Goal setting arrows

Setting Content Goals

Do you set content goals? It can be easy to get really involved (even bogged down!) with consistently creating new content and focussing on your marketing generally, but how do you know if any of it working (or worth all your time and effort) if you don’t have a goal to measure it against.

Setting goals should be a key part of running your business anyway. You will likely have ‘big’ top down goals that you want to achieve. Marketing should be a key part of your strategy to help you reach those goals. In turn, to help you get there, set some content goals too. It’s all about ensuring everything is continually moving in the right direction.

Setting goals as part of your content strategy

I am a massive advocate of having a content strategy. It is like having a business plan for your marketing. It’s a great ‘handbook’ for you to refer back to, update, review and store all your marketing ideas – big and small. Importantly, by doing the homework to create the strategy, you will soon work out what is working hard for your business, in terms of your current marketing and what is not. From that you can start to set some goals about what you want to achieve.

Be realistic and set both long term and short term goals too. I set ‘by 3 months’, ‘by 6 months’ and ‘by 12 months’, and then add in a small goal between ‘6 and 12 months’ as I progress through the year.

I recommend having no more than 3 goals per time scale.

Also remember to make the goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and a Time or deadline, which is why I set my goals by quarter.

Set content goals not just actions

It’s very natural to choose goals such as ‘Post on Facebook three times a week’ – but to me this is not a goal, this is the action. This is the marketing tactic you are going to use to reach a goal.

A goal is more about the outcome. Taking this example, ask yourself, “By posting on Facebook three times a week, what do I want to achieve?” The answer could be a percentage increase in reach, engagement, followers or leads – and it should tie in with a overall business goal, as discussed above. It’s also useful to include a ‘why’, i.e. I want to increase my followers by 25% in order to have a bigger audience to help with sales conversion, which currently stands at X%.

Set some goals then analyse them

If your goals are not part of a wider content strategy, then once you have initially drafted them, take some time to add a little more detail.

It’s easy to set goals, but it’s hard to remember put in place tactics to actually reach them. You can even check back on a goal and struggle to remember why it was important, so capture this information now.

At the very least, I suggest asking yourself three things about your goals:

1. Why have you set this goal?

I think having goals for your content is important, but you have to have a reason for the goal. What is it that you are passionate about that has made you set it as one of your goals? Importantly, how is this goal going to help your business? What will you clients/readers get from this goal?

2. How are you going to achieve the goal?

The ‘how’ is probably the most important question when it comes to content goals. If you are going to post daily or blog weekly, how are you actually going to achieve this? Are you going to use a planner? Are you going to block out time? What resources are you going to use? Do you need to consider outsourcing?

3. What barriers might stop me achieving this goal?

Do you have everything you need to help you achieve the goal? Do you need any thing extra? Do you need new skills or software? Have you been realistic? What can you do if barriers, such as time or motivation, crop up>

Be realistic and have a plan

If answering each of the questions above for a goal seems tiresome or difficult then consider if it is realistic. Can you confidently state why you have set this goal and how you are going to achieve it? If not, then perhaps the goal is just ‘too big’, reassess it and consider something more achievable and perhaps easier to define, judge or quantify. However, don’t ‘dream too small’!

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Check-in with your content goals regularly and assess

The biggest mistake people make with any kind of strategy, objective planning or goal setting is to do all of the preparation work, only to put away the paperwork and forget about it.

Firstly, I recommend displaying your goals somewhere prominent (at your desk, in a notebook you look in regularly, in a diary or on your phone).

Secondly, set a date in your calendar (with a reminder), to go back and assess your progress and how closely you have stuck to your goals and plans. Ideally do this every month…every quarter at the very minimum. Be critical and analytical about how close you are to achieving the goal and what you can do.

Your priorities will change in business, especially as the year goes on, so don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, or perhaps set new ones if you attain them. That’s why I set new goals later in the year (for the 9 month mark) and often readjust my 6 month and 12 month goals.

Content goals, content strategy and content support

Content marketing doesn’t have to be a minefield when you have a good strategy that underpins what you are creating and clear goals to help you assess the success of your marketing.

I’d love to help all businesses to have a strong strategy and plan in place. Speak to me about my Discovery-Strategy-Plan-Success service for getting your content sorted and streamlined, as easily as possible. Sounds good, right?! Book a call with me today.

Image credit: Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

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