Beginning a content marketing strategy is simple. In theory, all you need is an idea, a platform or CMS, and a “publish” button. However, driving real ROI (and proving it) can be tough. Bridging the gap between publishing content and creating a refined content marketing strategy takes a lot of time and effort, and requires a solid foundation.
This is where content marketing objectives come into play.
In this post, we will look at how marketers can set up content marketing efforts to focus on specific business objectives. Doing so will put you as the marketer in the fast lane to success when content is being evaluated both internally (by executive leadership) and externally (by your prospects and customers).
Here are some key objectives to keep in mind:
Brand Awareness and Organic Search Visibility
These two objectives go hand in hand as it’s been reported that Google alone receives more than 63,000 searches per second on any given day. When developing content to spur traffic growth and build brand awareness, be sure to include keyword research as a part of your process. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or the Moz Keyword Explorer will help you to identify keywords and phrases that the audience is searching, as it relates to your topic.
The benefit of implementing targeted keywords into your content strategy is two-fold:
- Content that effectively targets a specific word or phrase will have a chance of appearing on the first page of search results – where it can be seen thousands of times by interested search engine users.
- Finding a keyword term or phrase with search volume will assure you that the chosen topic is popular outside of your organization.
Remember: When writing content to “stick” on the first page of search results, your goal should always be to create the best page on the web for the targeted topic. Always try to go above and beyond what already exists.
Brand and Thought Leadership
Once your brand has established some visibility in the industry, you will likely want to consider taking the next step, which is becoming an “influencer” in the space.
When thinking about brand and thought leadership content, you should be identifying ways you can push your brand to the front of the line, and becoming a go-to source of information. Thought leadership content should always inform and educate your audience, providing actionable information that truly makes a difference. When developing thought leadership content, be sure to avoid being overly promotional. This means avoiding putting your services or products first and instead focusing on truly actionable takeaways.
Here are a few examples of effective brand or thought leadership content:
- Research papers or whitepapers
- “How to” videos or blog posts
- Third-party articles (content published in an authoritative industry publication)
Fend Off the Competition
When thinking about that 63,000 searches per second stat mentioned earlier in this post, it’s important to also think about where all those eyeballs are going. If your brand does not have a voice in the conversation (keyword-focused content), you are very likely missing out on opportunities to pull visitors to your website. Worse, you are almost guaranteed to be losing those visits to direct competitors.
As you create content for a specific topic or keyword theme, don’t be afraid to take a look around. What I mean here is analyzing existing content on search results, social media, etc. To make truly unique content, you must first understand what already exists in the market – one way to do this is by conducting a content audit.
Much like having the best house in the neighborhood, it’s critical to understand what’s around you – then building something even better.
Keep Your Website Active
It’s fairly common for an organization to spend budget to create a nice clean website, upload content, and then…neglect it. Launching a site (or a section of a site like a blog) is only the first step in the process.
Keeping your website fresh with new content and updates will:
- Let visitors know your organization is committed
- Keep people (and search engines) coming back
- Inform your audience (blog posts, industry news, etc.)
This is just the start of the benefits of keeping your site active. Regularly publishing content (or refreshing existing content) will also give various departments, such as sales and social media, assets to work with when reaching out to existing customers or prospects.
Generate Leads and Drive Conversions
Much in part due to the evolution of technology, customers are now in the driver’s seat. No longer can we meet marketing goals while exclusively relying on pop-up ads and mail-in signups. With this in mind, it’s critical to create content that allows the potential customer to move through the sales funnel at their own pace.
This “moving at their own pace” means you need to create content that will first introduce them to your brand, but also have a slew of other content that they can visit as they move through the sales funnel. When creating content to drive leads and conversions, keep this graphic in mind, which was created by my colleague, Kristen.
Whether you have an existing content marketing strategy, or you’re looking to get a strategy off the ground, it’s critical to identify key objectives. We hope these ideas provide a boost as your organization heads down the road to content marketing success.
Feel free to drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to keep this conversation going!