Content Goals: A Complete Guide (2023)
According to a recent report studying the impact of goal setting, those who set an actionable plan with precise tasks tend to achieve up to 40% more than those who don’t.
For that reason, whether you’re a marketer, content marketing manager, creator, or business owner, it’s critical that you establish clear goals and expected outcomes while providing content for an audience.
If you’re interested in finding out more about content goals, their importance, types, and how to establish them, this guide has got you covered with everything you need to know! Let’s dive right in!
Why Set Content Goals?
Setting particular content goals comes with plenty of benefits to your business, whether we’re talking short-term or long-term, so let’s have a brief look at those reasons:
1. Clarifying Your Objectives
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Without a particular goal that you have in mind, you won’t know what you are pursuing exactly (or missing out on), which is simply a recipe for disaster and regrettable mistakes.
On the flip side, having a clear set of goals won’t only improve the quality of the content you’re creating, but it will also provide a clearer context and make it a lot easier to “hit the mark” and achieve results.
2. Measuring the Success of Your Content
Each type of content goal will have its distinct key metrics and patterns that allow you to measure its rate of success. This way, you can measure the Return on Investment (ROI) after creating new content.
The most popular Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are associated with content creation include:
- Revenue in terms of sales or subscriptions
- Number of leads and new customers gained
- Website traffic and the number of new visitors
- Retention time (time spend browsing the content you created)
- Engagement rate on social media after new content
For instance, if you create new content with the goal to promote the sales of a particular product, you can measure the success of your strategy by tracking the associated KPIs, such as sales and click-through rates.
3. Providing a Sense of Direction and Focus
To put it bluntly, it’s really hard to reach your destination without a map, and that also applies to your business and marketing strategies.
Before going ahead and creating your content, you first need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- What is the purpose of this content?
- How can this content help my business?
- Is the rest of the team aligned with these marketing goals and strategies?
Let’s say that you and your team have a clear goal that you want to achieve. For example, you want to improve conversions and sales.
In that case, regardless of who creates the content, it’ll always be geared toward the same purpose and easily assessed by standard KPIs for these goals.
4. Helping to Guide Content Creation
This one is deeply interlinked with the previous point, as it also focuses on the quality of the content rather than the quantity.
One thing that most experienced marketers and content creators know is that different intentions can impact the style and formulation of the content itself.
When you have a clear objective and target to achieve while creating your content, you’ll be able to refine the content and optimize it to match that style.
As a result, your content will be more potent and optimized toward achieving its real short and long-term objectives.
In addition to improving the quality, having a particular focus on specific content with a distinctive target to achieve will help you create a faster and more efficient content roll-out system.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a clear goal in your mind while creating the content, it’ll simply feel diluted and all over the place, providing no real value to the receiver.
Types Of Content Goals
Setting content goals for your brand isn’t a one-way road, as different needs and purposes can have a huge impact on the strategies and techniques you follow while creating one.
To help you have a better understanding of content goals and how they can impact your business or brand, let’s have a brief overview of the different types of content goals you might have:
1. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness should always be a top priority while setting goals for your content marketing strategy for both B2B and B2C models.
In short, your sales and subscription rates are only as good as the people who know about it, regardless of your product or service quality.
In today’s market, competition rates are always very high, so you have to make a proper representation of your company through powerful branding.
According to a report by Stackla, up to 88% of customers said that brand authenticity is a major deciding factor while making a purchase!
In addition to getting yourself out there, you also need to stand out by providing top-quality content that provides true value to your audience, which helps you establish authenticity and even facilitate other marketing goals later on!
Read more about brand loyalty.
2. Lead Generation
Another critical metric that is as critical as brand awareness is lead generation. Lead generation is the process of establishing customers’ interest by giving more information about them.
To put it simply, more leads mean more customers, and more customers equal more revenue.
In fact, many reports found that lead generation is often considered the number 1 budget priority when it comes to marketing, especially in B2C models.
No matter how satisfied your current client base is, you can’t achieve sustainable growth without getting new customers.
One thing you should know is that lead generation itself is composed of various aspects, including:
- Generating Revenue: The contribution of new leads to sales
- Gathering Data and Feedback: Finding out raw and demographic information about the content audience
- Driving Interest: Augments false brand awareness and leads by studying the true level of interest and commitment of new leads
- Lead Support: The ability to convert leads into customers through customer service.
3. Build Relationships and Increase Engagement
Having a more engaging audience improves your chances of turning your leads into new customers. Here’s why engagement is critical for the success of your content:
- Encouraging your audience to like, share, and comment allows your content to rank higher in terms of traffic, which helps in exposing your brand to as many potential leads and customers as possible.
- Besides exposure, by regularly replying to the audience's questions on your content, you’ll increase your brand authority and leave a more personal/endearing impression of your business.
- When visitors engage by commenting or inquiring, you will get a better idea about their expectations, needs, and interests, which helps you better target them with more curated content, especially for niche businesses.
- Even negative engagements and feedback can help you learn what customers don’t like about your business, which allows you to improve later on
There are a plethora of key metrics that can help you track and compare your current engagement rates with expected goals, such as bounce rate, scroll depth, time spent on a page, and more.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools and software that can help you monitor all that, including Google Analytics, Optimizely, Hotjar, and more.
4. Conversion and Sales
Technically speaking, all the aspects of marketing come down to a specific goal: converting leads to customers and then sales!
Conversion rate is not only a fundamental target and an ongoing objective that you should always try to improve, but it also doubles as a method to compare and analyze the effectiveness of your different advertising and marketing channels.
For example, let’s say that you’re running an A/B test to see which type of content or sales approach is more suitable for your audience. How can you tell which one of them is more suitable? Of course! Sales!
With that being said, you should know that the conversion rate can easily hit a limit and is rarely high.
In fact, even the highest-performing websites may maintain a conversion rate of less than 10% or even 5%, depending on the nature of your industry.
5. Customer Retention
Customer retention can take many forms, and therefore, it’s a somewhat versatile goal with varying importance depending on many factors.
The most well-established definition of customer retention rate is the percentage of customers that continue to do business with you after a given period.
The importance of maintaining high customer retention is mainly because it impacts or signals various aspects of your business, such as:
- Your content’s ability to foster loyalty
- The quality and reliability of your lead conversion process
- Whether you need to improve your engagement levels and customer support
6. Improving Your SEO Ranking
Keeping your content more optimized for search engines allows it to rank higher in search results of related keywords.
According to a report by BrightEdge Research, around 68% of all online experiences, including purchasing products and subscribing to services, begin by typing a related keyword in a search engine.
The same report also mentioned that, on average, search engines drive up to 1,000% more traffic to your online content than social media, so it’s easy to tell how important this metric is and why it should be a priority content goal, especially for niche sites.
7. Establishing Domain Authority and Gain Backlinks
Speaking of SEO, another aspect that you should also mark as a critical content goal is domain authority.
This one is a search engine ranking that is given to your website based on the overall performance and relevance of its content.
In addition to optimizing your new content, you should also set a goal to optimize the old content on your website to enhance your reliability and authority rating.
One of the best metrics to measure the success of this goal is getting backlinked, which is having your web pages linked to other websites.
8. Attract Chances for Collaboration
Another great content goal to keep in mind is to attract partners and chances for collaboration, such as guest bloggers providing content on your website. Achieving such as goal with plenty of benefits to your website, such as:
- Strengthens your overall content strategy and contributes to your brand’s trust factor
- Attracting the followers of the collaborators as well as backlinks from their website, boosting your audience and traffic.
- Introducing more helpful insights and skill sets to your visitors by providing them with unique content from an experienced guest.
How To Set Content Goals
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of goals, here’s a clear guide to help you set your content goals to match your business strategy:
Identify Your Target Audience
The first and most critical step towards creating any successful marketing campaign is to know the right audience for what you are offering.
Marketing can be a great investment, but it can also be costly, so you have to make sure that your time and money end up getting your product or service to the right audience.
In fact, according to a case report by KoMarketing, inaccurate audience targeting accounts for up to 35% of wasted marketing funds, which translates to billions of dollars every year!
To avoid that, here are some essential pointers to help you better identify your target audience:
- Analyze and dissect your current customer base to find out patterns and connections in terms of demographics, interests, etc.
- Review the market trends of your industry
- Analyze the competitors and what they usually target in customers
- Categorize your audience in groups of various significance by elimination
- Use helpful software that offers data about your website visitors, such as Google Analytics
Determine Your Target Audience's Needs and Interests
The process of deepening the relationship between you and your audience doesn’t end with knowing who they are, but it should also include further information about their expectations and what they’re looking for.
This is because different types of customers might be looking for different things with various levels of commitment and interest.
The importance of your audience's specific needs is even more critical if your business specializes in a particular niche.
Determining these needs and interests can help you cater to your audience’s needs by producing higher quality content that feels custom-made for them, which also helps in increasing your brand authority and loyalty.
Additionally, in terms of SEO, if you have a more in-depth knowledge of your customers, you can create custom content with long tail keywords for better chances of ranking and even driving more sales.,
One of the best ways to achieve that is by conducting customer surveys and interviews that can help you find out more about them while offering prizes and discounts as incentives to complete it.
Set SMART Goals
After gathering information about your target audience, it’s time to start setting goals that guide you toward achieving the best possible results with such data.
Of course, the particular goals may vary depending on your business or project characteristics. However, the SMART framework/guidelines are one of the best ways to make sure that you’ve set the right ones.
SMART is short for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, which represents the most important characteristics of your goals. Let’s have a quick look at each one of these elements:
One of the biggest pitfalls that some marketers might fall into is assigning collective terms while describing their content goals rather than pinpointing precise ones.
An example of poor specificity would be targeting “more sales” or “more audience”.
As you can see, these goals are quite vague, as they are simply too generalized and don't focus on particular aspects that you can follow along.
To have specific goals is to provide a more detailed model of the desired outcome. So, instead of going for “more audience”, you should opt for “a particular increase in leads and visitor’s retention time and click-through rates”.
In addition to being specific, you should also try to keep your desired outcomes as “quantified” as possible.
For example, the previous bad example “more audience” doesn’t have a particular milestone, so it doesn’t specify how much of an engagement improvement is considered a success.
Instead, you should always opt for goals that you can measure and keep track of, such as:
- 5% higher sales through click-throughs
- 10% higher engagement rates through comments and shares
- 7% increase in newsletter subscriptions by the end of the quarter
While setting particular goals for your content, you should try to keep them as attainable as possible rather than shooting for unrealistic or excessively dramatic ones.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and hoping for the best results and outcomes.
However, you should always keep in mind all the given conditions as well, such as workload, market average, competition, etc.
Ideally, a SMART goal should have the right amount of ambition to entice innovation but you should also give yourself a “reality check” while setting it so that your team isn’t discouraged or undermotivated to follow through.
A great tip here is to always communicate with your team regarding the achievability of the set goals and always shoot for realistic ones.
Why? The dopamine rush and positive morale of achieving said goals will give your team just the right push to aim higher in the following cycles!
While setting a content goal, you shouldn’t only ask yourself the “how” and “what”, but you should also ask yourself the “why”.
In other words, your goals should always align with the grand plan of your business strategy and objective.
For instance, if you have a niche website with decently normal website visits and engagement rate but you’re underperforming in terms of sales.
In that case, setting goals that target more engagement will not translate into higher sales.
Instead, you’ll need to re-design your content strategy and points of focus based on their relevance to the bigger picture.
Working endlessly towards a certain goal isn’t always the right thing to do because what works for you today may not work for you a few months after.
Always optimize your content goals so that they’re flexible but still bound by a set date and time.
Even if you have a long-term goal that might take years to achieve, it’s usually best that you break it down into multiple time-bound small-term goals instead.
Having a particular deadline also helps you and your team to put the right amount of effort toward achieving said goal.
Regularly Review and Adjust Your Goals As Needed
Lastly, after setting goals and implementing a plan, it really pays to be flexible and regularly review your goals and adjust them according to any updates and situations that you may come across.
Additionally, continuous goal checkups will help you stay motivated and committed while keeping you away from distractions.
Among the most important questions to ask yourself while reviewing your goals are:
- How far have I come in achieving the current goals?
- How far am I off the mark?
- What can I add or remove depending on changes in the market?
Of course, reviewing your short-term goals on a daily basis can be a bit tedious and prevents you from seeing huge performance while reviewing them monthly keeps them out of your sight for too long, preventing you from making critical changes as soon as possible.
For that reason, a good balance here is to review your goals on a weekly basis so you can enjoy the best of both worlds while having a larger-scale review monthly or every other month.
Wrapping Things Up
There you have it! A brief guide that walks you through everything you need to know about content goals, their importance, and how to achieve them.
As you can see, there are plenty of content goals out there that you might want to aim for while planning a business strategy … such as establishing brand awareness and authority all the while generating more leads and driving more engagement.
But remember, you don’t necessarily have to check all the boxes while trying to create your own content strategy.