There are two different categories of goals within content marketing; hard or soft. The first are known as measurable objectives on the road to achieving your overall aim. They could include things like generating leads or increasing revenue. Typically recording progress towards achieving each goal is relatively easy.
Soft goals are very different and are generally much harder to measure because there are no concrete figures to look at. Things like educating the audience, entertaining them, or providing solutions to a problem can all be more difficult to monitor. They are just as important as hard goals though, and need to be treated with the same care.
Before you start out with content marketing you should have soft and hard objectives in mind. These bring focus and help to ensure your business is heading in the right direction. You need to look back to them periodically, making adjustments and introducing new ones as and when necessary.
After setting the goals you need to know how you will measure them. With hard goals like increasing revenue you can check the figures when you start and after you release content to see the changes. This can tell you how successful you have been. You can do the same with everything from reducing the bounce rate to generating leads.
With soft goals you may need to look at things like customer satisfaction and the number of mentions you get on social media networks to monitor performance. As already mentioned it is more challenging to monitor how well you perform so it can be much harder to see how close you are to achieving the goal. You need to persist though and should never underestimate the value of data.
One question that is commonly asked is whether hard or soft goals are more important. As you will no doubt have worked out they are equally important and carry equal weight. A hard goal gives the organisation something to work towards and aligns everybody in trying to achieve it. A soft goal is focused on understanding the needs, wants, and attitudes of clients. Achieving these goals can help you to accomplish all of your others.
The most important thing to remember with content marketing is that everything you publish has value. This is true whether it is a social media post, an article about a new product, or a press release. You should have your goals in mind before you start publishing anything to make sure you get the tone right and are heading in the right direction.
A great tip when it comes to content marketing goals is to give enough time in the pursuit of them. If you keep changing them too frequently it can cause confusion in the organisation and a lot of wasted effort. Remember many of the things you do, particularly in pursuit of soft goals, can take time to come to fruition.