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Content Marketing: People, Stories and Data

July 18, 2014.

Content marketing is the ideal method of subtly changing perceptions of your brand by altering points of view over time.

"Great content is all about people, stories and data."

The importance of creating and measuring compelling customer-centred stories is paramount when writing content. Content has always been about telling stories, but our access to vast amounts of data at our fingertips has meant we can tailor messages to the people we're trying to reach in a far more effective way.

This 'holy trinity' of content is very much the 'marketing of today' and isn't something organisations can really afford to ignore.

Here's some key stats that show you why:

  • 42% of businesses now have a documented content strategy
  • 90% of consumers find custom content important
  • 53% of websites with properly optimised video content are more likely to rank higher

People

Great content has to start and finish with the people it's designed to reach, engage and convert. For brands to truly be social in their use of networks like Twitter or Facebook, they must be empathetic and human in the way they create and share content. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs shows that people have clear priorities in terms of their requirements and interests. Human content should be:

  • Inspirational
  • Educational
  • Create an emotional response (not just sadness/happiness)
  • Relevant
  • Authentic

Authenticity is a real keyword here, because something can't be authentic if the story isn't well-crafted and is poorly informed due to a lack of, or misunderstanding, of available data.

Stories

Content marketers often come from a journalistic background. The marketing industry is seeing an influx of ex-journalists using their honed, trained story-telling skills to create quality content for websites, emails, brochures and across social networks.

Many marketers champion the use of archetypes in quality content marketing story -telling, giving people something authentic to connect to - instead of generic rubbish that doesn't mean anything to anyone. Using models like The Hero's Journey gives a tried and tested structure to a piece of content that people will respond to, as it's a subliminally recognised archetype.

Data

The prolific growth in the detail and availability of data has changed the way we create, generate, share and measure content. It's essential because you can't create great content if you can't learn what works for your audiences and what doesn't. You can't successfully share it if you don't know what the best channels are for your audience and you can't measure it if it's not been aligned to your overall objectives.

Analysing content data enables us to:

  • Understand what content visitors are viewing, how long for and where they came from
  • Discover what content engagement says about who our visitors are
  • Create content based on what we've learned from our content data
  • Match or correct the assumptions we make about how visitors engage with and respond to our content

Content leaders measure how every piece of content performs more closely than ever before. In many instances, the time spent on reviewing data associated with content is more than the time it takes to create and share that content. It sounds odd, but by knowing your customers and having the right data – you can be far more efficient in how you plan, create and review the content you create.

If you want to know more...

If this has whetted your content thirst and you want to know more, take a look at our other content-focused blog articles here:

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