When it comes to developing a content marketing strategy, your brand, your goals, and your audience will all be critical pieces of the puzzle. But while you may have a clear handle on your brand identity, many organizations are surprisingly vague when it comes to defining their goals. They feel that their goals go without saying — “we want to sell more of our product” — or they set goals that aren’t measurable.
But for every content marketing strategy you develop, you should have a clear set of goals in mind. This applies just as much when you’re defining your brand-wide content marketing strategy as when you’re putting together a strategy for a particular campaign.
Let’s take a look at how to set strategic content goals that will drive marketing success.
Brand-Wide vs. Campaign-Specific Content Marketing Strategy Goals
What’s the difference between the goals that you set for your brand as a whole and the ones you outline for a particular campaign? The answer to this question will, of course, differ from company to company. But we can make a few generalizations.
A brand-wide goal is longer-term. It’s about where you want to go as a company. If you’d like to see a certain level of growth; move into a new field or industry; or expand your product offerings, these are things that will take time. What’s more, they’ll most likely require the collaboration of every department, including the deployment of a series of marketing campaigns.
A single marketing campaign will generally have more specific goals that are measurable in the shorter term. For instance, if you’re launching a new product, you might build a marketing campaign around it with the goal of selling a certain quantity of that product. This goal in turn may serve a larger, brand-wide goal of hitting a particular revenue metric, or expanding into a new market.
Finally, keep in mind that a single marketing asset should have a single goal. One of the most common visual content marketing mistakes that we see is when organizations try to make a single motion graphic or infographic speak to too many audiences or sell too many products at once. The result is often that the asset doesn’t connect strongly with anyone.
The 3 Characteristics of a Strong Goal
When you’re setting goals for your content strategy, make sure that each one is:
- Focused: The goal should be clear, specific, and not too broad.
- Measurable: You can’t know whether you’ve achieved your goal without some way to measure it.
- Up-to-Date: You should reassess your goals on a regular basis and adjust when necessary.
We’ll address all of these features below.
1. Setting a Focused Goal
Especially when setting brand-wide goals, it’s not a bad thing to have big dreams. We get it — you want to be the best [shoe company / microprocessor manufacturer / pharmaceutical company] in the country, or even the world! But goals, first and foremost, need to be practical — otherwise, they won’t be useful.
So think about what’s achievable over the next year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. Set goals for each of these benchmarks. This will draw a clear path for your organization, with predefined actions you can take to achieve those big dreams.
For individual campaigns, it’s about being focused on your particular campaign. Brand-wide goals are great to keep in mind, and should still serve as your guide. But don’t let them distract you from the aims of this project. Determine what this campaign should achieve.
2. Measuring Your Goal
No goal is complete without a clear plan for how you’re going to measure it. But setting deadlines for certain goals — say, a 3-year plan as described above — is just one way to do this.
Take a look at the type of data you’re already collecting. You may be measuring site traffic and activity using Google Analytics or Search Console. You may be using CRM software such as HubSpot or Zoho. All of this data can be used to measure your goal achievement. That’s why it’s actually a good place to start here. What can you measure? What do these measurements say about the success of a particular campaign or the growth of your company?
For instance, you may decide that your goal for a particular campaign is to drive more interest in your blog. In order to achieve this, you’ll develop a weekly blog calendar and then push those blog posts on all your social media channels and via email blasts. In order to measure this, you’ll add UTM parameters to the URLs you share so you can track what campaign-specific promotion efforts are driving the most traffic, and how people are reaching your blog. You may also choose to measure time on page and/or bounce rate on particular posts and your blog as a whole.
3. Keeping Your Goal Up-to-Date
With the blog-traffic campaign mentioned above, you’ll want to actually use the data that you’re collecting. That data isn’t just helpful in measuring the success of your campaign. It’s also useful for adjusting your content marketing strategy and your campaign goals.
For instance, if you notice that blog posts that are listicles are driving the most traffic, you’ll want to adjust your blog content calendar to include more listicles. If traffic driven by LinkedIn prefers a different kind of article than Twitter traffic does, you’ll need to assess which type of traffic is more valuable to your business, then optimize your content for the corresponding channel. And if you’re achieving more traffic than originally anticipated, set your goals higher! The options are truly endless. The important thing is that you’re using your data to drive constant improvement.
The same holds true for your brand’s content marketing strategy. It’s important to reassess your goals on a regular basis. What goals have you excelled at and why? What haven’t you achieved and why? Asking these questions doesn’t just help you adjust your expectations. It can also help you identify new opportunities for growth.
Setting your content marketing strategy goals is both an art and a skill. It’s both data-driven and people-driven. Make sure to consider all the approaches above to develop goals that will achieve real results for your organization.