There are many benefits of content marketing. From enhancing your authority to boosting traffic, generating leads, and more, content can function as the primary engine of your digital marketing efforts.
However, it’s difficult to tap into these benefits without a proper content marketing strategy in place. Even then, you can create a content plan, a solid framework, and effective templates, but your content won’t contribute to the overall success of your marketing strategy without goals to guide it.
It’s difficult to create goals for a content strategy without understanding why you need them and what they should focus on. Let’s dig into content marketing goals, what they look like, the many forms they can take, and how you can implement (and follow up on) them within your larger marketing efforts and activities.
Marketing isn’t pure science or mathematical formulas. While data and analytics have a critical place in modern marketing, it is just as much an artistic profession as a cold and calculating one.
That’s why it’s important to understand the why behind each marketing element you utilize if you want it to have an impact. In this case, why is it important to set goals for your content marketing strategy?
The answer, as is so often the case with content, is as multifaceted as the content itself. For instance, consider the sheer variety of forms of content available to your brand. You can create a blog post, emails, social media posts, and more.
These take place across different platforms, as well. A blog lives on your website. A guest post hangs out on another company’s site. A social post dwells on a social media platform.
And then there’s content format to consider. You can create text, images, videos, and audio content. Often, these formats overlap as you repurpose content across different platforms for various marketing initiatives.
This prolific and varied utilization of content marketing makes goals essential. The sheer potential of each piece of content you create requires it to have an objective behind it. Otherwise, you will have no way of ensuring that it has a positive, cost-effective impact on your marketing.
To summarize, content marketing goals are important because they help align each piece of content you create with your larger growth marketing strategy.
Understanding why you need goals is a great start. But what do those goals look like?
Not surprisingly, they can manifest in many different ways. However, there is one main objective of content marketing that can and should always be a factor: providing value to the consumer.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an email for a new lead, a “how-to” post for an existing customer on your website, or anything else. Every piece of content should take into account the audience you’re writing it for and how they can benefit from that specific bit of marketing collateral.
When you write content that provides real-world value, you also influence the other major element of content marketing: authority.
Content marketing is a powerful way to demonstrate thought leadership in your industry. It allows you to show peers, consumers, and the competition that you know your stuff.
This is true no matter what part of the sales funnel you’re addressing with your content. If you’re writing a top-funnel basic 101 piece of content, show your target audience that you know your stuff and can communicate it to them in an understandable way. If you’re writing a complex whitepaper for bottom-funnel purposes, take off the gloves and show readers that you can get deep with your understanding and nuanced with your solutions.
Along with providing value and building authority, content marketing can have other goals. For instance, it is a great way to build SEO. A good SEO strategy may be its own part of your growth marketing plan, but search engine optimization spills over into content creation all the time.
Digital PR is also content-adjacent. Every time you create a guest post on another site or contribute to an industry publication, you need to create content to convey your message.
Things like SEO and digital PR contribute to the visibility and credibility of your brand. It makes these secondary, though still important, goals that content leaders can focus on.
Okay. So far, we’ve considered the why behind content-based objectives and the primary goals that they seek to achieve. But what does a content-based KPI actually look like?
Surprise, surprise! It turns out that there are many different forms that a content goal can take. This depends on the content style, platform, format, and purpose.
Here are some examples of what content-based goals can look like when you need your content to achieve a certain marketing goal.
Remember, one of the biggest purposes of valuable content is to establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of your target consumers. As a content marketer, each piece of content you create has the potential to send this message.
A blog can thoroughly explain a concept. At the same time, a tweet can concisely answer questions and provide cutting-edge industry news. Always consider how your content reflects on your brand’s position as a thought leader in your industry.
Okay, so technically, you should do your market research before you create content. However, you can also use your content as a way to further understand that same audience.
For instance, when you generate a social media post, you may get responses from those interested in your business and the industry and topics you relate to. Use these to learn about your average and potential customer, confirming and expanding your initial market research in the process.
Identifying your audience may be valuable, but quality content works both ways, too. When content is created as part of a digital PR campaign and with SEO in mind, it can help your audience recognize you.
As you pop up in SERPs and on industry publications, you begin to ingrain yourself in the minds of your target audience. They see your brand associated with your industry and the pain points you can help them address. This sows the seeds for them to come to you when their needs prompt them to action.
Along with general awareness, optimized content can drive visitors to your website. This primarily comes through the boost in search engine traffic that can come when you rank higher in SERPs (more on that in a minute).
However, you can also develop higher levels of organic traffic when you interact on social media platforms, send emails, create videos, write guest posts, and otherwise create content that engages consumers looking for solutions you can provide.
When you create content, especially onsite content, it puts your business on Google’s radar. As your brand becomes associated with industry keywords and is saturated with quality backlinks to high DA (domain authority) websites, you begin to show up higher in search results.
This process can take time. SEO results don’t happen overnight. However, given that time, you can see a bump in search rankings, which can be a major contributor to that all-important flow of organic traffic.
This goes hand-in-hand with establishing authority. One of the best ways to provide value to your customers is by educating them in areas where you are a subject matter expert (SME).
You can demonstrate SME value by providing complex industry concepts in digestible formats. You can also create “how-to” articles, answer feedback and FAQs, and generally provide your target audience with the solutions to their pain points.
Along with educating, great content can help you engage with customers. This invites those interested in your brand to interact with you and create meaningful experiences.
Engagement can be anything from answering a quiz or providing feedback to participating in AMAs (ask me anything), interacting on social media, or emailing back and forth. Regardless of the format, use the opportunity to cultivate deeper relationships.
The process of generating leads is a crucial part of a successful business model. It ensures that your business has a steady flow of fresh digital faces that have the potential to turn into loyal customers.
Content has the power to generate leads at a low cost. When a piece of content is keyword-rich, linked properly, and infused with technical SEO, it can attract organic traffic to your website indefinitely.
Once you’ve improved your visibility and generated a lead, you need to nurture it. This comes from building interest, credibility, and trust.
High-quality content can accomplish all of these things. An SEO-optimized blog can improve SERP rankings. An email drip campaign can spark interest. Guest posts can boost credibility. Together, all of these establish trust. They turn a lead into a potential customer ready to make a purchase.
Once you’ve established your authority, provided value, and led a consumer through the customer journey to the point of making a purchase, your content can continue to serve as a way to foster loyalty. Brand loyalty is hard to come by. Once won, you want to invest in maintaining and improving it over time.
Content can do that by providing quality self-help support to existing customers. Instructions, manuals, step-by-step troubleshooting tips, and other support documentation can keep your customers happy and loyal to your brand as they use your products and services.
The process of cultivating loyalty in existing customers doesn’t just keep them happy. It can also help customer retention.
When your customers know they can use your content to answer their questions and receive ongoing, up-to-date support, it encourages them to stick around. That way, the next time they need to make a purchase, you can count on repeat business without the need to attract and nurture them, as was the case when they were new leads.
With so many options at your fingertips, it can be hard to know which content goals to set. One important factor that makes this easier is knowing how to measure content marketing success and KPIs within larger content marketing strategies.
As you create goals to guide your content based on your business objective, you want to consider the best KPIs to track to make sure that you are both achieving them and that they’re having their desired effect. Here are a few KPI examples that you can use to determine if you’re hitting the different goals listed above:
Note that all of these KPIs relate to building overall topical authority in your industry. They track how well consumers are seeing, recognizing, and engaging with your brand. They are KPIs that each reflect the level of trust your target audience has that your brand can solve their problems.
Setting KPIs for content marketing is an important step in ensuring that your content performs well. Consider partnering with a content marketing agency if you need some help creating a content marketing plan. They can help take each piece of content that you create and align it with your larger content strategy.
At the same time, the nuances of each content type, uses, and objectives at play allow you to use content marketing goals to achieve precise benchmarks within a larger content marketing strategy. Use them to keep you on course and ensure that every ounce that you invest in content pays off in the long run.