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Data & Analytics

Right on Target: Setting Goals for Your Content Marketing Strategy

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Set meaningful goals, track your progress, and know when to change your approach

Content marketing is commanding the spotlight these days, and we don’t foresee that changing anytime soon. Any business can use it to spread brand awareness, increase their own credibility, and attract loyal customers.

But like wearing parachute pants, just because you can create content for your marketing purposes doesn’t mean you should. It’s not a good enough reason to do it simply because everyone else is or you read online that it could help your business.

You need to create goals for your content marketing efforts before you ever write a single word or film a single video. Why do you want to utilize content marketing? What are you hoping to achieve? How are you going to use this content to get there?

These are all questions you need to answer, so your content and the strategies behind it are cohesive. But where do you begin creating goals, especially if you are just dipping your toes into the content sand? Let’s look into some of the methods for creating goals, what types of goals you may want to focus on, and how to track them, so you know you’re actually succeeding.

Dig beneath the surface when you create your goals

Again, to build a successful content strategy, you need to understand why you’re creating content in the first place. What is your objective? Educating customers, increasing brand awareness, and establishing your business as a thought leader in a certain industry are all great objectives.

Once you decide on this, it’s time to establish goals to support and maintain that objective. These goals have to be specific, and they have to mean something. There should be benchmarks along the way to measure success and data to support results. Not doing so is going to lead to confusion and frustration.

We’ve all worked with managers who say something like, “We need to increase our social media followers,” and then stop talking as if they just delivered the most inspirational speech of all time. For some, this is their idea of a goal. But it’s just not good enough. This leaves most people thinking, “What does that mean? How much is it supposed to increase, and how do we do that?”

Vague and empty goals sound great in staff meetings, but they’re really useless. Teams need direction. They need to know what a win looks like and what’s expected of them. It’s OK if the goal is to increase social media followers, but there needs to be a reason for doing it in addition to specific strategies and tactics that will help achieve it.

A common method for creating goals is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). Any goal you create should meet each of these requirements. The purpose of this method is to avoid unrealistic expectations and put meaning behind every piece of content you create.

Which goals are the best goals?

The answer to this question varies from business to business. Certain types of content simply work better with some goals over others. It’s nothing personal. So, to create and execute a successful content strategy, you have to set out with a vision of what you want to achieve.

Although organizations may seem incredibly different on the surface, most of us are striving for brand awareness, loyal customers, and increased sales in some capacity. These are some of the most common marketing goals out there and how purposeful content can help achieve them.

Spread brand awareness

Whether you’re a brand-new business looking to grasp some of the market shares or you’re a veteran that wants to expand, using content can drastically help increase your brand awareness. Use storytelling to illustrate how customers' lives are improved by using your product. Case studies and testimonials are perfect ways to achieve this goal.

Become the expert

Many businesses have incredibly unique solutions but don’t have the budget to tell people about them. Content can help solve that problem. Creating valuable content that educates and informs will draw people to you.

It’s important that your content isn’t a direct sales pitch either. It’s OK to tie in your products sporadically, but the goal of this content is to position your business as an expert on a topic. The more you can provide meaningful information; the more people will be likely to recognize you as a thought leader and become customers.

Build a loyal customer base

Maybe your issue isn’t getting new customers but keeping them. Content should be crafted for customers at every step of the sales process, not just the newbies. Just because someone bought your product doesn’t mean they don’t still have questions or other problems you can address. Use your content to stay useful.

Customers will stick around if you bring value to their lives. Think about how you can expand your content offerings to talk about more than just your products.

Impress Google

Many businesses get into the content game because they heard that having more keywords on their website means they will rank higher in search results. Yes, it’s important to understand which keywords are driving people to your site and implement those in your content.

However, Google has grown up. The search engine now not only ranks your site based on keywords and links. It also ranks your site based on how people interact with it and how likely it is to be valuable to them.

So unfortunately, you can’t just write a bunch of blogs filled with keywords and expect great results. Search engines make you work for it, and they should. If you can put content out there that solves problems, answers questions, and has new ideas, you’ll be rewarded.

Just checking in

If you’re going to put all this work into creating content marketing goals and then creating content to fulfill those goals, you need to round it out by tracking your progress. Otherwise, what’s this all for?

Content marketing is often difficult to track because much of it is not a direct sales pitch. But as you build your library of content and keep up with it consistently, you’ll start to see movement on a few key metrics.

Your lead quality will improve. If your content is educational and valuable, people reaching out to you should already know how you can help them. There will be less of a learning curve than you might see with cold leads. Track how people heard about you. If you’re getting a lot of leads from a certain article or video, you know to repeat that in the future.

Web and social media traffic are easier to track. You can see referral sources, which pages people are spending the most time on, which posts are getting the most engagement, etc. The frequency with which you check on these analytics will vary depending on your bandwidth, but we’d recommend doing so at least once a month.

Great content will also boost your SEO results. You can track this through a variety of software as well as Google Ads to see how you’re ranking for certain keywords, where you’re appearing in searches, and whether you’re getting more inbound links.

When to mix it up

There comes a time in every business’s life when you have to admit that things just aren’t working. Some telltale signs are that your leads have dried up, your social media posts aren’t getting engagement, and your content isn’t converting. If you’re noticing any of these things happening to you, it might be time to reevaluate your goals and dive into how you can improve your content offerings.

If you just don’t have the bandwidth for that or you’re not sure where to start, you can consider contacting a content marketing expert like ContentBacon! We can help you create the content you’ve always dreamed of that aligns with your goals and gets you closer to achieving them. Check out our subscription packages and contact us today to learn more. We’d love to meet you!

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