By Joe Pulizzi published July 28, 2011 Est Read Time: 3 min

Gamification: 4 Examples to Gamify Your Content Marketing

Listened to an excellent presentation by Chris Sullivan from Bunchball yesterday at Custom Media Day 2011 in New York.

If you are not familiar with gamification (adding game components to your content to increase engagement and retention), check out this post from Rick Liebling as well as the Wikipedia definition for gamification.  Online gaming such as Farmville and Angry Birds have brought gamification to the forefront as an important part of the overall content marketing strategy.

Simply put, gamification influences behavior.  According to Bunchball, there are 120 million people are enrolled in travel rewards programs and over 200 million people play online games that are reward based (hard to believe).

We see this as so important that we’ve added a session on gamification at Content Marketing World 2011.

Here are four examples that Chris discussed in his presentation that we can learn from in our own content marketing.

Microsoft Office PowerPoint Ribbon Hero

How do you get people to use all the features in a software package like MS PowerPoint? Well, Microsoft added something called PowerPoint Ribbon Hero as a gaming component in PowerPoint. The idea is that the more functionality you use, the more rewards you earn.  For example, if you progress beyond a certain level in PowerPoint, you unlock PowerPoint animations not available to the regular user (see image).

PowerPoint Ribbon Hero

“Games for learning is an increasingly popular field that’s quickly gaining ground. When we started this project, we wondered if there was a place for games in Office. We set out to understand whether elements of game play (things like scoring points, competing with friends, and earning achievements) could motivate people to explore more of the app, learn new features, and ultimately become more productive” – from a Microsoft Executive

What Microsoft learned is that the more they can get PowerPoint users to leverage additional portions of the platform, the more it leads to retention and customer satisfaction.

LinkedIn Progression

Chris discussed one of the simplest ways to add game components to your online content is to add a simple progression bar, ala LinkedIn.  Chris went into some detail about how human behavior drives us to get to 100% completion.  As you see in the image below, LinkedIn uses a progression bar to compel users to take full advantage of all LinkedIn features.

LinkedIn Gamification

Mint.com Financial Fitness

Does anyone want to be financially unfit? Of course not.

By using Mint.com, you can track how financially fit you are over a set of criteria that Mint provides, including savings, budget and a number of other indicators through a fit score (more on this from Mashable).

Mint Financial FitnessNike Plus

We originally discussed the impact of Nike+ back in 2008 as part of Get Content Get Customers.  Today, it continues to be a shining example of both content marketing and gamification. Using Nike+, you’re not only able to track your running, but compare yourself against your friends on an ongoing basis.

We Have Two Choices

With our content marketing today, we have two choices:

  1. Create content that educates and informs our audience, making them more successful in some way, or
  2. Entertain them

The best content marketing does both.  Gamification can help.

Do you have any gamification examples that work for you?

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the bestselling author of seven content marketing books including his latest, Content Inc. He has founded four companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and his newest venture, The Tilt. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in 35 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

FOLLOW CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE ON SOCIAL