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How To Identify Your Real Content Goals

I’m a firm believer in doing things with an end goal in mind. Whether that be meeting with potential clients about their content strategy or trying to drink the recommended daily amount of water (the goal here is that I become magically immortal). When a goal is involved, it makes the tasks leading up to the goal resonate more strongly with everyone involved.

We talk to leads all the time who are extremely interested in using content marketing. When I ask them what their goals are, they usually have an answer but don’t seem convinced that it’s the right one. They know that content marketing can help propel their company forward, but they aren’t positive about how exactly it will work.

If you’re in the same boat and want help identifying your exact content goals, look no further. Below I’ve outlined some typical responses we’ve heard to the question, “What are your content marketing goals?” and expanded them into a bigger, overarching goal that can help take your content marketing strategy from zero to hero.

Not sure how your current strategy is playing out? Download your free interactive content marketing strategy checklist to find out for yourself.

What you think your goal is: Keeping up with competitors

What your goal really is: Search engine optimization (SEO)

It’s tough to see your competition putting out a ton of great content and feeling like your efforts aren’t stacking up. If you’ve noticed that other companies in your industry are cranking out killer content that's getting loads of attention, it’s easy to feel like you need to beef up your presence online.

What you really need is an SEO strategy that increases the value of your website and the content that lives on it. SEO works to get your website to the top of the list when members of your audience look for certain keywords in search engines. The content on your site and the pages that link to your site give your website a better score, boosting your overall credibility with the search engine.

Your SEO strategy needs to include keyword research, blogging, link building, and content distribution tactics. When SEO is your main goal, it’s critical for your content team to focus on how to best optimize your content. Sure, having a hefty blog page on your website gives the impression that your business is knowledgeable in its field, but making sure it is actually valuable to the readers is even more important.

When users find the answers to their questions easily within a company’s content, they are likely to share it to spread the word. More appreciative eyes on your content means that your site is increasing its rank, your brand is building credibility, and that all of your hard work is paying off.

What you think your goal is: More sales

What your goal really is: Lead generation

In the grand scheme of things, all businesses need to make sales in order to stay afloat. In order to make sales, you have to have people who are interested in what you’re selling. The best content marketing goal for someone who wants to make more sales is lead generation.

Lead generation is the process of converting people who have heard of your company into people who want to hear from your company more frequently. When those leads view you as an expert in your field and trust you, they’re more likely to become customers. The value of content marketing is that it educates and informs leads rather than shoving a sales pitch in their face, making the whole experience more enjoyable for them.

Lead generation allows content marketers to grow their list of potential clients and see exactly where those leads are coming from. This is accomplished through gated content, or pieces of content that readers can't access until they fill out a form. Once a reader provides a name and email address, he or she gets access to the content, and the marketer has generated a new lead.

When creating content with the goal of lead generation in mind, remember that providing as much value as possible is what will ultimately result in a satisfied customer. Happy customers are the best kind, which is why lead generation is such a beneficial goal for content marketing.

What you think your goal is: Getting published

What your goal really is: Thought leadership

We’ve talked to a lot of new clients who have mentioned wanting to be featured in certain large publications in order to showcase their expertise. What they don’t realize is that simply getting published is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s an even bigger goal they can be working toward: thought leadership.

The idea of having an article published in a trusted publication may be attractive to you because it conveys to readers that you have valuable information to share and puts a face to your company. But focusing on publishing more than just one article on behalf of one individual from your company is actually a win for the entire business in the long run.

Consistent, sustained thought leadership is a fantastic way to build credibility with your audience, and there are two main ways content marketing enables this: guest-contributed content and press mentions. Guest-contributed content (i.e, articles bylined by a thought leader in online publications) enables your subject matter experts to share their unique insights with members of your audience. Press mentions, in which a thought leader is mentioned or quoted as an expert source, provide valuable third-party validation.

People love brands that are relatable and trustworthy, and content marketing helps you become both. At the end of the buyer's journey, consumers are more likely to choose companies that they trust and believe in over vendors or providers that they feel no connection with.

Small goals are great, but when it comes to content marketing, bigger long-term goals are best. We like to continually reinforce the idea that content marketing is not a quick fix or magic pill solution to any of the goals we’ve talked about. It’s a strategy that takes time to build upon, and that’s why we aim for more ambitious goals than just “getting published.” We encourage our clients to think of content marketing as a lifestyle change, not a crash diet. With ambitious goals that deliver valuable results, abiding by the strategy is worth the wait.

Create content that is educational and engaging. Download our 4-step guide below to learn more:

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About Cherish Grimm

I love the St. Louis Cardinals, Mr. Pibb, and Reese's. My favorite things to do are spend time with my family, play outside, and wrestle with my Great Dane.

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