How Publishers Created Interactive Content Around Brexit

In the midst of such a controversial topic that seized worldwide attention and triggered strong emotional responses, these five publishers understood that it was necessary to speak with their readers, not at them.

With the uproar over last week’s EU Referendum, in which the U.K. opted to leave the European Union, lots has happened: Donald Trump released yet another controversial tweet, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron tendered his resignation, Scotland threatened to make another bid for independence and other countries have threatened to leave the EU.

Publishers worldwide have covered the topic from nearly every angle, thus creating another story in itself: Outlets rely on nontraditional formats to win the public’s attention in an overwhelming sea of information and content. There is no surprise there, considering the fact that a recent study found that interactive content formats demand more attention than non-interactive ones.

In the midst of such a controversial topic that seized worldwide attention and triggered strong emotional responses, these five publishers understood that it was necessary to speak with their readers, not at them.

Fortune asked its audience via a poll: “Should it Brexit or Bremain?” The item, published before the vote, presented a list of pre-referendum arguments and asked readers to read through, and then come to their own conclusion before casting their vote. Interestingly enough, the results differed from those of the real vote, showing that the majority of those who interacted with the poll voted to remain in the EU.

The Telegraph opted for a swiper format to gauge its audience’s take on the topic. This item made it easy for readers to cast their opinion, on which speakers performed well during BBC’s Brexit-focused debate, resulting in 184,000 views.

Lifestyle and fitness publication Men’s Health used a trivia quiz to apply a health-conscious approach to the matter. In an item asking, “Is the EU Good for Your Health?,” the editorial team successfully educated its readers about the EU’s influence on day-to-day wellbeing concerns.

U.K. publication The Tab chose to take the humoristic route, asking their audience, “What’s Your Brexit Strategy?.” The outlet employed a personality quiz that included light-hearted questions such as, “How long would you survive in the wild?,” and results such as, “Live on a fishing boat in the North Sea.” The humor reflected the mood of the nation and impressed The Tab’s readers, garnering an 89 percent completion rate and an average of 2.5 minutes spent on page.

Last but not least, The Huffington Post employed a chat-like format to break down the untruths contained within a flyer campaigning to leave the EU. The conversation, which took a comedic approach similar to that of The Tab’s item, pinned reason and sanity against a right-wing party in the U.K. to point out the hilarity of the document.

The above showcases that pairing good content with the right medium– in this case a format–is the catalyst for compelling content readers crave. Outlets that opt to employ interactive content formats and transform their sites into platforms in which readers can voice their opinions will undoubtedly earn the vote of their audiences.

Jo Barrow is the head of content for the U.K. at Playbuzz. She can be reached at Jo@playbuzz.com.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.