This time of year, there's so much talk about New Year's resolutions--how to make them, how to approach them, how to achieve them. There are a lot of do's and don'ts when it comes to goal setting, and it recently occurred to me that nailing New Year's resolutions is not unlike putting a content strategy together for your business.
I can't believe I hadn't connected the dots about this in years past; the similarities are so glaringly obvious to me now. Goal-setting is a fine art, whether you're doing it for yourself or a business. Having a plan in place for how to tackle something that seems overwhelming and hard--like, losing weight or finding a smarter way to market your business--is the primary differentiator between being successful and being a failure.
Marketing, like so much in life as well, requires trial and error and adjustments. And with a plan in place, even the failures are lessons learned on the route to achieving success.
1: Think Strategically
Just like resolutions, working on content for your business is meaningless if you are not thinking more deeply about why you want to spend time and energy on it. If you don't have a strong attachment to the goal, or if you're using vanity metrics (such as likes and account follows) it's much easier to abandon or led astray.
This is to say that it’s not enough to simply have goals; you have to be strategic and specific about how you plan on achieving those goals. You also need to choose the right metrics to measure all of your efforts against, which is why I discourage my clients from listing vanity metrics as part of their content strategy. Just like an arbitrary number on a scale won't really help you move towards a weight loss goal the same way that a desire to feel stronger or better in your body will move the needle for you, likes and follows on an Instagram account won't necessarily help you grow your business at all. You need to focus on metrics that tie back to direct business growth, which means engaged prospects who convert to customers.
What would a goal with solid metrics look like? Growing your email list, increasing your monthly leads by a specific percentage, and improving your conversion rates. By monitoring the metrics that matter, you can make smarter decisions about where to invest your content marketing time and resources in 2024.
2: Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is always an essential part of any strategic game plan. In the case of resolutions it’s an audience of one, but you still have to know yourself well enough to set goals and markers for yourself to be successful. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for failure.
It's the same thing with a content strategy. You have to have a clear picture of who you are talking to in your content marketing efforts and adjust your messaging accordingly. Of course, it seems a whole lot easier to do this for yourself since you know what makes you tick (for the most part). It can be a lot harder to do for a faceless audience you're trying to target.
The way around that challenge is to focus on building out psychographic profiles for your target audience segments. This approach is focused on thinking about the psychological, emotional, and spiritual motivations, challenges, and fears that your ideal customers or clients all share. It's much easier to craft the right messaging when you understand what they need to hear from you. And a personalized approach to content marketing will often yield better results in terms of your success metrics.
3: Feel More Confident with a Plan
Confidence is a big part of achieving goals. If you're not feeling good about the plan, you're going to veer off course. It's really all about the small steps you plan to take in order to reach your (marketing & life) goals, otherwise you'll find reasons to procrastinate.
When I first start working with new clients on a content strategy, I tell them that confidence will be one of the biggest takeaways from the experience. Few of them actually believe me when I say this, but by the end of the process, they are not only confident, they're downright energized (jazzed!) about getting to work on their marketing. That's nothing short of remarkable when you consider that almost all of them come to me in the first place because they're convinced they hate marketing their business.
Having a plan or a roadmap for how to achieve scary goals automatically makes you feel more confident about your content. It's the equivalent of driving somewhere for the first time and using Waze vs. winging it. You're much more likely to get lost without directions.
4: Be Consistent in Your Approach
Whether creating new habits or good marketing content for your business, consistency is an important part of the success equation. Without consistency, you’ll never improve. And consistency doesn't mean you'll never slip up and fall back on old habits or procrastinate; it means you're willing to keep trying to do it even when you fail.
When it comes to a content strategy for your business, consistency means learning how to prioritize your marketing efforts, improving your communication skills, and collecting data--which is integral to making better choices about what to create. By being consistent in not only creating the content but also in reviewing the data behind each of your content marketing efforts, you will gain valuable insights around how to improve your marketing. This is what I mean when I say that so much of marketing is trial and error, but as long as you keep failing forward, you'll always come out on top.
Updating Your Content Strategy
Whether you are implementing a content strategy for the first time or making tweaks to an existing one, this is a great time of year to put a content marketing roadmap together. Much like setting resolutions, a good content strategy will help you start the year off on the right foot.
But sometimes you need a little extra push to help you push through obstacles that get in your way when achieving big goals. If you're feeling stuck thinking about your content strategy for 2024 (and beyond!) contact me to set up a free discovery call.