When you want to develop a successful content campaign, you must have a plan. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs–are vital to planning and deploying a successful content. Before you write a word or record a video, take a step back and decide what metrics to track and make sure you know the answers to the questions below.
Question #1: What Are Your Goals for This Content?
When planning content, it is crucial to know the purpose of a particular piece. Confusion sets in when a piece is lumped into broad categories, such as “branding”, but its specific function is less clear. Is it branding a particular widget? The company at large? Both?
To solve this problem every piece of content needs specific, measurable goals.
For example: Let’s imagine that you want to develop a branding campaign with the following components:
- (10) search engine optimized blog posts related to a specific keyword
- (20) Instagram photos relating to your keyword
- (3) downloadable guides
- (2) explanatory videos
- (1) infographic
At first the KPIs are straightforward: have you and your team delivered all the components?
Yet, this measurement is worthless if a strong, central idea is not evident throughout. The worst “branding campaigns” fall flat because the focus is on appearance, not purpose. Moreover, many small businesses try to mimic the branding approach of competitors with larger resources and totally different goals.
A more useful question to ask first is: what will this content make people feel or do?
Too many business owners create content in a vacuum. Assigning blog posts to one person and Instagram posts to another only works if the larger strategy is agreed upon from the start. The larger the team, the more the members must collaborate.
What about the goals assigned to each piece of content? Every medium has intrinsically different goals. For example, you might set goals on the number of social media shares for each blog post or infographic (a social action). You might set different goals to count the number of downloads on guide or ebook (a customer acquisition action, with different expectations along the customer journey). Which KPIs are most important will depend on your larger strategy.
Also, you must reevaluate the campaign. Did it perform as anticipated? Should you evaluate your core positioning or rethink your target audience? Return to your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis regularly.
Question #2: What Are Your Visitor’s Goals?
There are two kinds of “visitor goals.” You must ask the right questions to master both.
The first (and most important) “visitor goal” is: what do your visitors want?
Content developed for inbound traffic needs to match specific visitor goals.
If the goal is “more information,” don’t muddle the focus. Give the visitor exactly what s/he is seeking. Don’t assume the visitor wants more. Instead, make it easy for them to discover more, should they want.
An example would be a landing page.
- What does my visitor want? (Narrow the focus on the page to that particular desire.)
- How do they want it? (In what format?)
- What does my visitor need? (Does this need reflect other potential or likely needs?)
The second “visitor goal” is: what do you want your visitors to do?
Let’s return to our branding campaign example. How would you like to guide your visitor through the material? Do they move from blog post (awareness) to landing page (decision) to download (action)? How can you nudge them along the path? How will you overtly direct them?
One common mistake is not giving clear direction on next steps. Decide on your preferred pathway. Craft your content so that there is only one next action at a time. People prefer to think they are taking action by virtue of their decision. Make it easy for them to make a decision.
Question #3: Where Should You Focus Your Efforts?
Successful content campaigns do not necessarily need a long list of content. Investment in one or two quality pieces of content can outperform a broader campaign.
Instead, create focused content united by a single purpose. Where do the needs of your audience, and the goals for your campaign, overlap? Focus time and attention here.
Plan your content campaign with these variables in mind:
- Human resources: who will do the work
- Time resources: when it must be delivered
- Fiscal resources: what fits into your budget
Answer these three questions in depth:
- What are the specific goals for your campaign? A clear statement wins.
- What does your audience want? Give them that, but drill down and make sure you understand what they need, too.
- What parts of your content plan overlap #1 and #2?
Consider your constraints as creative gifts and get started with revising your content strategy and then get to work on it. Quality content is currency online.
About the author:
Katie McCaskey is Content Director of OpenWater, a grant management software platform. Learn to establish and grow a grantmaking program by downloading the free resources at OpenWater.