Why strategic insights are a must in content marketing
In the ever-evolving world of content marketing, one thing remains certain: setting clear, results-driven goals is crucial to your success.
Why? Goals are proven to trigger action and guide your strategy toward an end result. But beyond that, they also help us frame what success looks like for our objectives and explain why our efforts matter to the brand.
People not familiar with measurement or even content marketing in general might say things like “Our goal is improving our reputation.” And you may be thinking…how am I supposed to prove I’m doing that?
To answer that question, you need to know the answer to another one: Why? Why is it important to an organization that they look better in the eyes of the public or investors? If they tell you, “Our competitor is poaching customers away from us,” it becomes clear that they’re being affected by this loss of business. Improving their reputation through content marketing may be just what they need to improve their reputation and drive business. That’s why it matters to them.
So how do we set the right goals? Here are some tips to help guide you:
- Set clearly defined goals. The first thing you should do before undertaking any content marketing initiative is develop a clearly defined goal. Avoid anything too abstract, and keep asking yourself, “Why is this important to the organization,” and “What’s the desired end result,” until you hit on something you can measure. Identify goals as early as possible and communicate them clearly from the very beginning so that they’re understood clearly by all members of the team – from your interns to your CEO.
- Determine how/when you will measure goals. There’s nothing worse than measurement that looks like an afterthought. Saving measurement until the end to see if your results met the project’s goals – which leaves no time for strategy adjustments – is something you should never do. Put a plan in place to measure progress towards goals throughout the project and you’ll afford yourself the opportunity to tweak and tinker with your strategy until you’re on the right path to success.
- Break down your silo. The key to a successful measurement plan is to step outside of your comfort zone and work with people outside your area of expertise. This can be one of the most challenging parts of the whole process. You may hear, “That’s your goal, not a goal for my team.” Avoid this roadblock by getting everyone’s buy-in from the start of the project. Clearly explain what you hope to achieve and how this affects the overall big picture. Show why unified efforts matter to the full team. Set up a schedule for regular check-ins to ensure your cross-department collaborators remain committed to the end goal.
- Report your data in a way that makes sense to your C-suite. Who wants to look at a boring Excel grid? Or your old-school clippings book or files? You should focus on reporting results in a narrative fashion – through data storytelling. The key is to show results over time in the language the person you’re reporting to will understand – through a mix of visuals ranging from graphs and charts to relevant screen grabs and videos. Show progress – good and bad – and have information ready every step of the way to discuss how the results influenced your strategy. If possible, report results in person. This doesn’t have to be a formal presentation at all. But by discussing results, you can answer questions and close any of the holes that leave the results open to interpretation.
As you can see, setting attainable, clearly-defined goals that advance the overall mission of your clients will help you achieve success in content marketing, and how you report them is equally important. Make sure you’re doing your hard work justice by framing the results of your efforts in a way that’s easily understood by your clients or supervisors, and always relate it back to their big picture goals.