Before you begin any content marketing campaign, you have to articulate goals.
There are two types of goals: strategic and tactical.
Strategic goals will go directly to your purpose: the why.
In theory, strategic goals should be relatively straightforward. You wouldn’t be creating a campaign if you didn’t have a strategic goal, right?
However, it’s important to craft specific strategic goals that truly describe what you are trying to achieve. These should be big ideas that will move your business or initiative forward.
Before you proceed with any type of tactical planning, or tactical goal identification for that matter, you should ensure that key stakeholders are in agreement around your strategic goals. If there is any miscommunication or divergent opinions as to what your strategic goals should be, then chances are your tactical execution will fail to deliver on your purpose, at least to someone.
At the end of the day, all goals must eventually deliver revenue. But, in order to get there, you may have to deal with some very specific issues that will move the market along. So, prior to establishing your content marketing goals, you will need to identify the list of business challenges associated with your new product or current situation.
The hard part now is deciding which challenges you can or should address through content marketing.
Content marketing is not suitable for addressing every business challenge you might encounter. Moreover, if you try to do too much with your campaign, you risk diluting your message or delivering a disjointed or fragmented set of deliverables.
To be effective, all of your content must work in harmony. As such, you need to ensure that your content strategy is focused on a discrete set of goals that are clear and achievable. Simply put, this means that you understand, and all of your key stakeholders are aligned around, the purpose of your content marketing campaign.
Tactical goals can come in all shapes in sizes. As the term implies, they relate to the performance of specific tactics. You may not be able to build out tactical goals at the outset of your planning process, simply because you haven’t worked through the tactics you’ll be employing just yet.
Your selection of tactical goals is almost limitless. So many marketing activities can now be measured so precisely that it really comes down to selecting just those tactical goals and metrics that are key drivers for your business.
Just a few examples include:
- Downloads of assets like white papers
- Views of infographics or videos
- Social media engagement including shares and comments
- Conversions via specific web pathways
- Web page views
- Number of contacts or leads generated
- The number of appointments or demos generated
- Pipeline value built
There are many other very specific things you could measure. The key is deciding on the information you should be measuring in order to move the needle for your effort. You don’t have to measure everything to have a good campaign.
At the end of every campaign, you’ll be measuring revenue in some form. That’s essentially a given. Revenue is the final result of any sales and marketing effort. Make sure you’ve established what your number needs to be and what you are specifically accountable for.
In a B2B situation, some revenue may be directly attributable to your content marketing efforts. Perhaps you have a solution that is self-service or sold via direct channels making revenue measurement much simpler.
If you’re involved in a complex sale, the more likely scenario is that revenue attainment will be a joint effort between marketing and sales. Take the time up front to consider how marketing efforts will be tracked and attributed so you can measure and justify your efforts.
It can be hard to forecast specific, quantifiable goals around how different pieces of content will perform. Sometimes it is just difficult to know up front what will resonate, no matter how well you know your audience. There are also factors out of your control, like how well Google ranks blog posts, for instance.
Your first goal should be to be useful to your audience. If you start there, then you have a good chance of seeing your tactical goals come to fruition.
The bottom line is that it’s impossible to know if you were successful if you don’t set goals, so do it!