Let’s be clear from the start: at some point, you will set objectives for your content, such as three new blog posts a week, or a video every month, or an ebook every quarter, etc.
But these are objectives for content tactics, which we well address in a future blog post (I promise).
What we’re talking about now are strategic business goals. In other words: why?
Why are you investing time, talent and money in content in the first place? What do you hope to achieve? What purpose does (will) your content serve? How does content fit within your marketing/sales structure – or within your overall business plan?
There are many good answers, which may include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Reinforce a particular brand perception among a key demographic or audience
- Cultivate and sustain connections among a carefully chosen set of industry influencers
- Generate high-quality leads for your sales team
- Produce spider-food to improve search engine rankings for select keywords
- Improve customer relations/squeeze more value from current customers
- Transform your marketing approach from “push” to “pull”
I’m sure you can think of others (and may curse me for neglecting them), but whatever your answers are, it’s important that they are clearly defined and articulated throughout your organization. Your goals are important, because they will help you determine the following:
- Picking tactics: Every day, we’re hit with a bewildering number of new tactical options that make marketers heads spin. Should we post images on Pinterest? Develop a mobile app? Look, you can waste a lot of time chasing the “latest and greatest.” But the smart move is to ask a simple question: Is the potential tactic aligned with your business goals? If it is, perhaps it merits investigation. If not, forget about it. (Seems obvious, right? But I’m sure all of us can recall less than prudent marketing decisions based on whims rather than wisdom…)
- Directing resources: After you’ve whittled down your tactics (based on goals) to a particular set you’ll pursue, you still have to decide on priorities: which ones merit the most time and money? Answer: again, the ones most tightly aligned to your goals.
- Measuring results: Deep breath everyone – there are so many different things you could possibly measure: page views, downloads, leads, subscriptions, social media influence rankings, etc. But I’ve seen too many people get hung up on metrics that ultimately don’t mean anything – that have no or little relation to business goals. Look, an ebook that only gets a hundred downloads, but helps three influencers push your product to the decision makers within their companies, might be a huge success for you. Conversely, a video that gets 10,000 views, but doesn’t resonate with your core market, might be a wasted effort. Measure those things that affect your goals; the rest is noise.
We’ll talk more about business goals, live and in-person, in the Content Marketing 101: Getting Started workshop at Content Marketing World in September. When you register by August 15, you can save $100: use the coupon code CMWA100.