When you are working on your content marketing campaigns, it’s up to you to decide if you are going to focus on short term, long term, or a mixture of both of these individual goals. Your own strategy, when encompassing these goals, will be more succinct and will enable you to visualise where you are heading, as well as observe if actual progress is being made.
With this in mind, let’s look at these goal variations in greater detail.
Defining Your Goals
When we break it down, Content Marketing goals can essentially be split into two categories – short term and long term.
As an example, some of the most common goals for site owners include:
- Improve visibility in the search engines
- Drive customer conversions
- Improve brand perception
- Increase website traffic
- Encourage engagement
- Increase rankings
- Dominant page one in the SERPS
Before we look at these in greater detail, at this stage remember that you should avoid sticking to one particular goal.
A mixture of both short and longterm goals will make your campaigns more varied and dynamic and allow you to successfully work towards the bigger picture.
Your goals are essential – without them your strategy won’t be effective if you have no real way of being able to quantify progress. Therefore, think carefully about what it is that your business really wants to gain from Content Marketing.
The Difference Between Short and Long Term
The first main difference between these two goal categories comes down to the time it takes to achieve them.
Short term goals can be completed within days or weeks, whilst long term goals can take several months or even several years to achieve properly to the desired standard.
Regardless of this, both of these variations play an important role in shaping and defining the success of your online marketing campaigns.
The second major difference is that short term goals will usually support, enhance and assist long term goals. For example, a series of short term goals can be completed in the ongoing process of reaching your most predominant aims.
So, with a brief introduction on why you need to define your goals and the difference between the two types, let’s look at how you can achieve some of them.
Short Term Goals
As mentioned, these are instant or quicker gains that will feed into your wider strategy. Some of these include:
Creating quality content as part of an acute strategy has the potential to drive traffic to your site. Another good way to encourage traffic is to promote your content once it’s live using a range of owned, earned and paid methods.
Whilst generating high volumes of traffic is one thing, in most cases it’s likely that this individual goal will facilitate another one of your short or long term goals. For example, paid promotion will facilitate short term traffic, but also has the potential to drive long-term traffic depending on how effective the content and subsequent promotion has been.
With content acting as the catalyst for people landing on your site pages, you will now be in a position where you can encourage customers and prospects to actually convert.
Website copy, product descriptions, guides and tutorials will help if you are looking to drive sales. Stronger calls-to-action will also help in addition to building subscribers and newsletter sign-ups too.
However, in order to obtain a higher number of conversions, a more sustainable plan of action will be needed.
Sharing content via Social Media can encourage a higher rate of engagement in the form of likes, retweets, shares and comments.
This process is fairly simple to achieve, however you need to make sure that you have a large enough community to engage with on social first. If you don’t, then spend time building and maintaining your profiles to encourage your audience to interact with your content.
This is a great example of how one short term goal can feed into your wider strategy as it will take time to build a decent and loyal following online.
Long Term Goals
In contrast to short term goals, here are some of the common long term goals which can take you more time to acquire.
Building a loyal fan base isn’t something which can be achieved overnight. The reason for this is because it takes time to nurture your customers and for them to get to a stage where they consistently buy into your products or services with confidence.
A good starting point is to focus on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn) and make sure that representatives from your company are on the front line dealing with enquiries and communicating with prospects. Content can help to facilitate this process.
Communication is key when it comes to building a community – without this your customers won’t feel as though they have built a relationship with your brand.
Compare The Market are a great example of a company who continue to build and sustain a community of followers. One of the reasons for this is because they use meerkats as campaign mascots, alongside a host of in-depth content, which constantly creates a buzz within their sector. Their Facebook profile is a testament to their success, which currently has over 849,000 likes.
For more inspiration on powerful campaigns within this industry, please see Cat Fyson’s post – 4 Epic Content Marketing Campaigns For The Financial Sector.
Earning links is another long term goal which can be facilitated by a series of short term goals. Ideas, strategy, creation and promotion are all important when it comes to Content Marketing to acquire links.
It’s no good creating something and waiting for your audience to arrive on your pages. In reality, you need to spend time reaching out to your audience and influencers (which dove-tails into community building). This will facilitate the promotion process and help to acquire links naturally.
Promotion should be an integral part of a sustainable content strategy and if you put in the effort, the results will pay dividends.
This is another goal that will take longer to complete. As your brand grows and your site gains higher volumes of traffic and engagement, you’ll start to naturally pick up exposure in more relevant, targeted, and established places.
Again this isn’t going to be achieved in the short term and in some cases it can take years as opposed to months. However, once you get to a certain level, the knock on effect can cause an improvement in other areas, including:
- Positive PR
- Link acquisition
Before you carry out your campaigns, make sure you define what your content goals are.
A long term strategy is the best way to see real value from your online marketing efforts, but it’s equally important to incorporate short term goals and remember that achieving them can take time.
Be realistic in your approach and use content to your advantage to build your audience, drive traffic and conversions, and to generate links and exposure.
Goals thumbnail image from Bigstock.
Traffic image from Bigstock.
Engagement image from Bigstock.
Awareness image from Bigstock.