Do your content goals match your marketing goals?
Do they match your organization’s overall goals for the year?
Content needs to align – and it needs to help your organization while it helps your audience. Think of content as the missing puzzle piece – but you need all the other pieces too!
You may not have all the info or data you need to make decisions on goals and objectives – that’s probably true for your whole marketing plan. So make your best educated guesses based on all you DO know, what you can find out, what fits your bigger plans – and then test it.
That’s how marketing works – test, test, test. Tweak, tweak, tweak.
Ask yourself or your team (if you’re lucky to have one!) some serious questions before you get started – you'll be more successful :
- Why are you communicating with your particular audience in the first place?
- What are you trying to do with your marketing communications overall?
- What are you trying to achieve with this specific piece of content, or format of content?
If you’re a nonprofit, for example, are you trying to build community? [and what does that really mean for you??]
Are you building your nonprofit organization's brand?
Are you fundraising?
Are you trying to attract new volunteers?
Think about the specifics of what you're shooting for in your organization and with your outreach and marketing efforts – then you can start thinking about what certain content platforms or pieces should aim to do for you.
- What does success look like for your organization?
- Have you determined your big picture success definition?
- What is your definition of successful marketing objectives?
- Now, think about what it would mean to be ‘successful’ with this particular piece of content?
- This white paper?
- That video?
- Your series of blog posts on X topic?
- Your social media posts, your Pinterest pins, your Tumblr?
Some goals are broader than others –
Yes, all of those are potential goals for your content marketing strategy and may apply to different channels even (e.g. social media vs. a blog vs. video site). You will need to drill down a bit further and decide what ‘engagement’ looks like for you and your audience.
What might ‘educate’ mean?
3 ‘how-to’ posts w/ links and ~ 800 words per month? One 8 minute ‘how-to’ video? Only curating tweets that come from educational sources related to educating your audience about your given topic? Giving mini-courses on an aspect of your core topic(s)? Producing 1 purely educational video per month or per quarter?
And think about how you might know (or figure out) if your audience is actually becoming ‘educated’ about your topic
Common goals of content marketing:
- Building/improving placement in search results
- Building word of mouth and referrals
- Drive traffic – particularly to another channel (e.g. traffic from social media to your blog, traffic from a video site back to your website, from a Tweet to your Facebook page, etc)
- Build, or repair, public opinion about your organization
- Build awareness of specific programs or events you offer
- Boosting your opt-ins and subscriptions to your email list
- Creating a warm relationship with your audience/readers, your prospective members/clients/patrons/customers
- Create fans, followers, advocates for your organization’s brand – who interact with it regularly
- Customer or user support – help them get the most from your services, products, programs or courses
Common goals among B2Bs [via CMI] –
- Brand awareness [82% ]
- Lead Generation [74%] + lead nurturing
- Customer/client acquisition [ 71%]
- Thought leadership
- Customer/client retention/loyalty
- Engagement [but how do you define that??]
- Web traffic – especially to landing pages
You also need to decide on a key goal for each of the channels or platforms you are using to deliver your content.
On your website you are mostly informing potential customers or users, collecting information about them and their preferences.
On your blog you will post articles and videos with an educational goal.
On Twitter and Facebook you are engaging in community-building, having conversations, delivering customer service. And maybe you post video interviews or thought pieces on Vimeo to build your credibility and thought leadership.
Get specific – and appropriate – for each channel and how your audience/prospects use that channel. Make sure your tone of voice, personality, style and the content you share fits the parameters of that platform. Then keep up your focus as you use each platform. If it’s not working so well in 3 months, change.
Don’t try to do all things, be all styles, and hit all goals across all the different channels. Focus!
Eventually you may want to make, earn or raise money with your content – but that’s not the first goal of content marketing.
- Bring your ideal audience to you.
- Show them you like them and welcome them with good content.
- Get them to come back again, and give you’re their info so you can stay in touch.
- Now you can maybe start to suggest ways to take that relationship further – a related piece of in-depth content to buy, a course to enroll in, an event to come attend, a program to sign up for, a product to buy, your newest cause campaign to donate to, etc.