Getting your content marketing right isn’t only about finding out how successful your strategy currently stands. It’s about how to make your content marketing strategy better and use it for achieving business goals.
Without the right goals and metrics to align it against, you’re making decisions in the dark, possibly without even realizing it. Only by knowing clearly where your content marketing is furthering your organization’s goals — and where it is falling short or is misaligned — will you ever be able to turn your content into the powerhouse that drives business growth.
Your metrics set against goals are what tell the story of your content, illustrating where it works, how well, and why or why not. It’s content goals that define the impact your strategy is making on business growth.
If you’re having trouble measuring the worth of your content marketing, you’re not alone. Only 39 percent of marketers believe they are somewhat successful at tracking ROI. Just eight percent say they are very successful.
Even if you create the best piece of content the world has ever seen, it won’t move the needle for your business if it doesn’t serve your business goals.
But making sure that all the moving pieces of your content strategy are fitting into the bigger picture can be difficult. That’s why setting goals for your content strategy is such a vital part of creating better content that helps your business make meaningful connections and build stronger relationships with your customers and prospects.
A recent survey from CoSchedule found that marketers who set goals are 376 percent more likely to report success. And 89 percent of goal-setting marketers achieve their goals some or most of the time, while 3 percent always achieve them.
Establishing a strategy with documented and defined goals helps get your team organized and on the same page. Let’s face it, organized teams that are all working toward the same goal are more likely to achieve that goal than teams that don’t.
Goal-setting isn’t easy and setting marketing goals or content strategy goals can be especially challenging for many businesses who don’t know where to start.
To take some of the mystery out of the content marketing goal-setting process, follow these steps below:
SMART is an acronym, outlining five attributes that make for good goals. We’ve outlined this as an excellent way to track both content and business goals in our previous blog on How to Create a Content Strategy in One Week:
Now that you know about SMART goals, it’s time to start applying what you’ve learned to your content marketing strategy goals.
If you’re going to set realistic content strategy goals, you first have to take stock of where you are right now. If you don’t have a real content strategy in place, that’s okay. But it’s important to acknowledge where you’re starting because your realistic goals will be smaller and simpler than those of businesses who have been at this a long time.
If you do have existing content, spend some time analyzing it by conducting a content audit. If you’ve been doing content marketing for years, your existing catalog should be fairly full.
Analyze the engagement on this existing content. Which pieces are getting traffic? Which ones aren’t? Identify trends or weaknesses in the content that’s not getting seen.
Next, take a look at conversion. Are you turning visitors into leads at a rate that’s competitive for your industry? If you’re not pleased with your conversion rates, you’ve already identified a potential area for growth. If your overall rates are okay, drill down deeper into the content, looking at what’s converting well and what isn’t. Just like before, look for trends or weaknesses in the underperforming content.
Your content marketing goals shouldn’t be created out of thin air; make sure they are always tied to your current business objectives.
What are your current needs? HubSpot observes that most marketers’ needs follow the same three trajectories:
Before moving forward, determine which of these categories is most pressing for you right now. Every business wants to do better in all three areas, but narrower, realistic goals are smarter than “make everything better all at once” type of goals.
Specific, measurable goals will have some kind of measurement component. Once you’ve identified your target area, it’s time to talk numbers on what you’re looking to hit.
These can vary and be expressed in multiple ways. You can talk in terms of real numbers — let’s aim to bring in 200 new visitors each month — or you can deal in percentages — let’s increase our new visitor count by 5% each month. Lastly, you can express your goal in terms of exponential growth, aiming for 2x or even 10x growth.
Now that you’ve selected an area for growth and a target for that growth and you’ve made sure it’s got the right balance of attainable and relevant, it’s time to put some skin in the game.
Set a target date for the completion of the goal. You want to find a date that is itself attainable: something challenging, but not impossible. To do this, first estimate what your goal should take as far as hours worked. Spend time thinking about what sorts of obstacles you’ll face in achieving the goal, and factor those into your timeframe.
Creating a SMART content marketing goal is not the end of your content goal-setting journey. To succeed in your goal, you must devote the appropriate resources or people to your endeavor.
Far too many marketing teams create strong goals without ever creating a cohesive plan to meet those goals. Then, when the month, quarter, or year has passed and the goal remains unreached, they wring their hands and wonder why.
If you followed earlier steps correctly, you should have a good estimate of what kind of resource allocation your goal demands. Now is the time to allocate real people and real hours to the completion of the goal. If you find you don’t have the resources needed to meet all the goals you set, it’s back to the drawing board, because your goals aren’t realistic.
This one is arguably the most important and most overlooked. It is vital to establish KPIs (key performance indicators) and know exactly how you’ll measure success along with keeping track of how your team is doing against the goals.
Whatever the makeup of your team, the crucial step in your content strategy process is follow-up. Check in regularly with every member of your team and make sure to inspect their work at some level. Ask how realistic they feel the goal is and see if there’s anything you might be able to do to help.
When it comes to tracking measurement through KPIs, you’ll want to aim for content marketing KPIs like conversion rates, newsletter open rates, audience reach, and customer engagement use data collected from your company, sales sheets, website, social media channels, customer surveys, and more to create valuable, meaningful metrics that allow you to measure and track your content strategy performance.
While the overall process of setting and sticking to goals can seem a bit overwhelming, you’ll discover that setting clear and concise content marketing goals is both beneficial and helpful to you and your team as you seek success with customer and prospects.
And of course, if you have questions or want to chat about anything content marketing, we’d be happy to grab a beer or cup of coffee. Give Keyhole Marketing a call today!