Rome wasn’t built in a day, the old cliché tells us, and the same could surely be said of most any winning content marketing campaign. You can probably think of some companies, whether major brands or small businesses, that have implemented truly effective, results-getting content marketing strategies. You may be aware of those businesses precisely because of their Twitter buzz, or because of an informative blog entry you stumbled across on Google. You probably also know of at least one business that has taken a stab at content marketing and failed, perhaps leaving a forlorn and neglected Facebook page behind as a sad relic from an ineffective campaign.
What’s the difference between the first type of company and the second? In many cases, it is a simple matter of the first company sticking with it. Building visibility and authority through social media and through blogging is very possible, but it does not happen overnight. Companies that launch a Facebook page and expect to see a dozen new customers lined up the next morning are sure to get burned out on their content marketing endeavors quickly.
It’s a Matter of Setting Goals
In order to set the proper expectations for a content marketing strategy—to prepare yourself and your company for an ongoing process as opposed to a quick fix—it helps to set some specific goals. There are plenty of ways in which content marketing can prove uniquely effective, ways in which you can measure your progress and see that you are getting results. Having these profound and realistic goals in mind—as opposed to the unrealistic expectations of immediate success—can help ground your content marketing efforts.
So, before you set up that Facebook page or start whipping up blog articles, set the goals for all of these activities. What are you trying to accomplish? How will you measure and define success? How will you ensure that your efforts are focused on creating particular results, instead of just making noise?
Your Content Marketing Goals
There are several specific goals you might set for your company’s content marketing endeavors—among them:
- Increased brand visibility. One of the most common content marketing goals is to increase the awareness people have of your brand. When someone stumbles across an article that is genuinely helpful and engaging, they likely want to know who wrote it and where they can get more. If the article is traceable back to your business, it can help establish your company as a more visible presence on the Web.
- Increased brand loyalty. If your clients and customers are continually reading content that you’ve published—content that is engaging and informative—it helps make your company come across as more credible, and ultimately easier to like. This will make your previous customers more likely to become repeat customers.
- Engaged customers. Content that elicits some kind of a reaction—content that surprises, entertains, educates, or informs—is more likely to generate social media shares and general online buzz. It is also more likely to keep your company on the mind of your customers.
- Educated customers. Do you consistently lose sales because your leads simply do not understand what your company sells and how they might benefit? Does your sales team get the same questions, over and over again? When you set the goal of customer education, it empowers you to write content that clears up some of these common issues, and makes your own sales process more efficient.
There are other goals you might set, as well, but setting some goal is vital; not only does it bring focus to your content creation, but it also helps you to stay on course, moving forward and not allowing false expectations to derail your marketing endeavors!
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