Creating content is hard. It’s a continuous challenge for many businesses who need to engage their customers and attract new prospects.

But simply creating more content isn’t an answer – or at least isn’t the full answer. Without setting clear goals as to what that content is to achieve, you’re firing blanks out into the universe, and can’t be sure which are reaching their target and which are missing.

We’ll cover the seven key reasons you need to set goals and the steps to take to ensure you’re successful.

What is content marketing goal setting?

Content goal setting is a process in which you identify the key business objectives you want to achieve through creating and distributing content online.

In the early days of the Internet, content was largely read by people looking for information. In other words, they knew what they were looking for.

Today, however, people are increasingly finding content as they search for something else. They don’t know what they’re looking for, but they know they want something. This requires a much more creative approach to content creation, as well as a greater understanding of the customer journey.

At the heart of content goal setting is a simple principle: “The better your content, the better your results.”

Your content is only as good as your goals. You can’t hit a target you can’t see.

The seven reasons you need to set goals for your content

As a business owner, you have many challenges to contend with, and the pressure to create relevant content continues to increase.

If you’re creating content without knowing why you’re doing it, you’re not really in control. And you’ll have no way of knowing if what you’re doing is even working.

Setting clear goals for your content allows you to:

• Persuade customers to do what you want them to do

• Attract more paying customers

• Make more money

• Reduce your advertising costs

• Free yourself from your competitors

• Keep your customers loyal

• Build a strong emotional connection

• Produce better content

• And much more…

So let’s look at the seven key reasons you need to set goals for your content.

1. To persuade customers to do what you want them to do

You may have the best products or services in the world. You may have the most mindblowing marketing. You may even be the most innovative, creative or experienced in your industry.

But if you can’t persuade your customers to buy from you, you’ll go out of business. It’s as simple as that.

If your business doesn’t have a good conversion rate on your sales pages, you need to set goals and work on improving your content to convert more of your visitors into customers.

If using content to generate leads, set goals to generate more leads.

If creating brand awareness, set goals to increase awareness.

All this content has one thing in common: to persuade your customers to do what you want them to do.

2. To attract more paying customers

Your customers are your lifeblood. You must attract more of them, and then keep them for as long as you possibly can.

Here’s the bad news: your customers are getting more and more choice. They have more options for where they spend their money.

So if you want to keep your customers, you’ll need to attract more of them and keep them engaged. And this is where content comes in.

If you want to attract customers, you need to create content they want to read, watch or listen to.

If you want to keep your customers, you need to give them more of what they want.

And if you want to grow your business, you need to give your customers even more.

This is the essence of content marketing.

Think of your business like a tree. The more fruit you have, the more birds will come. But when you have no fruit at all, the birds will go somewhere else.

This is why you need to think of content as a constant, never-ending process. It’s not a one-off project you complete and then forget about.

The content you create today has to be able to stand the test of time, so you can continue to attract new customers while keeping your existing ones.

3. To make more money for your business

Nobody goes into business to make less money.

So why do so many businesses use content marketing ineffectively?

The reason is simple: because they don’t know what they’re doing.

They don’t know what content to create. They don’t know how to create it. They don’t know how to distribute it. And they don’t know how to measure its success.

If you want to make more money via your content, you need to create better content. And you need to measure its effectiveness.

If you know what you want to achieve, you can create content that helps you meet those goals.

If you learn to create content that gets better results, you can repeat the process to create more of it, and in doing so increase your profits.

4. To reduce your advertising costs

Have you ever wondered how much you could save if you didn’t have to advertise at all?

Think about it: if you could generate all the leads you need without having to advertise, you wouldn’t have to spend money on Google AdWords, Facebook Ads or any other form of advertising.

You could reduce your advertising spend by 90%, or even more.

This is the power of content marketing. It allows you to reach your customers directly, so you can persuade them to buy.

And if you can persuade them to buy, you won’t have to pay for advertising.

5. To free yourself from your competitors

Most people see content marketing as a way to beat their competitors.

But it’s really about doing what’s best for your business.

You’re not necessarily trying to beat your competitors. You’re trying to do what works best for your business.

If your competitors are doing content marketing, you probably should be, too.

But if they aren’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. It just means it’s not right for your business at this stage.

So if you start using content marketing effectively, you may find your competitors start to copy you. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If they copy your content, you can focus on making it even better. And you can try to get ahead by developing even more effective and targeted content.

And if you’re content marketing well, and they aren’t then your business will grow more quickly.

6. To build a strong emotional connection with your customers

Most of us buy from people we know, like and trust.

If you want your customers to buy from you, you need to build a strong emotional connection with them.

Creating emotional connections is the secret to successful business relationships, and the secret to stronger emotional connections is building trust.

Content marketing is a great way to build trust.

If you do it right, you can build trust in your brand, and trust in your products. And if you can build that trust, your customers will keep coming back and they’ll tell their friends.

7. To free you from your own business

Creating great content is a process of constant improvement.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, your content will be mediocre. If you focus on improving your content, perhaps using an AI assistant such as SimpleMarketing.AI to generate your base content quickly, you can create better and better content over time.

And if you’re able to take that process and either hand it over to a staff member or automate it (at least to some degree), you win back time in your day to spend on things you really enjoy.

So as you improve your content marketing, look for opportunities to teach what you have learnt and systemise the approach, so you can work as an owner, not as an employee, freeing yourself from your business.

How to set goals for your content

There are many ways to set goals for your content, but they all come down to three simple principles:

1. Make your goals specific

2. Make your goals measurable

3. Make your goals achievable

These principles apply to all types of goals. But they’re particularly important when it comes to setting goals for your content.

1. Make your goals specific

A specific goal is one that you can clearly define and describe.

It’s impossible to achieve a goal that you can’t describe. And if you can’t describe it, you can’t measure it. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t tell if you’ve achieved it.

Therefore, your goal needs to be specific enough for you to measure its success.

For content this means being clear on when, where and how much you will be posting, and what outcomes you expect from your posts. For example, you might commit to publishing four Facebook posts a week, two via your page and two into large groups which host many of your prospective customers. Then the outcomes you may specify would be that you attract at least 200 views and 20 shares of your Facebook page posts and 4,000 views 500 shares and 100 comments on your group posts.

Or you might look at your goals in terms of other actions – a click to your site, a download of your lead magnet, or even a sale. But whatever the metric you choose, it has to be measureable.

2. Make your goals measurable

If you want to measure the success of your goals, you need to be able to measure them.

Setting goals that can’t be measured is a pointless exercise. And if you can’t measure your goals, you can’t tell if you’re achieving them. As above, ensure that your goals are both specific and easily measurable. This means linking your measurement to real and achievable actions that could be taken by people seeing your content. For example, measuring a post by the number of customers coming to your physical store is probably (but not always) unrealistic. For someone to read a post and then go to a store is a large step and generally they are being influenced by other marketing you have happening as well. Whereas having someone click through to your online store is far more direct and reasonable to measure.

3. Make your goals achievable

If you don’t achieve your goals, they’re no good.

Setting goals that you can’t achieve is pointless. And if you can’t achieve your goals, you’re never going to achieve anything by setting them.

So make sure your goals are realistic. If you have a small following on your LinkedIn, don’t set goals for millions of views. Start smaller and aim to make your goals more and more ambitious as your business grows. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t push the envelop and strive to keep improving. You definitely should. But setting goals so large and hairy as to be unachievable will only demotivate your team and you and will not meaningfully move your business forward.

The SimpleMarketing.AI Content Engine generated this post (with a little human editing). To learn how you can reduce your own Content Marketing burden with AI assistance, visit SimpleMarketing.AI