of the show to learn a little more about how interactives fit into the CFR digital strategy and what advice he has for other organizations that are considering developing interactive presentations for their website.  Check out our Q&A below and register for the vodcast: "The Craft of Building Educational Interactive Stories."

Q:

Can you first tell us about how you have established interactive presentations as a tool to meet your organization’s goals?

A:

CFR.org has been producing interactives since 2007. We won three Emmys for our series called “Crisis Guides.”  Up until our work with Phase2, we developed the tools in Flash. But we wanted to make the guides accessible on the emerging platforms of tablet and mobile. The world of interactive was moving in the direction of a responsive HTML5, javascript presentation model and we wanted to be right there with it. Interactive presentations have helped us expand our audience. Our traditional audience was high level foreign policy readers. Now it includes educators, students and general news consumers.

Q: 

Can you tell us about how you have created your high level content strategy for your interactive presentations? And why this kind of presentation is so effective and powerful for education audiences?

A:

Our interactive content strategy is rooted in our core educational mission. The presentations can often illustrate complex elements of an international story, and students or professors can engage with many of the elements. This offers opportunities that text cannot give alone. For example, timelines can contextualize history, and the maps can highlight the geographical components of a story.

Q: 

How do you determine what interactive elements to use to tell your stories, and how does this fit into your content strategy for that particular topic?

A:

We consider interactive elements from the beginning stages of developing the interactive. The main focus is on what tells the story. An interactive with a historical component lends itself to a timeline. One with many numerical statistics leads to By the Numbers infographics.

Q: 

What advice would you give other organizations that are considering adding interactive storytelling to their digital strategies?

A:

The trick is to not think of the interactive elements as an afterthought, but rather develop all aspects of the online presentation together, from the beginning. To do this you have to have a team that is working in very close conjunction. Iteration is key. Start small and grow over time.

It's always a pleasure to interview Jeremy and discuss all the great work CFR is doing. Register for the Visual Dimensions vodcast tomorrow, March 28th, 1:30PM EST to learn more!

Annie Stone

Annie Stone

Director of Marketing