Most financial firms with a successful online presence that drives lead generation tend to have one thing in common: they have a well-planned and operational content marketing strategy in place.
Even if your firm may already be reaping the benefits of posting content on a regular basis… does your content marketing strategy revolve around an actual goal?
Central to the planning of any content marketing strategy is a SMART goal. Without stated objectives and a documented goal in place, a content marketing plan is like a ship adrift at sea without an intended destination. In this article, we cover core components of a content marketing strategy SMART goal.
A SMART goal is a mnemonic anacronym for a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Let’s have a closer look at what makes up a SMART goal:
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. For example, a general goal would be, “Establish our firm as a thought leader” But a specific goal would be, “Contribute 6 trending futures market commentary pieces covering gold and oil markets to major industry publications in Q1: submit two articles for publication in Modern Trader in January, submit two articles for publication in Seeking Alpha in February, and submit two articles for publication in Inside Futures in March.”
To help identify a specific (read: strategic) content strategy goal, answer the following questions:
Who is involved in the writing and distribution of my content?
What do I want to accomplish with my content?
Where will the content be displayed online.
Establish a time frame for your content strategy.
Note requirements / constraints: For example, will your content require NFA approval?
Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set for your content marketing strategy. When you measure progress, you tend to stay the course to reach your target dates. A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard.
Answer the question: How Much or How Many?
Attach concrete numbers to your goals. For example, if you are seeking to gain 175 leads per month from a content marketing campaign revolving around Bitcoin futures, document this goal number and have a means to measure the results monthly.
For a business with a marketing/sales department it is helpful to leverage the existing marketing tools such as those found in a CRM. Many CRMs (like Salesforce, HubSpot or Infusionsoft) have a feature where you can set up specific campaigns and measure their effectiveness across different channels. These platforms allow you to run reports based on the channels you choose to promote your content.
To be successful, your content marketing strategy goal should be realistic and attainable, while still challenging
An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
For example, you may need to explore whether you will have access to the resources you need to develop your content, articles, and blog posts around specialized topics. If not, can you afford to hire a third-party writer? Do you have the time to manage the overall content marketing strategy or do you require the help from an outside agency?
While a goal should matter to you, the goal of your content marketing strategy should also be relevant to your audience. It should inform, educate, or enhance their experience with your firm or company. Affirm that your content marketing strategy goal is relevant by answering these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does the messaging of the content strategy match our other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to reach this goal?
- Is it applicable in the current financial market environment?
Every goal needs a frame of time and a deadline to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
A time-based goal will usually answer these questions:
- When will the content be launched?
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
For example, will your goal allow for a series of similar content campaigns that can follow later in the year? Is your content marketing strategy goal leading up to an industry event or conference that is 6-months away? What assets can you organize and prepare today that can be used (either once or reused) within the window of your content campaign?
Without setting goals and objectives, a content marketing strategy becomes less of a strategy and more of a chaotic, disorganized series of actions. By following the steps above to build out a SMART goal, you’ll be establishing a core around which your content strategy can revolve – and a pathway to success!