Online marketing map and termsSearch engines and SEO marketers keep telling webmasters to upload quality content. But how can you define what quality content actually is?

Search engines define quality as content that “is fresh and engaging.”

This doesn’t really tell you a great deal, but one sure-fire technique of writing fresh and engaging content is to tell a story. And there are seven basic story types you can choose from.

The Quest

The most popular stories are “quest” stories, tales where the hero goes in search of something such as Lord of the Rings or Jason and the Argonauts.

In terms of business content, you can use the quest story technique to explain how you solved obstacles to reach your goal.

Hero’s Journey

The journey is similar to the Quest, the difference being the character is thrown into a situation rather than specifically striving towards a goal. Think Life of Pi, Up In The Air.

As a piece for your business, the journey is a problematic position you found yourself in and the lessons you learned to overcome the problem.

The Underdog

The Underdog stories are simple enough to decipher – and everyone always wants the underdog to win. This may be a story of how you overcame competition from direct rivals with more money and experience or maybe even a legal or social barrier that prevented you growing; the struggle to find funding for example.

Rags to Riches

This is another plot line that requires little explanation. Even in business terms it is the story of your business growth. These type of stories work well for an About Us where you began crafting your first product in your parent’s garage from borrowed material to becoming a multi-national corporation.

Tragedy

Hopefully you can avoid any tragedy stories, but if you do suffer setbacks and can turn this into content that offers value to readers, let it be known. Recently there has been a spate of articles from SEO companies admitting they have been fined for copyright infringement.

Comedy

Humour is always a winner, but comedy stories are often the hardest to write. Rather than force a comical article, it is better to go with something anecdotal that relates to your business.
The story does not have to involve your business directly, it may be something you find in the news, but providing you can use the humourous angle to relate to your business you are on to a winner.

Rebirth

One of the hardest basic story plots for companies to pull off is the rebirth. This type of plot involves a character nobody likes, but during the course of the story he redeems himself for his misdemeanours.

In business, rebirth stories are good PR pieces companies sometimes need to clean up their public image. It is not recommended that you publish rebirth pieces unless you need to otherwise you are airing your dirty laundering in public when nobody even knew they needed a wash.

Approaching online content with a basic story plot in mind will help you shape the piece and make it a more enjoyable read for your audience. End users and search engines will love you for it.