Content marketing has one purpose – and one purpose alone – and that’s to serve your overall business goals. If you haven’t aligned your content metrics with your business KPIs, you can’t achieve your business goals with your content strategy.
A stellar content marketing strategy aligns its goals with those of the business in a singular way – it publishes content that helps its customers and potential customers solve problems. With such content, the business positions itself as both an authority in its field and as someone that has its customers’ back.
When you make that strategy the foundation of everything you and your content team do, it suddenly simplifies everything. The rest of the process is just executing on the details.
But watch out. That old adage, “the devil’s in the details,” might come back to bite you if you don’t get these key components right. Here’s how to make sure that your content delivers the goods for your business.
As Search Engine Journal’s Rob Garner puts it, you need to “map specific business goals to content KPIs and metrics.” To do so, you need to first jot down all your business goals.
Bring the C-suite and other stakeholders in on this strategic planning session. Silos are so yesterday – and you won’t get the information you need if you’re sitting around with your content team, navel-gazing.
Force your executive team to provide some hard targets from which you can start working backwards. Write down the different goals and organize them by priority so that you can tackle the most important ones first. Next, list the business KPI that aligns with each of those goals.
When you prioritize your business goals first, you eliminate one of Garner’s steps in the mapping process. Instead of weighing the business goals versus the KPI, you’ve already organized the goals by priority – and you’ve listed each KPI that aligns with those goals. Easy-peasy.
Look at the Relationship Between Off-Site and On-Site Metrics
As Garner rightly points out, there are certain assets, such as your social media platforms, that you simply don’t control. As a rule, your priority should go to your owned, on-site assets – those that remain under your company’s control.
However, both off-site and on-site can work together to accomplish the same business goal. For example, let’s say that you’re a niche company that sells artisanal wool yarns. If one of your business goals is to extend your reach into a new market, say, middle-aged women with a keen interest in crafting – specifically, knitting and crocheting – you might want to look at repurposing your blog post on the merits of various types of yarns as a guest post on a national crafting publication.
Also, you should consider linking that post (and the others you create like it to reach that new market) on social media platforms that attract crafters’ loyalty or have a definitive visual slant, such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Having those relationships mapped out can help you look for these sorts of connections, all of which have a cumulative effect of accomplishing the same goal.
Be Agile Enough to Adjust for New Markets that Help Achieve Your Goals
As your content strategy plays out in real life, you might discover a whole new market or another promising content area that can help you reach your goals. Be flexible enough to leverage that new market or content area to meet your goals – or create new ones.
Let’s go back to our fictional woolen yarn company for a moment. Suppose your content analytics show that a new demographic has shown an interest in your comparing yarns – millennials and Gen X-ers who love Mid-Century Modern décor and want to try their hand at crocheting that era’s iconic afghans.
Step across those silos and take that data to your C-suite suits. If that demographic looks promising enough, they might want to add reaching that demographic to their business goals.
That decision, in turn, will impact the KPIs you need to measure that demographic’s on-site engagement, conversions, and overall sales. It also might impact your off-site content planning as well. To reach that demographic, guest blogging on a site like Retro Renovation, along with a stronger Instagram presence with your ’70s afghan photos and demo videos, might be a prudent use of your content budget.
Take Stock of Your Budget
As you flesh out the content metrics that will help your business boost its overall KPIs, don’t dream so much that you forget to take into account how much it will cost to do so. As Tony Stillwell advises, look at all the details that go into producing that rise in your KPIs.
For instance, you probably will remember your team’s salaries, that annual trip to Content Marketing World, and the costs of your content marketing platform. But will you remember to add in the costs of those photos you use to keep your readers interested? How about those two contract copywriters you brought in to cover the content you needed for the holiday season?
All those costs add up – and must be key components of your content metrics’ expectations. Figure out a way to align your team’s budget with achieving your business’s overall goals.
Establish Baseline Benchmarks
Once you’ve drawn up the strategy, you need to establish baseline benchmarks for content measurement in each of your key metrics, says Content Marketing Institute’s Jodi Harris. Again, keep it simple. Once you’ve determined your baseline metrics, your content marketing platform can keep track of how close you are to your goals. Adjust your strategy and content calendar accordingly, and you’ll be on your way to success.
Be Cautious about Trends
Content metrics, like music and fashion, often follow industry trends instead of a business’s overall goals. For instance, let’s say you just got back from Content Marketing World this fall – and everyone there was talking about social media reach.
You might be tempted to add that metric to your focus KPIs. Unless it meets your overall business goals, just don’t. To paraphrase David Ogilvy, if it doesn’t sell your customers on your business, it isn’t useful.
It doesn’t matter how many people you reach on social media unless those people happen to be qualified customers. A better metric for your company might, in fact, be something like engagement – such as customers submitting their contact details in exchange for a knitting seminar, in the case of our fictional yarn company. Or, in the case of a B2B company, in exchange for a white paper that explained a hard-to-grasp concept that could save the business a lot of money and hassle.
Once you’ve aligned your content metrics with your business goals, you and your team can fill your calendar with content that will get you where you want to go. If you’d like to try a demo of a content platform that can guide you along the way, our team is here to help. Get in touch with us today.