Having a documented content strategy is vital to delivering relevant, consistent, and meaningful content to your audience. With this foundation, you’ll know what kind of content you’re creating and what channels you’ll use to promote it. Every piece of content should support your content strategy. In this piece, we’ll dive into five content marketing strategies for choosing topics and setting goals.
Consistent ability to generate topic ideas and set goals based on the content’s performance will be instrumental as your content marketing generates awareness and leads.
1. Define the Type of Goals
There are numerous goal categories that can be achieved with your content. To start, it’s a good idea to define the content marketing goals that matter the most. Each piece of content should have a goal assigned to it. Goals can start small and grow as your content marketing efforts do. Even if the goals are small, they should be specific.
What types of goals should you consider?
- Brand awareness: you can measure this in several ways, like social media mentions.
- Engagement: there are different types of engagement, including social media and website visits.
- Lead generation: for this goal, you should be able to tie content marketing to the actual conversion.
- Thought leadership: using content to gain trust and spotlighting your brand’s subject matter experts can be as important as generating leads.
Tie all your goals back to your strategy so that you can determine how effective they were. With continual feedback from a dedicated content analytics platform, you’ll also be able to adjust goals as needed. Sometimes you may find you’re focusing too much on a metric like page views when the more valuable metric is time on the page. Still more valuable is knowing how far the user scrolled down or which buttons they clicked (which are engagement metrics). Having fewer people stay longer on a blog page is often better than a large volume of views with a quick exit rate.
2. Match Content to Each Stage of the Buying Cycle
Ensuring you have the right content for each buying stage is often a significant challenge for content marketers. You’ll need to develop your content marketing strategies to create this alignment. There are three basic stages:
- Awareness: buyer identifies the problem
- Consideration: buyer is comparing options
- Decision: buyer is ready to purchase
But in fact, the whole cycle is a long, drawn-out process:
Your team may find participating in an exercise to ensure you don’t have content gaps useful. Use a tool like a content calendar to map out all your content projects. Examine what you have on the calendar for the next 90 days. Then match up your topics to buyer stage.
It’s also advantageous to review your content analytics for data on past content performance. You’ll want to look for trends that show the type of content the buyer consumed during the buying cycle. This can give you insights on what format of content is most helpful at that stage.
3. Select Topics Based on Audience Needs
Your content marketing strategy should address your audience’s needs, preferences, and challenges. Further, this strategy goes hand in hand with the buyer’s cycle. If you learn the type of content and channels they favor, what you do next is uncover what topics are hot buttons for them.
For example, you may know that whitepapers are popular for those in the awareness stage, while videos are favored at consideration, and infographics work to convert those in the decision phase. Now, you have to determine the context of those pieces of content.
Using buyer personas to develop content topics ensures that their needs are met. You can integrate this process more effectively by using a content marketing platform, which can boost effectiveness and alignment.
4. Use Your Business Model to Sync Content Goals and Business Goals
Part of your content strategy should include your preferred business model. This defines the role your content plays in your organization. It’s how your team is structured and also your content workflows. But your business model can also be a way to identify goals.
By leveraging the business model, your content goals can be better aligned with your organization’s master goals. This is a way to prove the return on investment (ROI) of content marketing—as a profit generator, not simply a cost.
If your business has a goal of achieving a higher NPS (net promoter score), then you’ll need to have content to support this initiative that includes content goals like engagement. This will then also impact your topics.
An NPS is derived based on a customer’s likelihood of recommending your brand. So, you need a campaign to engage customers to take a survey. This could include an email campaign, a targeted video, or social media posts.
5. Perform a Content Audit for Topic Inspiration
Depending on how niche your industry is, content topics can either be narrow or broad. To determine where your library of topics falls, perform a content audit. This practice should help you identify gaps in topics when compared to other sources like competitors or industry publications.
If you are using a content marketing platform, you should have a repository of all your content. This tool will help you organize all content by topic. But before you start the audit, facilitate a project that asks your team to come up with 10 content topic ideas based on research as indicated above and also your buyer personas.
Once you complete the audit, compare what you have to what your staff thinks you should have. You’ll immediately notice where the holes are. With new buckets identified, it’s time to kick off an exercise to generate ideas.
Keep doing these audits at least annually, if not every quarter. If you are in a fast-moving industry that’s regularly impacted externally, doing them more often is recommended.
Using content marketing strategies to help you choose topics and set goals will prove very beneficial. Instead of deriving topics and goals out of “thin air,” you’ll instead be able to ground them in data and research. To manage all the different aspects of this discipline, you’ll greatly appreciate a platform that has the features to keep you organized, like DivvyHQ. See how it works today for FREE.