Important: This article is a part of my step-by-step guide on how to create a fully functioning Content Marketing Strategy that will serve as a backbone of your content marketing efforts.
Step 2) Deciding on your content marketing goals <<< YOU ARE HERE
Content marketing is a very flexible tool when it comes to targeting many business-related results from improving branding to increasing sales to inspiring customer loyalty.
In this article, I will go through quite a few content marketing goals worth pursuing.
Some are obvious and some will hopefully make you pause and consider them.
Without further ado, let's jump in and consider some of the content marketing goals worth including in your content marketing strategy!
1. Providing value
People are exposed to over 5,000 ads daily.
Ads are all about 'taking' and no 'giving.'
Content marketing completely disrupts this dynamic.
It brings providing value to the forefront of your marketing efforts.
That's why providing value has to be one of the goals of your content marketing strategy.
Value-driven content is the pillar of content marketing.
Adding value by connecting people with solutions to their problems is what gets the content marketing ball rolling.
To maximize on accomplishing this goal, provide value without expectations.
Let potential customers discover your offerings on their own and without pressure.
2. Building trust and relationships with consumers
We've all heard the phrase "customer comes first," haven't we?
But then you realize the business is doing anything and everything but.
Building trust and relationships with consumers is one of the most important goals to build into your content marketing strategy.
People will only buy from you if they trust you.
And earning people's trust is hard if you only want money from them and put in as little effort as possible.
Content marketing is the polar opposite of that approach.
It enables you to keep scoring trust points for as long as it takes to form relationships with your audience and turn them into actual customers.
It takes multiple times of people interacting with your brand and feeling positive about it before they actually pull the trigger and become customers.
Being aware of that fact leaves you little to no choice but to prioritize trust and relationship building and including them into your content marketing strategy.
3. Improving branding and inspiring loyalty
Content marketing allows businesses to become brands, regardless of the scale.
Your business doesn't have to be the next Amazon for you to benefit from being recognizable and trusted within your local community or niche.
Creating loyal customers that will keep coming back is what it's all about.
And there's no better marketing activity than content marketing to accomplish this goal.
Actively pursuing this goal is vitally important because we're entering the voice-only era where Amazon Alexa and other AI voice assistants will stand between you and your customers.
For example, let's say Megan wanted to order a pizza through her Amazon Echo device.
She would probably say something like "Alexa, please order me a pepperoni pizza."
From that point, it's up to Amazon to decide where that pizza is going to be ordered from.
Now, let's say there's a pizzeria in Megan's area called Joe's Pizzeria.
Joe had better worked on branding his pizza place and creating loyal customers so that Megan's order sounded something like "Alexa, please order me a pepperoni pizza from Joe's Pizzeria."
Otherwise, Joe's business is vulnerable.
Don't let this happen to your business and make brand building and inspiring customer loyalty one of the goals of your content marketing strategy.
4. Establishing authority and building authenticity
Another worthwhile goal to include in your content marketing strategy is establishing authority and building authenticity.
The position of being an industry thought leader is a very comfortable position to be in.
This position is very attainable through content marketing.
There's no better tool for accomplishing this goal than to keep publishing informational content that's value-driven and consumer-centric to the bone.
Through high-quality content, you can demonstrate your expertise and establish authority.
Authenticity is another super-important goal to keep in mind.
People love authenticity.
Show your authenticity by creating content that showcases your success stories as well as your mistakes.
Respond to reviews and engage your customers in your social media channels.
Because 91% of consumers are prepared to reward brands for their authenticity.
5. Increased sales, lead generation, and conversion rates
Naturally, you have to make money to stay in business.
Content marketing is an invaluable tool that can help you achieve more sales and leads.
Usefulness, value, and relevance are hard to resist.
It's no surprise content created with those things in mind performs well.
For example, the average content marketing rate for converting traffic to leads across industries is considered to be at 16%.
By creating content strategically with search intent in mind, you can maximize on things that lead to your desired outcomes.
If you wish to increase email sign-ups, you can optimize for informational search intent and create value-driven content that makes people want to stay in touch with you.
To increase sales, your best bet would be to optimize for transactional search intent by creating content on keywords and topics in your niche that people search for when they're ready to buy.
Strategically creating content that targets the right audience with the right kind of information at the right moment in their buyer's journey can help you maximize positive business outcomes.
6. Cut marketing costs
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
Of course, there are no guarantees and much depends on your creative and execution.
But when done equally well, content marketing performs better than traditional marketing efforts like paid ads.
It would be naive to expect a business to allocate 100% of its marketing budget into content marketing overnight.
But allocating the kind of a budget you can essentially afford to waste can slowly but surely transition your business towards content marketing without jeopardizing it.
Content marketing is a long-term activity that requires a lot of time and effort to achieve positive ROI.
It can feel like pushing a boulder uphill at first.
But once you reach the tipping point, the compound effect starts to kick in and the positive ROI increases significantly.
This can take months and sometimes even years to achieve so a strategic approach is advisable.
There's no one-size-fits-all as to how heavily a business should lean on content marketing.
It's OK to be conservative at first while testing the waters.
You can always expand the budget and scale up once you get the feel for it and start seeing results that can help you make educated decisions on how to proceed.
7. Learning how to calculate ROI of your content marketing efforts
A staggering 47% of B2B marketers don’t measure ROI from their content marketing efforts.
About an equal percentage (46%) of B2C marketers point to measuring ROI of their content marketing efforts as one of their top challenges.
And yet, inbound marketers who measure ROI are more than 12 times more likely to generate a greater year-over-year return.
Obviously, being able to tell what works and what doesn't is invaluable.
The issue with calculating content marketing ROI is that tracking and collecting the necessary data points is much harder than in traditional ad campaigns.
Content pieces can take months to mature and get placed in the SERPs and going off of metrics like page views, for example, it's hard to deduce how much of that traffic was actually converted to sales or leads.
Becoming better at calculating the ROI of your content marketing efforts means strategically putting mechanisms in place from the very beginning of the content creation process.
For example, creating designated sign-up forms for different content pages, using unique links, or setting up virtual phone numbers instead of using the same one in all of your content pieces can all help to track which piece of content converted and lead to what results.
This all takes time and effort to set up, but it allows you to collect hard data and removes the guessing out of the equation.
8. Connecting with industry peers
Creating value-driven content inevitably leads to connecting with industry peers.
Informational content is much more likely to get shared on social media or linked to by other content creators in your niche.
You can also create your own hubs in the form of Facebook or LinkedIn groups where sharing content can spark interesting discussions.
One of the greatest tools for connecting with industry peers are podcasts.
Sending out cold emails or making cold phone calls to decision-makers works far less often than asking them to be a guest on your podcast and tell their story.
From a cold email or phone call where they hold all the leverage, all of a sudden you're the person in charge when they're a guest on your podcast.
You're providing value to them upfront by giving them a platform to share their message on.
And content marketing is all about providing value first without expectations.
Rest assured, they will inevitably ask about what you do and make inquiries about your business, which was your goal, to begin with.
Plus, a connection established over an hour-long interview is infinitely stronger than anything you can accomplish over a cold email.
This demonstrates how strategic you can go with your content marketing efforts.
9. Talent recruitment
High-quality content has the potential benefit of connecting your business with high-quality talent.
Proactive people go out of their way to find the right positions to apply for.
They might land on your website and check out your content to find out more about your company.
Or they might stumble upon your content on social media.
In situations like that, your content pieces are your ambassadors in a lot of ways.
If they scream "me-me-me" and are sales-oriented all the time, that says something about your business.
Content like that can produce negative effects and put off not only consumers but potential recruits as well.
Or, it can attract the wrong kind of recruits.
Attracting the kind of people you want in your organization is just another reason to take content marketing seriously.
Coming up with a comprehensive content marketing strategy is the first step towards achieving this goal.
They say you only have one chance to make a great first impression.
Create high-quality content and make your company attractive to people who value it.
10. Humanizing your company
Valuable content that connects people with solutions to their problems without any monetary expectations humanizes your company.
Furthermore, by publishing content consistently, you have an opportunity to put names and faces behind the content you publish.
Show your audience that passionate people in your company stand behind every piece of content that they consume.
You can even go a step further and loosen the language used in your content.
Make it more conversational and relatable if the subject matter allows it.
Create content pieces with the sole intent of featuring staff members, working space, projects or ideas.
"Behind the scenes" type of content always does well and makes companies feel more relatable.
Another concept that has a very humanizing effect is "documenting" instead of "creating."
By documenting something, you allow your audience to be there for the entire process.
Even the hiccups and obstacles.
Sometimes it's even more valuable learning why something doesn't work and how to overcome the problem than to see the final product.
Make a point to humanize your company in the eyes of your customers through content marketing and include it one of your content marketing goals.
11. Building up your domain authority
Domain authority score was developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank in the SERPs.
Domain authority is not an official Google ranking factor, but it is a scoring system that's been embraced by the SEO community as valid and relevant.
The higher the score, the more Google trusts the domain, so to speak.
For your domain authority score to go up, you need high-quality content that's liked and shared by your audience and industry peers.
Without a lot of content on it, Google has little to no reason to send traffic to your domain unless searchers are using strictly navigational queries to reach your website.
Meaning, your website doesn't stand a chance of getting discovered organically by people who don't know it exists.
Content marketing changes that.
By publishing high-quality content, Google crawls and indexes more of your pages and ranks them for various keywords.
This process can take several months or more, but it carries the potential to fundamentally change your business.
Make raising your domain authority score one of the goals of your content marketing strategy and start producing shareable and linkable content.
Content marketing allows you to be laser-focused when it comes to targeting the desired business results.
Not setting goals in your content marketing strategy and then creating content that is best suited for achieving those goals is potentially a big waste of your time and resources.
Keep in mind that your content marketing strategy is flexible and you can always add new goals or scratch old ones.
What are some of the goals you added to your content marketing strategy?
I'd love to know!