How Publishers Used Interactive Content to Make July 4th Exciting Again


The 4th of July is a major editorial event for publishers across all verticals: news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle and more. It sits glaringly on everyone’s editorial calendar, begging the question: What can be done differently this year to stand out from the crowd? This past holiday, publishers discovered the answer: create interactive content.

Top-tier publishers, from MLB to Refinery 29 to Fortune, employed interactive content formats to spice things up with Independence Day-themed quizzes and trivia, and, as a result, thousands of Americans tested their knowledge of US history and pop culture.

The high performance is no surprise. Every year, American and foreign publishers cover the holiday to death with articles that add little value to the historical narrative, no matter what the spin or local news peg. However, interactive content gives users a completely different experience.

recent study found that interactive content formats—like quizzes, polls and trivia—demand more attention than non-interactive ones. This suggests that outlets will increasingly rely on interactive formats to win the public’s attention in a growing sea of information.

Here are four publishers that went above and beyond with their July 4th content.

Fortune: These Are the Most Popular July 4th Movies; 60k views

Fourth of July weekend has historically been an opportunity for the movie industry to premiere its biggest blockbusters, luring Americans away from the beach, parades and barbecues. Fortune put a fun, financial spin on this phenomenon by showcasing the seven highest grossing July 4th blockbusters, starting with “War of the Worlds,” grossing $86.8 million in 2005, to “Spider Man 2,” grossing a whopping $121.8 million in 2004.

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Refinery 29: Could You Pass The U.S. Citizenship Test?; 19k views

Refinery 29 challenged their audience to scratch beneath the surface of July 4th traditions (fireworks, hamburgers and relaxing!) by testing their US history knowledge. Gleaning actual questions used on US citizen naturalization tests, the outlet quizzed their audience on everything from Constitutional rights to geography to past presidents.

TIME: Do You Know Which Presidents Were Best for the Economy?; 6.3k views

Capitalizing off of not only July 4th but also election season, the MONEY section of TIME cleverly published an on-brand quiz that showcased the presidents who were best for the economy. Tapping into the intellectual curiosity of their sophisticated audience, this item asked substantive questions like, “Among Democrats, which president was best for stocks?”

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MLB: Which position player’s pitching performance ruled the July 4 weekend?; 2.4k views

We really have to applaud MLB for harnessing the excitement of baseball season’s July 4th weekend. During the three-day holiday weekend, seven different players — who are not pitchers by trade — took to the pitcher’s mound in six different games. Which one did the best? MLB used an opinion poll to let their audience be the judge.

About the author

Margot Touitou

Margot is a ‎Content Account Manager at Playbuzz. She can be contacted at

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