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18 Sep 2012

Staying On Track with Your Content Marketing Goals

Staying on Track with your Content Marketing Goals

When you look back on the previous year of your content marketing efforts, you will see successes and failures. As we’re nearing a new year and the need for new strategies, the best way to advance and grow your content is to look back at your accomplishments and set new goals that will push your content in the direction you are aiming for; whether that is increased website visits, lead conversions, or social media recognition.

Why Are Goals Important?

As you’re looking at your content marketing analytics, you will see series after series of numbers, graphs, and colors. When in this simple form, it is merely data. As marketing or content creating professionals, we rely on this information to successfully measure our success and drive leads, sales, and conversions. How is it that we can gather information from data and use it to our advantage? By looking deeper at the meaning of information, we can discover that when we organize and group data, study its trends and how it relates to our own needs, it becomes invaluable information. Taking current information and creating a goal from what you gather is fairly easy and in the end will provide you with even more information to use while you are planning your upcoming strategies.

What Type of Goals Should You Set?

When it comes down to creating content, there are a plethora of reasons why you would want to take action and set goals for the future. Laying down a basic understanding of the overall goal with all people involved in its creation will help you to be more successful in the future (and achieve your goals sooner). A few basic questions can help you to organize your strategy and narrow down the scope of your planning:

  • Why are we creating content?
  • Who do we want to interact with the content?
  • How will they interact with the content?
  • When do we want them to interact with the content?
  • What do we want people to do after they interact with the content?

When you have answered these questions, it will be much easier to understand your target audience and focus in on the type of content you need to create. This basic understanding can lead you to set goals for not only an individual piece of content, but the blog it is hosted on, the social media it is shared on, the conversions you will get from it, and on and on. Goals will help you to better understand not only how your customers act, but how you can get them to ultimately convert over to your products or services.

What Are Some Examples of Goals?

There are an infinite number of achievements you can ultimately attain as a result of your content marketing plan. This makes it all the more important to realize your individual needs and strategies early on while you are still in the planning phases.  Here are a few types of goals and questions to ask yourself that we have found to be effective when brainstorming a content marketing plan.

People-Oriented Goals:

  • How many people do you normally have visit your website/content area?
  • How many of those people have browsed more than one piece of content?
  • What is your “visits to conversions” ratio?
  • Of that number, what would be an appropriate percentage of increase for each metric to shoot for?
  • What does your bounce rate hover around on a weekly basis for the homepage or landing pages?

Setting a goal for each of those questions (even if it is to just to maintain the numbers, not increase them) will overall help you to understand the role of your content in your target audience’s purchasing and reviewing habits.

Working to intentionally direct people or place valuable content on your successful pages might help to lower your bounce rate and potentially increase conversions overall. You’ll also need to look at where your visitors are coming from, which is called your referral traffic. This will help you to understand which goals you need to set for your social media usage, social bookmarking, newsletters, organic search and any other places you may want to attract readers from.

Engagement-Oriented Goals:

  • Are people responding to your content?
  • Is there is a way for you to track the views, total click-throughs, shares or listens?
  • Did people follow the links within or around your content?
  • After they read or viewed your content, did people proceed to sign up for a newsletter or click through to visit your company Facebook page?
Facebook Likes Metric

The number of Likes on Facebook is a great metric to measure growth year after year.

Setting goals for engagement can help you to understand exactly why people are viewing or not viewing your content. It is wonderful to have content but if no one is reading it, perhaps your goals should focus more on creating a different type of content that would be more appealing.

This kind of goal is important because it allows you to see how truly valuable your content is in the larger scheme of your marketing and sales cycle. If it is of true value, the viewer will want more from you and seek more engagement.

More engagement creates more brand loyalty, and in turn, you will possess a higher chance of converting leads into sales.

Revenue-Oriented Goals:

  • What are your content marketing efforts going to earn your company in the end?
  • How fast does your company grow?
  • How much revenue on average came from a single lead in the past?
  • What is the ratio of viewers to leads for each piece of content?

One way to look at these numbers might be to see how many direct leads came in over the course of the last content calendar year, study trends, and then increase that number by a small percentage for this coming year. These metrics can help you to make sure that your content is actually producing some return on investment for your efforts and that you seek out and push for growth, instead of simply hoping that it comes along.

Expense-Oriented Goals:

  • What are your expenses for creating content?
  • Does your company employ designers or writers?
  • Are you outsourcing content that could be created in house or vice versa?
  • What are your costs for hosting a blog for your content?

Keeping in mind these expense questions, set goals to increase or decrease expenses in order to meet your goals. It should be mentioned that you must have expenses in order to gain revenue. If you are producing sub-par content that is not getting engagements or shares, perhaps increasing your expenditures to include higher profile pieces of writing or more hours for content planning and development would help to solve the problem. Remember that quality content does not have to be expensive, but it should involve a few hours of time and plenty of research.

Looking to the Future

Staying on track with your goals year after year can help you to not only expand the reach of your content and leads, but it will also build your authority, both for SEO purposes and in the minds of your customers. Creating the right types of goals for your content can help you to ultimately better understand the way your audience interacts with your company, and thus optimize their experience to generate more interaction and business as time goes on.

What goals are you setting for this coming year of content?

1 Comment

  • Nick Stamoulis Sep 20, 2012

    Goal setting should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. Having clear, though-out goals help you stay on track with your marketing efforts. They also are a great benchmark to use when running reports on your marketing efforts. Goals help as a way to measure what areas of your marketing are performing well, and what areas aren’t, so you can better tailor your marketing overall.