Here we’ll take a look at some typical content marketing goals, and how to go about setting your own goals to improve your productivity.
Why do you need content marketing goals?
Content marketers need these goals to determine the effectiveness of strategies, their general direction, and the methods they use to create content.
Goals are something to strive for and they encourage you to achieve. They’re the ultimate motivator and can even give you a competitive edge, thanks to the amount of analytics data to be found at your fingertips.
Achieving your goals can be a huge confidence boost – something that’s needed by most content marketers.
It’s notoriously difficult to calculate ROI in content marketing, but by setting clear goals and measuring your progress, it makes it much easier to prove your worth. It may even help you gain slightly more budget for your content marketing efforts.
By achieving your goals and accurately measuring your performance, you can shape your future goals and overall marketing strategy. For example, if you created five how-to guides and achieved a 15% increase in engagement, you might decide to create more how-to guides and (hopefully) see a similar increase in the future.
What kind of goals should you set?
You shouldn’t just pluck your content marketing goals out of the air, instead you really need to give them some thought. Here are three key criteria for setting goals.
Your goals should be:
1) Realistic and achievable
You’re not going to achieve a 100% increase in conversions within a week. Content marketing’s a slow game and you’d have to be a magician to get a result like that.
A 5-10% increase in three months is, by contrast, much more realistic, especially if you employ conversion copywriting techniques in all your new content.
Be honest with yourself about your brand position, reputation, general industry trends, business offering, and timings and you’ll be able to create challenging but possible goals.
We know we keep going on it, but it’s crucial that your content marketing goals are measurable.
It’s not effective to set goals without measuring results, because you’ll have no idea if, or when, you have reached your target.
It’s an equally bad idea to measure your results without setting goals, because you won’t know if what you’re doing is good enough, or needs another approach.
Vague content marketing goals just aren’t going to cut it. The more specific you can be, the more targeted your actions can become.
Be specific about these elements and you’ll have a strong list of goals in place:
- the channels you’re using
- the amount of increase/decrease
- the demographics you’re targeting
- the deadlines you’re working to
But what if you fail?
First of all, don’t panic – it doesn’t mean you’re lousy at your job.
All content marketers fail at some point, but the good ones pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and take a new approach.
Think like Edison:
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Use your ‘failures’ to improve your strategy, and you’ll be meeting those content marketing goals in no time!
How to set achievable goals in content marketing:
Goal setting depends on your business, team, budget and overall aims. That said, engagement, website traffic, and brand awareness tend to rank amongst the top content marketing goals.
*Graph courtesy of Gravitate Design
So, how are you doing on all these fronts? Could you be putting a bit more work in?
Here we’ll look at how you should go about setting new goals that will help your business succeed.
Start with the end goal and work your way back
Think, what is the primary aim of your content marketing efforts?
Are you trying to increase awareness, generate sales, convert leads, improve retention, build up engagement, or something else entirely? Each of these areas has a different approach so it’s important to clarify your main objective now.
Hopefully, you already have an idea of this in your content marketing strategy, but don’t worry if you don’t. It’s never too late to put this in place!
Once you’ve established your core aim, consider which key performance indicators (KPIs) will best reflect this goal. Here is a list of those most commonly used:
- unique visitors to content
- pageviews by visitors
- pageviews of content
- time on content page
- shares on social sites
- bounce rate of visitors to content
- comments made on content
- number of entrances to website
- number of conversions or leads from piece
Set a baseline for your current content marketing efforts
If you don’t use them already, set up Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and any other analytics software you think might be useful.
They’ll take a few weeks to gather usable data, but after only a few days you’ll already have a good idea about the activity surrounding your content.
Analyse your current status on the KPIs you’ve already chosen (and some others – number of unique visitors is a good one to use), and note them down.
Create goals for each KPI
Now you know where you stand, you can start thinking about setting individual goals for your chosen KPIs.
Different metrics can be used for different channels (e.g. number of retweets on Twitter, open rate on email campaigns), so bear this in mind when creating your content marketing goals.
Here are some examples of goals and deadlines you could use for three core content types:
- 10% rise in page views. Deadline: 1 month
- 30-second increase in time on page. Deadline: 3 months
- 10% rise in page views. Deadline: 1 month
- 30 social shares per infographic. Deadline: 5 months
- 3-5 comments on content. Deadline 5 months
- 25% rise in page views. Deadline: 6 months
- 25% increase in number of conversions: 6 months
Now it’s your turn! Remember the three criteria from earlier, and set yourself deadlines for completion of each content marketing goal.
Plan your content strategy around your new goals
You may want to start off by carrying out an audit to see how your existing content reflects your goals. If some pieces of content could be tweaked/rearranged to focus on these goals, do it straight away.
Then, you can start planning strategies for new content that will help you achieve these goals. This could include an increase in educational content, a change of promotion plan, targeting specific audience demographics or something else entirely. Use your imagination and think of unconventional ways you could achieve your goals.
Create a content schedule so you know when your blogs, posts, guides and other marketing materials will go out. Make sure it coincides with your deadlines for achieving your goals.
Get creating, start measuring
So, now you can start creating your content – great! However, that doesn’t mean forgetting your content marketing goals until the deadline.
We suggest checking your analytics data once a month, so you can chart your progress. Create a spreadsheet to help you monitor the progress of your KPIs. It could look a little like this:
|Blog||Number of page views||5||7||12|
|Email campaigns||Open rates||10%||13%||17%|
As you can see from the example, our data shows an improvement which can be measured accurately over time.
Think about why changes in your KPIs might have happened – what have you done differently? Has there been a shift in the industry? You need to understand the reasons behind any changes to ensure you can replicate successful results.
Once you’ve figured that out, you can reassess your content marketing goals and start again. Simple!