The Quasimodo guide to successful content marketing

By Neil Barraclough


In Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo is described as “hideous” and a “creation of the devil”.

He’s written off – entirely because of his appearance – before he’s had chance to develop.

But Quasimodo proves to have far greater qualities.

Do you make the same mistake with your content? If you find yourself focusing first on your content’s appearance, it’s time to reconsider.

Focus on the story

Above anything, make your story the best it can be.

Whether it’s surprise, shock, anger or happiness, grab your audience and make them feel something.

Reinforce that emotion by building your content on something credible. Do you have research or data to support your story?

The combination of emotion and credibility makes it much more likely that people will share your content.

Oooh, shiny, shiny!

In the endless pursuit of quality content marketing, it can be easy to forget what really matters.

Something that looks pretty and gives a great user experience is certainly a goal worth pursuing.

But the hallmark of real quality – the standard we pursue at Tecmark – is that it has to have more than just that.

Prettiness without substance soon wears thin.

What happens when you get it right

Sometimes, the substance is so strong that your content’s visual representation becomes far less important.

Think of the data that can be mined from Freedom of Information requests.

In September 2013, the Huffington Post published the results of an FOI request about how many times users of the Parliamentary Network servers at the House of Commons had attempted to access websites classed as pornographic.

The resulting content, which was illustrated by a solitary stock photo, received more than 1,500 likes on Facebook, was shared more than 1,100 times on social media and generated news stories and inbound links from sites all over the world.

Survey results can have a similar effect.

Solicitors Irwin Mitchell released findings in December 2014 that suggested one in four married couples were only staying together “˜for the kids’.

Their findings generated press coverage in the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Daily Express.

We’re speaking from experience

In October 2014, we aimed to get news coverage featuring our brand on the topic of smartphone usage and the mobile web.

We surveyed 2,000 UK smartphone users and produced a 272-word blog post with a free-to-use photograph – hardly setting the world alight in terms of visual wow-factor.

But… we discovered the average user completed 221 tasks on their phone every day.

The survey results were covered in the national press – both in print and online – and featured on national television.

To date, the blog post has generated links from more than 100 domains – including the BBC, The Guardian, Mail Online, ITV and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Our survey was not pretty. But:

* It was original.
* It told a story.
* It resonated with people.
* The data was credible.
* And it had a shock factor.

Next time you’re caught in the excitement of a project that looks brilliant, make sure there’s substance behind the beauty.


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Tecmark Author Neil Barraclough

About the Author

Neil Barraclough: Brand Communications Manager

A former journalist with experience in radio, TV and a decade in national newspapers, Neil now focuses on communications and results-driven copywriting.

Visit Neil's Page
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