Content marketing goals matter a lot to solopreneurs who want to grow business as fast as possible. A business-minded solopreneur needs to make every second of time, every cent of money and every word written work harder, to get bigger sales and profits. Be extra-cautious of your words and purpose. Wasted words are worthless content.
The goals you set for your content must dovetail from your overall business goals. Content Marketing Basics dictate that you must first, therefore, know what your business goals are. Thereafter, diligence at the blog post level yields commensurate results in overall business.
There are four angles from which you can set 16 different goals for each piece of content created. Not all of these have to be present as the context behind every piece of content, but the more of these goals you are conscious of when writing your content, the more powerfully your content – and business – will perform.
Prospects Attraction Goals
In terms of relative priority, among the first set of content marketing goals you should worry about, with any piece of content you write, are prospect-attraction goals.
Your every piece of content should have the ability to attract, empathise and resonate with a steady stream of new prospects. They should want to become aware of your site (and yourself as its owner). They should want to visit you to read a bit more than just a headline and a description on a SERP.
1. Attract New Prospects
No matter how many your existing customers are, you always need a steady stream of new prospects to keep your business healthy. For this, you need magnetic, interesting, valuable and varied content.
Most important of all these days, you need mobile-friendly content, as more people come to you via their mobiles.
Brandon Moore explains why mobile-responsive content stands high in prospect-attraction-power in his article “6 Must-Know Ways To Attract New Prospects To Your Website”:
Half of all website traffic will come from mobile devices. But if your website isn’t mobile friendly, search engines won’t display your links to these mobile searchers.
That’s because websites that aren’t mobile friendly won’t display well on smaller screens—the links might be hard to click, the photos might be distorted, full pages won’t show up on the screen, and text might be too small to read. This, in turn, leads to a poorer user experience—which search engines don’t want to offer.”
To attract prospects with your content, follow the way your prospects prefer to read content. Go with the grain. Be where people are, in the format that people want!
2. Explore Prospects’ Pain
When you show that you understand your prospects’ problems, you show that you understand how to help them — and then you have the core of your marketing message.
It doesn’t take elaborate audience research to dig out customer pain-points. Basic commonsense can be a good starting point.
Dan Shewan in his article “Pain Points: A Guide to Finding & Solving Your Customers’ Problems”, classifies most pains people have into four simple categories:
Financial Pain Points: Your prospects are spending too much money on their current provider/solution/products and want to reduce their spend.
Productivity Pain Points: Your prospects are wasting too much time using their current provider/solution/products or want to use their time more efficiently.
Process Pain Points: Your prospects want to improve internal processes, such as assigning leads to sales reps or nurturing lower-priority leads.
Support Pain Points: Your prospects aren’t receiving the support they need at critical stages of the customer journey or sales process.”
You too are a prospect for another marketer. What pains do you have that you look to solve by reading good content? How do you choose such content to read? Watch your own actions to see how people behave!
3. Overcome Prospects’ Wariness
Not all pains make people aware of them – or even comfortable about them. Many people know they have some vague distress but are often clueless – or perhaps reluctant – to actually articulate their pains or fears. It helps a lot when your content can start by asking them what their pain or difficulty is, and to give them some leading choices.
When you begin your content asking: “Does this pain you?” … or “Is this your most troublesome problem?” … or “Which of these is your main crib?” … people tend to feel you have tuned into their wavelength, and they are tempted to read on.
Read this one piece of advice about asking questions that Carolyn Cohn writes about in her article “Asking the Right Questions for Audience Engagement”:
The best questions don’t have a right or wrong answer but they cause the person being asked the question to think. The question stimulates brains.
It is also important to remember never to direct your question to a person. It should be about the topic, always. The last thing that you want to do is to make the person who is attempting to answer the question feel self-conscious.”
Remember: asking questions (even if it’s via content you publish, where you won’t hear the answers) is something that warms people up to you. People like to find a listening ear. When they feel they’ve got your attention, they give you theirs!
4. Build Prospects’ Trust
Trust doesn’t always grow at the first interaction, or only if people have first-hand experience in dealing with you or your content. When you are new to somebody, or they are coming across your content for the first time, they look around for “vicarious proof” that you are trustworthy at least to “go with for now”.
A chance testimonial you mention, a strong name you drop that makes sense to them, quotes from strong voices in the industry, or a case study you refer to in explanation of your knowledge … this kind of content helps. It settles down any anxieties, and makes people read on with a sigh of initial satisfaction, that they can relate to someone or something you have mentioned.
Neil Patel writes in his blog article “How to Inspire Your First Time Blog Visitors to Trust You”:
Make “building trust” one of your primary goals this year for your blog site. Everything matters, when building your blog site readers’ trust.
Things you might discount or overlook, such as a site security seal, or even a privacy shield actually help established a welcome trust.”
Did you know that more people now trust the opinions of others than their own? That’s why “social proof” works in content marketing so powerfully. People have learnt to lean on the opinions of peers and influencers as their most trusted “impartial” sources of information.
Prospect Satisfaction Goals
Once you’ve given prospects enough attraction, confidence and trust to start reading your content with more absorption, you need to really provide them the informational quality, depth and value they could be looking for.
There are four aspects to delivering content value. See if your content can offer these:
5. Educate The Prospect
Does your piece of content have something the prospect can get educated on – something that he is not able to get from other pieces of similar content?
Or, even if he could get the same educational content elsewhere, have you made self-education easy and interesting for him?
Josh Ritchie in the article “5 Ways To Educate Your Customers Through Content” suggests a beautiful way you can educate your readers through your content:
Let them learn from your mistakes. In addition to wanting help from people who understand their problems, your customers want to know that you have personally overcome their struggles (or personally know how to solve them).
Customers respect industry leaders who can speak authoritatively on the issues they face. Yes, “thought leadership” is a term that gets tossed around a lot, and so it has been cheapened, but the original idea behind it is to showcase your experience, share the lessons you’ve learned, and prove that you know your stuff.”
You don’t have to be a walking encyclopedia to be taken as an expert. We all learn something every day. Being able to share our own learning and insights is enough to educate someone else. Do it regularly, in your niche, and you grow into that “thought leader”.
6. Inform The Prospect
Informational content can be a huge advantage to your business if you know just how much it is consumed online. During all the stages in the consumers’ buying cycle, information gathering is one of the most important activities that people do.
If your content is not adequately informational, and does not satisfy the topic depth and breadth your audience is looking for, the audience will gravitate to your competitor’s site.
Jenny Halasz in the article “The Informational Content Advantage” explains the huge demand for informational content:
You may have heard that content is king, but the truth is that informational content is king. It’s estimated that approximately 50-80% of search queries are informational in nature.
Most websites have very little informational content on them, preferring instead to focus on driving a conversion. These websites are missing an excellent opportunity to capture search market share.”
To know what kind of informational content people are looking for you can check Q & A sites like Quora of LinkedIn or Facebook Groups. You can also check your own browsing history when you bought something online, to see what information you were looking for!
7. Entertain The Prospect
People are people. They cannot read more than a certain portion of serious stuff without looking for some distraction. That’s why content needs to have an element of entertainment in it.
Besides, with so much content out there saying it all, it’s how refreshing you can be that makes your content readable, right?
Pia Silva in her article “How To Make Your Information Entertaining” says you just have to be you, to put your own unique spin on your content:
It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference. Other people have said it, you need to say it in your own captivating, riveting, entertaining way.
Your spin on a subject is how you turn information into infotainment. Making ideas both informative and entertaining enough to want to read/watch/listen to more is how you cut through the clutter of crap content and create something new that’s worth reading.”
the one thing to beware of is “trying too hard to be entertaining”. When you push yourself too much to be entertaining at the cost of genuineness and authenticity, the whole content and its purpose get messed up. Being naturally entertaining, and trying to be entertaining, are two different things!
8. Inspire The Prospect
Some people believe that motivational content can be just a series of a series of quotes from famous individuals, scattered into your blog post. But it’s really not as simple as as that. Including genuinely motivational content shows your customers how easy it is for them to make their lives better by buying into your ideas and your brand.
Always try to ensure make sure your content can be seen as prospects as something that can improve their lives substantially, because if there isn’t that value, then what would keep people coming back to you for more?
Kayleigh Alexandra in the article “3 Examples Of Motivational Content & How It Can Inspire Yours” writes on how to create inspirational content:
If you want to be a successful business it’s not enough to make your customers believe in your brand; to get them to buy your products they also need to believe in themselves.
Motivational content isn’t just about making people feel better about themselves, it’s about showing how your brand, your message, and your goods/services can make them feel better about themselves.”
In the end, as the experts say, however analytically strong your content is, its the emotional quotient that scores with readers. If the piece makes them feel good, they’ll want to repeat the experience. If the piece leaves them unmoved, they will not give it a look-see again. The content must make them feel changed for the better in some way.
Brand Building Goals
Content can surely help mark a business out as something unique, but many businesses fail to understand the power of branding, while they’re writing content. They see branding as additional to content (as in a logo or tagline) but don’t really see their writing as the “voice of their brand”.
What marketers should learn is how to use writing, and content in general, to define and shape their branding. It’s important to remember that you don’t need a huge budget to build a brand via content marketing. It’s more about being “on-brand” all the time, without wavering away from brand messaging consistency.
9. Build Brand Familiarity
What many of us marketers don’t know is a little secret that successful content marketers do! The ultra simple way to build brand familiarity, leading to growing trust of a brand is “educational content”. Yes, that’s right! Why this is so, read on …
Research from Conductor.com show that consumers who read an educational piece of content were 48% more likely to buy on the basis of that content one week later.
Amy Biggart writes in the article “Building Brand Trust Over Time: Lessons From a Web Psychologist” that:
Our recent research into how educational content affects trust, affinity and purchase power, shows that customers who read educational content from a brand felt greater trust toward the brand and were more likely to purchase. The clincher? That brand trust and affinity grew as time passed.
Typically, you’ll find if people trust a brand more, they’ll also be more willing to not only buy, but to spend more. So increased trust causes brand affinity to go up, and in turn those both positively impact purchase behavior.”
What is the reason behind this buying behavior after reading educational content? Experts believe one reason could be a sense of reciprocity. If the content is something that’s valuable and useful, people, it seems, feel like they’d to give something back to the brand that wrote it.
10. Highlight Brand Uniqueness
If you know what your unique product, service, or selling point is, within your niche, that’s where you should start building your branding strategy. Sometimes, even if you’re not sure what your difference is, it may be patent to others as your “distinctive way of writing”.
Check how your successive pieces of content are beginning to sound – if you are authentic, there may be a “difference” inherent in you as the owner of your brand that can rub off on the brand.
Jayson DeMers in his article “The Top 7 Characteristics Of Successful Brands” says being different needn’t become needlessly complicated:
Creating a unique identity within a niche doesn’t demand a revolutionary idea. It simply needs to have one special thing that separates it from the competition.
In reality, it’s possible to be “a one trick pony” as long as that trick is really good. Once a company figures out what that is, it can concentrate on it and should gain recognition in time.”
Inherent in the word “unique” is the concept of “uni” or “one”. By definition, if you are unique, people will associate your uniqueness with the “one thing” your are different in. Avoid trying to be different in many ways.
11. Stamp Brand Authority
What is brand authority? It’s proof that you have superiority, depth and breadth of knowledge in your niche.Most often brand authority is inferred from the way your write with a sense of command over your topic. The moment you start talking about how authoritative a person you are, your authority erodes itself. Really powerful people let their work do the talking.
Amy Aitman in the article “How to Build Brand Authority Online (Not Just In Person)” talks of how to build your brand authority through content in two smart ways, even if you are a beginner content marketer:
If you are trying to gain recognition through others, make sure you choose partners or associates who have firmly established their brand authority. You’ll then be able to work together, and your authority will become clearly recognised by the world of online readers.
Also, when you are confident in your brand, so are your customers. So make it your goal to strengthen your confidence in order to build a brand authority you can be proud of.”
So there you have it – being confident of yourself even if you are small, and therefore keeping big company, are two terrific ways to build your brand authority. The world sees you as you see yourself. Use the world as your mirror.
12. Reinforce Brand Credibility
One simple definition of credibility is “believability”. Is your content piece believable?
If it has to be so, it has to be utterly authentic, without even the faintest smell of artifice, fakeness or doubtful on its veracity.
Joshua Nite in his article “8 Ways to Build Credibility & Trust with Content Marketing” has a beautiful take on how to use brand storytelling to strengthen the credibility of your brand via your content:
If there’s a buzzword more clichéd than transparency or authenticity, it’s storytelling. There are so many “storytellers” in the biz right now that the next marketing conference should be around a campfire.
In this context, though, storytelling means providing proof with a narrative. Use real-world examples of customers you have helped whenever you can. When you can’t, engage your audience’s imagination with the story of how their lives will change with your solution.”
Most brands use their content to say how they do things for customers. But if your story is about why you do what you do, you go from being merely communicative to becoming credible. Something rises from your writing to make you very real.
SEO Success Goals
If you hear the question: “Should we write our content for Google or for people?” remember, the answer nowadays is “Even Google is now an intelligent person!” Even with a lot of effort to get traffic and traction from the social media, every content marketer knows – and aspires – to be able to rank high with Google and ream all that lovely organic traffic that only Google can bring you.
Here are four ways to make sure every piece of content you write has the SEO power to fetch you more targeted organic traffic to build your business on.
13. Build SEO Authority
Google accounts for over 200 factors when it determines your content’s rank on its SERPs. But even if you can’t optimize for all of those ranking factors, you can still optimize for the one most important ranking factors – domain authority.
From Google’s perspective, domain authority is like your website’s reputation as a thought leader From Google’s perspective, domain authority is like your website’s reputation as a thought leader vis-à-vis your competition.
Clifford Chi in the article “What Is Domain Authority and How Can You Improve It?” says that you have to play the long game with domain-authority:
Ultimately, you can’t directly control your website’s domain authority in the short-term.
But if you constantly monitor your link profile’s health, create compelling content, and earn high-quality links, your domain authority will gradually improve, boosting your Google rankings and organic traffic in the long-term.”
DA (or Domain Authority), as is popularly understood, is also a score developed by Moz.com, that hints on the “strength” and relevance of a website for a specific subject area or industry. In other words, it is a score of your “niche expertise”, relative to your competitors.
14. Rank On SERPs
Here’s the truth about Google rankings: being #1 on the SERPs gets you an average share of 32.5% of the traffic, while being #2 gets 17.6% and being #3 gets 11.4%. The first page of the SERPs gets 91.5% of Google traffic shared between the sites listed on that page. If you’re on the second page you only get to share 4.8% of the traffic along with all other websites on the page. With page 3, it shrinks to 1.1%.
So if you’re not writing content to race to No #1 spot, you are in effect writing just to populate the web with more words of no worth! But how do you get to No.#1 spot with conscious effort?
Rob Powell has the answer that works right now (after Google has changed its algorithms to reveal its greater intelligence). Read his articles “How To Get Your Blog Post on the First Page of Google in 2019” and “What Are Topic Clusters and Why They Will Boost Your SEO”:
Up until now, if you wanted to get on Page #1 of Google you had to invest a lot of time and effort building a strong backlink profile. But that’s all changing, due to something called Topical Authority. In 2013 Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm and semantic analysis. Google is now able to recognize that certain keywords cluster together in predictable patterns.
That in turn allows Google to map out the sub-topics that make up any topic. And that means that Google is able to measure the topical authority of a piece of content. In other words, Google is able to measure how well a piece of content covers a particular topic.”
Proof that Rob Powell knows what he is talking about is visible in the fact that several of his articles now have replaced very big contenders on Page #1 of Google for his focus keywords. A system that proves itself to be true, again and again and again, is worth repeating by everybody!
15. Attract Back Links
Despite newer tactics to get SEO brownie points for your content, backlinks still work, so they cannot be altogether discounted. But how is it possible to write content that attracts high-quality backlinks?
Content-marketing experts believe that link-worthy (or linkbait) content creation is a goal worth pursuing.
Fractll, for example, in its article “How to Earn High-Quality Backlinks with Content Marketing [2019 Update]”, recommends producing 10X content to make your content link-worthy:
Producing guides and how-to directions are great ways to create linkable content, but there is something that works even better: creating a massive resource. Extensive, extremely thorough resources are often referred to as “10X content,” meaning they are 10 times better than other resources on the topic.
When you create “10X content,” you improve the odds that your content will be the resource that other websites link to. Providing the most in-depth information on that topic will make you stand out and become the leading resource.”
One very important thing needs to be understood about backlinks and link-worthy content: not all your consumers may be bloggers, with the ability to link to you after reading your piece of content. So you have to write same content from consumers and some for those who may be bloggers in your niche who may not exactly be your prospective consumers.
16. Engage Site Visitors
Keeping your users engaged via your content is a rather simple thing – but it’s made very complex by many marketers. The psychology of engaging anyone’s mind – including that of your reader – is to see that you are writing something of genuine interest to the reader. If the topic really resonates with the reader, you don’t have to do something extraordinary to get him hooked. If your reader doesn’t seem engaged enough, one of the first audits to undertake would be “content-audience fit”.
There a very simple axiom I came across from Avin Kline, CEO of the Success Agency in the article “12 Ways to Increase Engagement with Your Website Visitors”:
Really think about what your audience is interested in and what their needs are. It’s so easy to forget, but the heart of increasing user engagement is to put yourself in their shoes and add undeniable value to the user.
Keep in mind, what marketers think is valuable and what users think is valuable are often two different things.”
Sometimes, we content marketers err by thinking too hard and achieving too less as a result. One of the reasons for this could be our convoluted marketing-driven nomenclatures of those whom we want to impact with our writing – as “prospects”, “readers”, “consumers”, “leads”, “target audiences”, “visitors”! How about just “people”?
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Marketing Basics”:
- Content Marketing Definitions: 15 Smart, Thought-Provoking Angles!
- What Is Valuable Content? Well, It Depends On Who Is Reading It!
- Your Content Marketing Business Model … The Choices You Have!
- 10 Skills You Need To Become A Top Solopreneur Content Marketer!
- Content Marketing And Solopreneurs Are Just Made For Each Other!
- 4 Classic Mistakes Most Content Marketers Make – And Their Fixes!