Content Marketing Capability Audit and Goal Setting
Content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute, is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience–with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
For CEOs and CFOs, it means using content marketing to improve business performance, to witness positive ROI, and to ensure that the customers’ buying cycle is profitable for the company.
Simply broadcasting advertising messages for the sake of having something to say to consumers out there should no longer be the main business strategy – that is, if you want to gain continuous loyalty and trust of current and prospective clients and prove your worth as a reputable brand amidst a sea of competition.
The Content Explosion and Content Marketing
But if we look over the Internet in the past recent years, it’s safe to say that we have been constantly bombarded with and even in the danger of being buried underneath tons and tons of social and blog content – all of which are churned out because just about anyone can do it – but without seeming usefulness or authority to be justifiably called ‘quality content marketing’.
No doubt that the amount of content available over the World Wide Web for the consuming public, regardless of demographics, has risen exponentially – and marketers have joined the bandwagon and produced a ridiculous amount up on their websites and shared over every imaginable social media platform available out there – but it doesn’t mean that it’s good for business.
In fact, the whole slew of ‘post-and-hope’ content being racked up by marketers these days are usually haphazardly edited, rarely researched about, and not sophisticated enough to send a message powerful enough to reach across numerous audience base.
If an organization’s content marketing activity cannot be tied back to its business goals nor even used by its sales team, it can be its own worst enemy.
Why (Content Marketing Capability) Audit is Necessary
The right attitude produces the right action which in turn, produces the right results. Content marketing, done the right way, can be any CEO’s and CFO’s ultimate weapon for a thriving, commanding, and inspiring business. Simply put, quality content marketing is your business.
This is the main reason why auditing your organization’s content marketing capability is a must not only to produce compelling ‘post-and-promote’ type of excellent content but also if you want to achieve either or both of the following: be an authoritative voice in your industry and influence audience perception and consuming habits that is profitable for your business.
First, identify your current skills and capability, strengths and weaknesses – everything that you have and don’t have – which will lead to a better understanding of what you are now and what you aren’t, what you can do, and what you want to become.
Second, having a clear picture of who you are as an organization, you can adjust your content marketing behavior to suit, fit, satisfy – not what it can offer you (having something to post on your website and for users to browse with) – but what it can offer your target audience and beyond your usual intended demographics.
Third, you can now proceed in developing a content marketing plan that is based on your competence as an organization and is consciously aware of your prospective customers’ needs and expectations.
Setting Goals and Objectives For Your Content Marketing Strategy
To turn content marketing into a business advantage, you need to define your marketing and business goals. It usually points back to the organization’s mission and vision statements. The ability to recognize and establish smart goals and objectives points you in the right direction and will keep you on the right track towards the summit, peak, cusp of business success.
With all that in mind, you can shift your focus toward the creation of relevant and newsworthy content. Knowing precisely which type of content can best be leveraged to the right audience does more than just catch the attention of readers – it inspires them to share your content which can drive more organic search traffic to your brand which in turn, can lead to a potential long-term, satisfying producer-user/marketer-consumer relationship.
To help you better understand how you can set goals and objectives for your content marketing strategy, you first need a good foundation for what the two are. The latter is a more specific, concrete and tangible expression of the former’s more abstract ideals.
Goals are general concepts and statements about the whys and hows of your business – what you intend to accomplish. They compose of broad business ideas and outcomes that serve as framework or backbone for determining the more specific ideas and outcomes of the website, or your business.
Goals are top-level targets or general aims reflecting your organization’s overall direction, route, or destination. One common content marketing goal is to drive more organic search traffic to your website.
Objectives simplify your goals and turn it into more specific targets that are measurable, achievable, and realistic – achieved within an expected timeframe. These are milestones reached in order to achieve the goal.
For example, if the content marketing goal is to drive more organic search traffic to your website, a smart content marketing objective is to ensure that the number of organic brand searches will jump by 200% from 1,000 to 3,000 each month.
S.M.A.R.T stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
How would you know if your content marketing has smart objectives?
Performance management specialist Professor Andy Neely of Cambridge University developed a 10-measure design test which you can use to analyze the level of effectiveness of the objectives of your content marketing.
1. The truth test. Are we really measuring what we set out to measure?
2. The focus test. Are we only measuring what we set out to measure?
3. The relevancy test. Is it the right measure of the performance measure we want to track?
4. The consistency test. Will the data always be collected in the same way whoever measures it?
5. The access test. Is it easy to locate and capture the data needed to make the measurement?
6. The clarity test. Is any ambiguity possible in interpreting the results?
7. The so-what test. Can and will the data be acted upon, i.e. is it actionable?
8. The timeliness test. Can the data be accessed rapidly and frequently enough for action?
9. The cost test. Is the measure worth the cost of measurement?
10. The gaming test. Is the measure likely to encourage undesirable or inappropriate behaviors?
But no matter what kind of metric or how sophisticated it can be, the most important thing to remember is that you identify and map out your content marketing goals – and be confident enough to execute and evaluate them. Metrics are the behind-the-scene indicators whether you’re succeeding or not in enrapturing your audience with exhilarating content that is actually beneficial for them and for your business.
Why Quality Content is Crucial
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 benchmarks report, the top business goals for content marketing in the UK are geared towards increased sales, engagement, lead generation, brand awareness, customer retention, and lead nurturing.
And if this any sign, you should soon enough take considerable time to analyze your content marketing capability and focus your goal setting agenda towards the curating of quality content tailored to the specific needs and expectations of individuals or expertly segmented audiences of your industry.
Creating content that can keep the brand message powerful enough to inform and inspire readers without hard-selling to them while being entertaining, unique and appealing all at the same time – it is a tricky and formidable task, to say the least, but one that can turn all your organization’s full marketing efforts into a fruitful labor, set your website apart from being more than just a flood of undifferentiated content, and harness the power of print to make you a trusted brand authority and established industry leader.