So you’ve decided to take the plunge and embark on content marketing. Great! I’m sure you’re excited to get started on creating awesome content, but before diving head first into eBooks, infographics and thought leadership articles, it’s important to establish your content marketing strategy first. Taking the time up-front to create a strategy may seem like a lot of hard work, but it will reduce the workload over time and maximise your efforts. In this post we’ll look at how to set yourself up for success with effective content marketing goals.
Know where you're going
Setting your goals for content marketing is the first step to achieve results. Without an objective, you are likely to sink into a void of unorganised effort that leads nowhere. Content marketing is not just about getting lots of people to see your site. It's about turning those visitors into customers and creating loyal customers who will buy from you time and time again. Setting goals for your content marketing strategy will help you to focus on the most valuable pieces of content for your business and provide an outline for what you want to achieve in the long-term.
These should be aligned with the broader business goals. What does the business want to achieve in one/three/five years’ time? Start with the bigger picture, and work your way down to what marketing elements you need to achieve this, and finally what content marketing needs to do for you.
Here are some common goals for content marketing to consider:
Increase website traffic
Move leads through the buying journey
Become a thought leader
What makes a goal "smart"? Goals that you can actually reach and accomplish. You don't want to set unrealistic goals or goals that lead you to give up right when you're about to reach them. Setting smart goals will help keep your motivation up and be more likely to get the job done!
Goals should be clear and specific; otherwise you wont feel motivated and focus your efforts. It’s often a good idea to answer the six W’s:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources or limits are involved?
When will be get there?
Identify a numeric target for your goals – whether it’s pounds, percentage increase, rank or traffic figures – so you can track and evaluate your progress and see what’s working well, what needs tweaking, and set future goals. Keep an eye on these figures regularly so you can implement any improvements quickly and see the impact of your content marketing efforts.
Don’t set unrealistic goals so you become disheartened and frustrated. The goals need to be challenging but achievable. Look at historical data and analytics to see how you have performed in the past. If, for example, your website traffic has increased monthly by 15%, set a target of 20-25% rather than 100%! The additional increase in traffic will inevitably raise awareness of your company and subsequently more sales leads!
All of the above listed goals are relevant to the broader business goals; they are not ‘vanity metrics’ of likes and re-tweets. The goals you set should create a real impact on your overall targets and have a direct correlation on supporting the business. For example, if you want to grow your Facebook page followers then this goal is directly linked with increasing brand awareness and ultimately driving new customers through social media channels.
Implementing a timeframe is a must. It helps you to keep focus and makes you accountable. Yes, they often slip because of daily disruptions, but if you’re referring to your strategy regularly, (and you should!); you can address it and get back on track. Again, the time scales also need to be attainable. Doubling your sales leads in a month is unrealistic, but in two years… challenging but do-able. Adding a deadline will not only motivate you to take steps every day toward your goal, but also allow you to track how much progress you've made against your goal versus the time that's passed.
Realising the vision
A well-established goal at the beginning of a project can serve as the foundation for success. Once you’ve established your goals, you can start planning the steps needed to work towards realising the vision. The goals also provide a framework for the future content you’ll produce, ensuring that it has a clear direction and is aligned with the overall business objectives.
To help you get started, we’ve developed this template to help industrial companies create their own content marketing strategy – you can download it here...
Our next blog in this series will focus on establishing your target audience.