In content marketing, put purpose first

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In a world where the average person is exposed to thousands of messages every day, brands need to be more judicious about the content they create.

Sophie Bennett

As marketing and communication teams return to the office after their holiday breaks, many will be drafting new editorial calendars and fresh content strategies with the aim of achieving their yearly, quarterly and monthly marketing and business goals. In most, if not all, marketing and communication departments, this will focus on creating more content.

In 2018, let’s focus on creating content that actually achieves business goals, and start measuring KPIs that are truly contributing to overall marketing or communications strategies.

Whether it’s editorial, video, or visual content, the always-on digital world means that companies are churning out vast amounts of content to keep their owned, earned and paid channels delivering new information, insights and calls to action.

Many marketers mistakenly believe that they need more content to help them achieve their goals. Instead, a well-planned strategy that is brought to life in considered content that targets specific audiences is what will truly achieve your marketing and business goals.

So as you sit down to your desk and start the year, I urge you to keep your approach to content marketing simple and really focus on your company’s broader goals.

Here are six key questions for you and your teams to ask when planning your content for your next campaign, company blog and beyond.

1. What is your business trying to achieve and why?

Always first ask what role content plays in supporting your marketing goals? Then ensure your content is working hard by first defining the scope of each project. This should happen before you start working on an editorial calendar and producing assets.

2. Who is your audience?

Get granular – trying to reach anyone and everyone will leave you reaching no one. Research where your audience hangs out and what kind of content they prefer to consume? Then map out what content will be most useful to them

3. How does the content plan and each specific asset help move your customer along their journey with your brand? How will it result in your business objective being achieved?

The more specific you can be, the more you can create content that is valuable to your audience and their specific needs.

4. Is this format, platform, or piece of technology really necessary?

There are so many digital channels, tools and platforms – rather than jumping from one to another – take a step back and ask, “Does this format, platform or tech work for what we are trying to achieve? Is it suitable for our audience? Is it really necessary?" If it neither serves your audience nor helps drive value to your bottom line, it’s best to admire it from afar. It will also help you keep your budget on track.

5. What are we going to talk about?

When it comes to finding the right topic, always come back to why do you want to create content. Who is the audience that will consume it and find it useful? What information do they need and how can it be delivered so that it adds value to their lives? Look at what your competitors are talking about and ask how you can add to the conversation with a new perspective or how you can share an insight that others haven’t previously?

6. How do you know your content did the job?

Measuring the success of your content can be done much more effectively if you first work out the expectations of each asset or each content campaign. Ask how you will track its effectiveness and prove its value.

Create KPIs with clear goals, rather than just vanity metrics. It’s great if it was shared or liked several hundred times on social media but did it convert or increase leads? Is it working for you the way you need it to?

If you want to increase your content budgets in 2018 and beyond, make sure you are first able to prove that your existing approach is doing its job well. While all content should inspire, inform, convince or convert, ultimately if it’s not driving your business forward, it’s not working.

Here’s to a successful year of your content driving value for your audience while achieving broader business objectives for your brand.

If you'd like advice on how to get started, or a review of your current content marketing activity, you can email me at