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Content marketing: I want to tell you a story

This post was originally published on the Novacom blog.

For some, content is a bit like dark matter. Nobody spotted it was there, even though it constitutes 84.5% of the total matter in the universe. And rather like content, it is often seen as some sort of 'gloop' holding everything - pretty pictures, headlines and cutesy graphics - together on a web page.

Dark can make you invisible

Treating content as gloop is a very bad idea. All of your on-page search optimisation assets are associated with this content, and if it is in any way sub-optimal, so will be your search engine page ranking, and your website visibility. You will disappear.

So while your number-one priority is to site visitors and their user experience, you will need them to see your website in the first place to have an experience, so if you're not there, neither will they be.

See the light

What good crisp and well crafted content will do is offer persuasive and engaging stories to your visitors that help them choose to buy from you.

So, while you may have a passion for the products or services your enterprise offers, the first step is to run an analytical eye over your content. Would you buy from what the marketing content on this site is telling you?

Keep it tight

This question is critical, as unlike your regular visitors, you will be very focussed on this review task, and no doubt attempting to engage with the marketing content and the story it tells.

Therefore if you have the slightest reservation about content flow, succinctness and quality, then that will indicate a serious deficit in content quality.

Where to next?

Apart from the level of engagement the content offers, the 'shape' of the story and where it takes you is of equal importance. This is about not only the story itself - its shape - but also where it takes visitors.

This includes both internal navigation as well as links to external resources. If this navigation and associated links are in good shape, and are material and relevant to a well shaped story, this not only helps your visitors learn about your products and services, but it also helps improve your search ranking.

Not rocket science

We use a lot of jargon in the digital marketing arena and one candidate is 'user experience'. But what does this actually mean? Simply put, it means in most commercial environments visitors are happy enough with what they saw and what they were being told to enter into a transaction.

Achieving stellar performance

If your website(s) are performing sub-optimally, and you really think a change of philosophy in content marketing is the main requirement, here are three things you will need to consider.

Does your digital agency have the right marketing content team in place for you? Are they deploying subject matter experts on your content who know your marketplace? And do these experts have a visitor engagement strategy in place for you?

If your digital agency is a truly digital agency, they should be able to cover these questions for you with performance data. This should give you pin-sharp performance statistics, not only substantiating or disproving your view, but also offering a close measurement of your marketing return on investment (ROI).

So, whichever way you approach this issue, you'll learn something new.