Content strategy: How to set and stick to smart goals

Content strategy goals

Reading time: About 3 minutes
“Mommy, who’s going to wipe my butt when I poop at school?”

It’s the end of Day 1 of Grade R at a new school.
One much bigger than the playgroup she’s used to, where teachers still wipe butts.
“Erm, I guess you’re going to have to learn how to do it yourself,” I say, trying not to breathe through my nose as I wipe her butt for the fifty thousandth time.
“But I’m not six yet,” she says. “You said I must start wiping my butt when I’m six.”
“Well, you turn six next month, so you better start practising.”
A horrified look crosses her face.
“That’s dis-sucking.”
“What’s more disgusting is walking around with skid marks in your pants. So, you’re going to have to do it yourself at some stage.”
“Only when I’m six.”
That means, ladies and gentlemen, that I have exactly four weeks and six days left of wiping another person’s butt other than my own.
It’s a milestone in parenting.
Forget sitting, crawling, walking, and talking.
I celebrated when Ayva could hold her own bottle.
I celebrated when she was potty trained.
I celebrated that one time she slept through the night.
And I’m going to throw a helluva party the first time she wipes her butt.

Goals and milestones

When you’re working towards a goal (in my case, raising a decent, self-butt-wiping human), milestones keep you focused and energised.

They’re markers in your journey that remind you of how far you’ve come and how much further you still have to go.

Documenting, implementing, and optimising your content strategy takes time. It’s a journey of a thousand steps and a hundred milestones.

Without a goal and strategy to keep you focused, it’s not likely you’re getting a good return on your content investment.

So, on to this week’s lesson:

Crafting effective content strategy goals

Marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs are pulled in a million directions.

With everyone vying for their attention, it’s tempting to slap a blog post onto the website, post a #MotivationalMonday meme on Facebook Meta, and consider it done until next week.

Not only is this ineffective, but it sucks up time, energy, and money – all of which are in short supply.

What’s more, you’re missing an opportunity to strengthen your position in the marketplace.

Enter the content strategy and three good reasons to have one:

  • Makes it easier to make smart decisions about what content to create while saying no to everything else.
  • Helps you get the biggest return and impact from limited financial, time, and human resources (hello, dwindling marketing budgets).
  • Provides a framework to evaluate proposed content ideas and makes it effortless to onboard new content creators (this alone is gold).

Need to know

Three steps to creating content strategy goals:

  1. Start with your business goal.

Perhaps you want to increase sales by 20%.

Maybe you’re launching a new product and need to tell people about it.

Or suppose you want people to sign up for a course or spend a Saturday morning planting trees in your neighbourhood.

You need to know where you’re going so that you can plan how to get there.

Tip: If you don’t have a concrete business goal, identify a customer problem you’ve been trying to solve.

For example, have you noticed that prospects drop off at a certain point in the sales funnel? If you dig deeper, you might find that the content experience is confusing or frustrating – and nobody’s got time for that.

  1. Define how marketing supports the business goal.

To increase sales, marketing might run promotions or explore new territories and industries to reach different audiences.

When launching a product, marketing might offer free samples or enlist the help of influencers to spread the word.

To get people to enrol in a course, marketing might offer early-bird deals or publish testimonials from previous students.

Understanding how marketing supports your business goal/s is a cornerstone of content strategy.

  1. Define how content supports marketing goals.

Every piece of content you produce must be aligned to your company vision, support your marketing goals, and meet a customer need at a particular point in the sales funnel.

‘Random acts of content’ only add to the content tsunami that everyone is up against every day.

They’re not standing around waiting for your content to knock them off their feet – they’re running for their lives, screaming blue murder, and doing everything possible to avoid drowning.

So, how do you get their attention?

By offering a lifeline.

A lifeline in the form of relevant, helpful content that appears exactly when your target audience needs it.

Whether that’s when they realise that they have a problem.

When they want to take action to solve the problem.

Or when they’re ready to click ‘buy’, ‘register’, or ‘subscribe’.

But here’s the catch:

Offer the lifeline without expecting anything in return.

Just their eyeballs and their time. Be generous with information and you’ll be rewarded in spades when it’s time for them to make a purchasing decision.

Nice to know

Tips for crafting content strategy goals:

  • Make them SMART:
    • Specific – Get Ayva to wipe her own butt by the time she’s six.
    • Measurable – Pretty obvious – she either can or can’t won’t.
    • Achievable – Yes.
    • Realistic – Hell yes!
    • Timely – Four weeks and six days, people!
  • Less is more. Stick to three or four goals.
  • Since content strategy cuts across and aligns every department in the business, it must be mandated from the top and supported by leadership. I can’t stress this enough.

Your action this week

Your action this week is to get clarity on your business goal or problem, and how marketing supports these efforts.
Focus on one outcome for now. Crystalise it, write it down, stick it up – this will be your guiding light for the rest of your content strategy.


Content strategy course

In the previous lesson, we discussed the difference between content strategy, content marketing, and content marketing strategy. We learnt that while there is overlap between the three, and while the concepts are often used interchangeably, they’re actually quite different in terms of focus areas and business outcomes.

Content strategy deals with the organisation of information and how you align the people who create your content with the people who consume it.

If you missed that mail, you can catch up here.

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