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October 4, 2016

How to Set (And Stick to) Solid Content Marketing Goals

If you’re like most marketers, you know the sharp pain of failing to meet a content marketing goal you’ve set for yourself.

Whether your objective was to increase your blogging frequency or simply to branch out into video or podcasts, not meeting a goal is a frustrating experience, and it can have a pronounced negative impact on your morale and success rate.

So, what’s the answer? How do you set content marketing goals you can truly achieve?

The answer can be boiled down to this: you learn to get more accurate and make your goals more measurable. When you do this, it’s easier to create content goals that support your business and that are actually, truly attainable.

Read on to learn more.

The Current State of Content Strategies

As it stands right now, only 42 percent of marketers are documenting their content strategies.

The rest are, well, winging it.

While a documented content strategy may seem like an extraneous thing that nobody needs, it can be a massively helpful tool for guiding and enhancing your content marketing goals. Unfortunately, though, even the best content strategy on its own isn’t enough to develop a creative, well-rounded and attainable content marketing plan. To truly succeed, you’ll need to go a few steps further.

Here’s why: even the marketers who take the time to document a content strategy may not be putting the pieces together correctly to actually reach their content goals.

With that in mind, you’ll need to take it just a bit further to ensure that your content planning goes the distance.

5 Tips to Develop Set Content Goals You Can Stick to

If you’re struggling to stick to your content goals, or you just want to make your content strategy more successful, follow these five tips:

1. Define individual goals for each piece of content

Sometimes, smaller goals are easier to meet than larger goals. While you need a long-term, broadly focused content strategy, you also need individual goals for each piece of content you publish. With this in mind, consider defining goals for every piece of content you create. Whether the goal is to produce 1,000 Facebook shares or drive five conversions, you’ll need to determine exactly what it is you want your content to do before you publish it.

According to Neil Patel, the following are the most common organizational goals for B2B content marketing:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Sales
  • Brand awareness
  • Engagement
  • Customer retention/loyalty
  • Upsell or cross-sell
  • Customer evangelism/brand advocacy

With these things in mind, evaluate your individual pieces of content to determine how well they support your organizational goals, and then adjust as needed.

2. Create content that caters to a customer’s position in the buying journey

Today, 66 percent of marketers say that developing content that caters to their clients’ positions in the buying cycle is one of their biggest challenges. That said, however, it’s also a pivotal piece of meeting your content performance goals. If you’re having a difficult time matching your content to your buyer’s current stage, consider the following phases of the purchasing journey:

1. Awareness: Helping buyers identify the problems they have and learn how to solve them.

2. Evaluation: Helping customers understand how your solution can help them, and also convincing them that you’re the best available option.

3. Purchasing: The purchase-stage buyers want content that helps them sign up for trials, demos, or specific content.

In addition to making your content more compelling, matching it to your buyers’ position in the buying cycle is also an effective way to drive more engagement and conversions.

3. Create more compelling content by turning to your customers regarding their needs

One of the most efficient ways to develop and meet content goals is to involve your readers in the process. This is particularly the case when it comes to mining topics, and ensuring that all the content you publish is meeting your readers’ needs.

With this in mind, turn directly to your customers and your target personas to develop content topics. In addition to making your content more relevant to your followers, this will also help ensure that you’re providing real value your consumers love.

4. Meet your goals by using various content formats

One of the most useful things you can do to enhance your content strategy and meet your content goals is to use different types of content to achieve your objectives.

While it’s all well and good to use one or two different content types, the best content strategies use as many as possible. With this in mind, set a goal to use several different types of content, ranging from blog posts to articles and infographics.

Not only will this help make your content strategy more interesting – it will also give you more avenues with which to fulfill your content goals.

5. Cater your content goals to your audience

If you’re not adjusting your goals to your audience, you’re doing the marketing equivalent of swimming upstream. Luckily, this is easy to avoid. One great way to cater your goals to your audience is to focus on publishing the content formats your audience consumes on a regular basis.

If you don’t already know which formats these are, do your research ahead of time. This will save you time, energy and effort, while also ensuring that your content is as effective as possible for both your readers and your company.

Good Content Goals Start Here

When it comes to content marketing, setting goals is everything, and it’s the brands that set goals that are the ones most likely to succeed. While it’s certainly helpful to have a documented content strategy, that’s only the first brick in the foundation of the house you’ll ultimately need to build.

By taking your content strategy several steps further and increasing its depth, breadth, and focus with the help of these five tips, you can find yourself creating content goals that you can stick to.

In addition to benefiting your readers, this will also benefit your company as a whole.


Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.