Before you start any content marketing campaign, you need to set goals.
There are two types of objectives: strategic and tactical.
Strategic objectives will go directly to your objective: the why.
In theory, strategic objectives should be relatively simple. You wouldn’t be creating a campaign if you didn’t have a strategic objective, would you?
However, it’s important to set specific strategic goals that really describe what you’re trying to achieve. They should be big ideas that will move your business or initiative forward.
Before doing any kind of tactical planning or identifying tactical objectives, you need to make sure that the main stakeholders are in agreement on your strategic objectives. If there is miscommunication or differing opinions as to what your strategic goals should be, chances are your tactical execution will fail to achieve your goal, at least for someone.
Ultimately, all goals must generate revenue. But, to get there, you may have to deal with 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 hardest part now is deciding what challenges you can or should overcome with content marketing.
Content marketing is not suited to meet all the business challenges you may encounter. Additionally, 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 clear and achievable goals. Simply put, this means that you understand, and all of your key stakeholders are aligned on, 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 purpose 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 establish tactical goals early in your planning process simply because you haven’t worked out the tactics you will use yet.
Your selection of tactical objectives is nearly limitless. So many marketing activities can now be measured with such precision that it really comes down to selecting only the tactical goals and metrics that are the primary drivers of your business.
Here are some examples :
- Downloads of assets such as white papers
- Views of infographics or videos
- Social media engagement, including shares and comments
- Conversions via specific web journeys
- Web page views
- Number of contacts or leads generated
- The number of appointments or demos generated
- Pipeline value creation
There are many other very specific things you could measure. The key is to decide what information you should be measuring in order to move the needle for your effort. You don’t need to measure everything to have a good campaign.
At the end of each campaign, you will measure revenue in one form or another. It’s basically 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 revenue 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 revenue measurement.
If you are involved in a complex sale, the most likely scenario is that achieving revenue will be a joint effort between marketing and sales. Take the time 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 predict specific, quantifiable goals for the performance of different pieces of content. Sometimes it’s just hard to know in advance what will resonate, no matter how well you know your audience. There are also factors beyond your control, like how Google ranks blog posts, 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 that it’s impossible to know if you’ve been successful if you don’t set goals, so do it!
This article is adapted from an excerpt from Content-driven product launch, available on Amazon now!