Marketing goals

The difference between strategic and tactical content marketing goals

Before you start a content marketing campaign, you need to set some goals.

There are two types of objectives: strategic and tactical.

The strategic goals will go directly to your goal: the why.

In theory, the strategic objectives should be relatively simple. You wouldn’t create a campaign if you didn’t have a strategic goal, would you?

However, it’s important to set specific strategic goals that really describe what you’re trying to achieve. They should be great ideas that will move your business or initiative forward.

Before doing any kind of tactical planning, or identifying tactical goals, you need to make sure that key stakeholders agree on your strategic goals. If there is poor communication or differing opinions on what your strategic goals should be, there’s a good chance your tactical execution is failing to meet your goal, at least for someone.

Ultimately, all goals should eventually generate income. But, in order to get there, you might have to face some very specific issues that will drive the market forward. So, before 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 what challenges you can or should overcome with content marketing.

Content marketing is not suited to tackle all the business challenges you might encounter. Additionally, if you try to overdo it 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 make sure that your content strategy is focused on a discrete set of clear and achievable goals. Simply put, it means you understand and all of your key stakeholders are aligned around the goal of your content marketing campaign.

If you fail to align with a goal, you will inevitably end up having a difficult conversation with your stakeholders to justify the interest of your campaign or content marketing in general.

Tactical objectives can come in all shapes and sizes. As the term suggests, they relate to the execution of specific tactics. You may not be able to set tactical goals early in your planning process, just because you haven’t worked out the tactics you will be using yet.

Your selection of tactical objectives is almost limitless. So much marketing activity can now be measured with such precision that you only need to select the tactical goals and metrics that are the primary drivers of your business.

Here are some examples :

  • Asset downloads like white papers
  • Infographics or video views
  • Social media engagement, including shares and comments
  • Conversions through specific web paths
  • Web page views
  • Number of contacts or leads generated
  • The number of meetings or demos generated
  • Value of pipeline constructed

There are a lot of other very specific things that you could measure. The key is to decide what information you need to measure 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 each campaign, you’ll be measuring revenue in one form or another. It is essentially a given. Revenue is the end result of all sales and marketing efforts. Make sure you have established what your number should be and what you are specifically responsible for.

In a B2B situation, some income may be directly attributable to your content marketing efforts. Perhaps you have a self-service solution or one sold through direct channels, which greatly simplifies the measurement of revenue.

If you are involved in a complex sale, the most likely scenario is that earning income will be a joint effort between marketing and sales. Take the time up front to think about how marketing efforts will be tracked and attributed so that you can measure and justify your efforts.

It can be difficult to set specific, quantifiable goals for the performance of different pieces of content. Sometimes it’s just hard to know ahead of time what will resonate, no matter how well you know your audience. There are also factors beyond your control, like how blog posts rank by Google, for example.

Your first goal should be to be useful to your audience. If you start there, you have a good chance of seeing your tactical goals come to fruition.

The bottom line is, it’s impossible to tell if you’ve been successful if you don’t set goals for yourself, so just do it!

This article is adapted from an excerpt from The content-driven product launch, available on Amazon now!