The average Harvard MBA graduate earns a starting salary of $115K with a $20K signing bonus. But some Harvard graduates end up being much more successful than others ten years later. 3% of these MBAs make ten times more than the other 97% combined. Why is that?
The simple answer is that the 3% had clear, written goals and action plans to accomplish them. The other 97%? They either had goals but did not document them, or simply did not have any goals at all.
Writing down your goals is the first step to making them a reality. The second step is writing down your reasons for accomplishing these goals. Reasons are the fuel that motivates you to accomplish your goals.
Setting and documenting your goals can go a long way when it comes to achieving success in your life and career, but did you know goal-setting also applies to your content marketing success?
Why You Need a Content Marketing Mission Statement
According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 48% of the most effective B2B content marketers have a documented editorial mission statement.
A mission statement explains why your company exists in the first place, and the purpose behind the products or services you provide. Your mission statement is the reason behind the content you create. This is your goal for the content marketing you do.
While you should have clear marketing objectives behind your mission statement, those should not be included here. Your mission statement should be about the pain points and challenges your customers are facing, and how you aim to help and provide value adds to them through the content you deliver.
Let’s take a look at an example from one of the leading content marketing brands Red Bull. The mission statement for The Red Bulletin is:
The Red Bulletin features breathtaking stories out of the World of Red Bull and its Playgrounds. Delivering the unexpected, the magazine honors those who don’t play by the rules, who push the limits, have a lust for life, swim against the current, who have a passion for adventure and are not afraid to walk courageous new paths. The Red Bulletin is globally available as print magazine, e-Paper, App and online.
The Red Bulletin’s mission statement includes:
- The target audience: consumers who are adventurous, trendsetting, unique, and “beyond the ordinary.”
- What will be delivered to the audience: new and inspiring stories, ideas, and approaches to every aspect of life, everything from sports to music, entertainment, travel and technology.
- The outcome for the audience: Define, find and lead your own extraordinary path.
The mission statement doesn’t say anything about what Red Bull sells (its magazine subscription or energy drinks), but what it stands for. That’s what makes The Red Bulletin’s mission statement so effective. Its goal is not to sell first, but to provide valuable information that helps readers transform and live the unique lifestyle they want.
A documented mission statement gives content marketers a clear focus on what content their target audience wants and is interested in. For The Red Bulletin, if a story idea doesn’t fit their criteria, it’s obviously a nonstarter for the content marketing team.
Now that you have your content marketing mission statement written down, how do you go about defining and achieving the marketing objectives behind your mission?
How To Define And Document SMART Goals
The SMART goal setting technique is a common strategy recommended by career advisors and life coaches. It’s an effective way to set goals that you can successfully accomplish. SMART stands for:
- Specific: your goals should be clear, simple and concise
- Measurable: what action plans and indicators will you use to measure your progress and success?
- Achievable: are your goals realistic and attainable?
- Relevant: does your goal match the needs and ambitions of your organization?
- Time-bound: what’s your timeline, milestones and completion dates?
In career or life coaching sessions, individuals are often asked to think about what they want to achieve from their career or in life, then from there set SMART goals and an action plan that will help them get there. These goals are incremental – you start with short-term goals that bring you closer to your vision. Your goals should stretch you, but not so extreme that they become out of reach based on the timeframe you’ve given yourself.
Similarly, you can apply the same strategy to define your content marketing objectives and build out your content strategy and plan. Using the SMART goal setting approach, here are some questions you should be asking yourself when setting your content marketing goals:
- Specific: what goals do you want to accomplish with your content marketing? Is it brand awareness, lead generation, sales, engagement, or customer retention/loyalty? The content you create should always support at least one of your objectives. If it doesn’t, it’s very likely that this content is not a top priority for you.
- Measurable: what KPIs will you use to measure your progress and success? Will these metrics give you meaningful insights into how your content marketing efforts are performing and contributing to the company’s bottom line?
- Achievable: how can your goals be accomplished? How realistic are the goals based on your constraints (budget, time, resources, etc.)?
- Relevant: what key challenges will your content marketing plan help solve for the business? Will it make any impact on those business metrics that are key to your company’s success and growth?
- Time-bound: what can your company start doing today and in the short term? What will you do x weeks or x months from now?
Setting up SMART goals will keep you focused on delivering compelling content and real value to your audience that actually converts.
Ready to develop your content marketing plan? Here are 8 steps to help you get started with building a successful content strategy.