Trolling for a solution to a problem can feel like you’re just jumping around online, being blasted by one ad after another.
Calls to action are everywhere you look, asking you to buy, subscribe, and sign up. But this just leads to more and more confusion as you search for the product or service that will solve your problem, creating frustration that leads to inaction.
What you really need is information that will help you make a more confident purchasing decision. These are the instances that make content marketing so valuable.
Whether a company is asking its audience to subscribe to an email or provide a referral, at the end of the day, it’s asking its audience to do something.
Related Content: 4 Metrics to Measure Content Marketing and the Tools to Help
But with content marketing, your business can provide visitors with relevant, valuable content in exchange for a request — whether it’s blatantly stated or not.
Content marketing can achieve your business goals and showcase your industry expertise, while also providing value to your audience.
But for content marketing to do what you want it to, you have to first know what those goals are.
Content Marketing, Defined - n: A technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a clearly understood target audience, with the objective of providing customer action.
After all, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re looking to accomplish, it’s difficult to determine what you need to do to get there.
By setting your overarching goals as your North Star, you can more easily set effective benchmarks and near-term goals to drive your content marketing strategy.
Find Your Beacon
Content should fit logically and seamlessly into your overall marketing strategy.
When we bring on a new client at Influence & Co., it’s my job to discuss goals and create a mission. Then, we keep that mission in mind throughout every step of the process. We determine business objectives, and then work backwards to align content marketing goals accordingly.
For instance, some of the near-term goals, or “wants,” of my clients are:
Whether your short-term goals align with those above or are more focused on community development, customer service, or generating referrals, it’s important to clearly articulate your objectives from the start.
Once you’ve identified your goals, develop a long-term strategy to achieve results, essentially creating a map that will lead you to success. For example, consider these possible action steps for achieving the short-term goals mentioned above:
The key to generating effective leads is to meet your customers where they are. Find out what they’re reading, where they “hang out” online, and where they’re looking for solutions to their problems.
Your customers won’t come to you; it’s your job to go out and find them.
Related Content: Choosing the Right Publication for Your Content Checklist
For example, when one of our clients was looking to sell more workout supplements, he published expert content giving health, fitness, and nutrition tips in various niche publications.
This even worked to pre-qualify leads. People who were looking for tips on how to recover more quickly from a workout were visiting their favorite fitness site, and now, his product was an attractive option.
One of the best ways to gain credibility is to be recognized by people or companies your audience also finds credible.
Awards might not seem that important to you, but others will find that stamp of approval a good sign when considering doing business with you.
If you want to help people become more knowledgeable about an industry, then sharing your own insights is a good first step.
Learn as much as you can about your industry, and begin forming your own opinions on trends. Write and publish these ideas, and then begin making connections with readers and other novices.
Offer your time as a mentor or simply spend a few minutes giving advice and help to others. Each step will get you closer to your goal.
Finally, be sure to measure your goals and track your progress — and don’t be afraid to reevaluate and change your goals when needed.
Look at what you’re doing now. When you’re publishing content on your company blog, are you getting engagement? If the answer is no, it’s probably not a viable goal to get 10 leads from your next post.
Start small, build a base, and work your way up. Track your results and continue to evaluate on a short-term and long-term basis. Find the tools that work for you to monitor and measure your results.
By keeping your eye on your North Star — your overall marketing goals — your content marketing can lead you in the right direction. Just make sure you’re granting your audience’s wishes as well as your own.
Post by Taylor Bell.