You’ve spent hours defining your content marketing goals. You’ve hunted for qualified writers. And you’ve crafted an editorial calendar that includes a wide variety of topics for an audience that your team knows all too well by now.
But why do your results still not reflect the effort and dedication that you and your team have put in?
Despite publishing valuable and high-quality content regularly, you’re still struggling to achieve your content marketing goals.
Here’s something to chew on. Have you ever thought about whether your content marketing goals and your team are aligned?
I have a message for you: If your team isn’t a good fit with your objectives, you have problems, my friend. Symptoms range from having trouble defining the objective of each piece of content to a lack of understanding and drive to meet these content marketing goals.
Think of yourself as the manager of a World Cup team and your content marketing team as your top 11. Every single player needs to know what they’re playing and fighting for. In every single one of the 90 minutes and beyond.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can help your team understand, remember, and apply these content marketing goals to the production process of the content they produce.
3 ways to align your content marketing goals and team
1. Define, document, and share your goals with your writers
In a previous article, we discussed the importance of having only one objective for each piece of content you produce and documenting them.
We mentioned it there and we’ll mention it again:
It’s absolutely vital that every single team member that’s involved in content creation participate in the process of setting objectives and have access to this document as and when they need it.
Having a certain article and/or topic assigned to them is one thing. Seeing an objective tagged to the article and understanding it is taking it one step further — it gives them something to strive towards.
It reminds them of who and what they’re writing for, which helps them maintain their focus during their content writing process.
Another benefit of giving your team members access to this document — and an important one at that — is the motivation it gives them. The more aware they are of the objectives they have to meet, the more drive they have. In turn, the better the results you obtain in the long run.
What about freelance writers or external content marketing agencies?
If your content marketing efforts are outsourced to freelance writers or a content marketing agency, it’s even more important to have a clear definition of each piece of content stated in your editorial calendar.
Chances are you’re working in a shared content calendar with visibility for all in which a team member (or perhaps yourself) fills in different topics for the freelancers or agency writers to tackle.
Make sure to include the clear objectives of each piece of content. As external writers, they don’t understand your company and your goals as well as you do, and more guidance is naturally needed.
If your entire content strategy is outsourced, let them know what your end goals are. And request that they define and include the objectives of each content when drawing up a content calendar.
For this to work, there needs to be a prior agreement between yourself and the freelancer/agency regarding the different objectives of the content strategy and their priorities.
Here are some things you should consider:
- How much of the content produced will be used to generate traffic?
- How many pieces will be for leads generation?
- Are there enough resources to produce content to boost customer loyalty?
It is important to be clear about the objectives you expect the content they produce to achieve and that they understand them well.
2. Create a team culture that reinforces the value of goals
The care and dedication you put into defining your goals won’t matter if your team isn’t used to the concept of producing content to meet an objective and the importance of it.
Content marketers often have their days filled with completing the multiple tasks involved in producing a piece of content.
A content marketer interviews experts, researches what motivates and inspires his audience, networks on social media as if he were the soul of the party, and stalks journalists like a private detective.
And of course, write. According to statistics, 60% of content marketers produce at least one piece of content per day.
In the case of startups, content writers may have to multitask and juggle various content pieces at one go while managing other tasks. And some may not even be directly related to content creation.
That said, it’s very easy for them to lose focus. Amidst the rush and deadlines to meet, they may just brush off the importance of reviewing and meeting their objectives.
Plus, the content production process is hardly ever linear.
A content writer can jump back and forth during the different phases. These include conceptualisation, definition, planning, research, drafting, writing, revisions, publishing, and distribution.
Sometimes, a single phase may involve more than one person. That said, it’s easy to lose sight of the objectives during this process.
If your team does not have the habit of reviewing and referring to objectives to motivate them and set their focus, they will lose sight of these previously defined objectives at some point in the process.
How to create a results-oriented mentality in your team
Just like learning a new language or doing sports, the best way to develop a new habit is to create a routine.
In order to instil a natural habit of prioritising objectives for your team, establish daily routines for them.
Whatever routine you set for your team, the key is to be, patient, consistent, and persistent. Remember that change never comes easy and it may take more than a few weeks to get your team used to it.
Here are some ideas that can help you enforce this results-oriented mentality.
Address objectives at your weekly meetings
Dedicate time during your weekly meetings to talk about the objectives of the content your team is currently working on.
This can be at a weekly team meeting or your one-on-one meetings with your individual writers.
Share data on a regular basis
Whenever you encounter an interesting objectives-related statistic or data, be it internal or external, share them with your entire team.
This can be anything from a rise in keyword ranking thanks to a particular article, or an unusual increase in traffic to certain landing pages.
Don’t simply jot them down in your notebook and remind yourself to talk about it at the next meeting. We know how meetings tend to overrun. Send out a Slack message (or whatever intra-office chat systems you use) or an email immediately to your team.
Share your success
If goals are a shared responsibility, so is the resulting success. If a particular piece of content is attracting large amounts of leads or traffic, share the good news with your team.
This way, those involved with producing this content feel recognised and credited. And it further highlights the key role they play.
At the end of the day, these little wins add up and motivate your team to achieve their content marketing goals.
Encourage them to consult and share objectives-related data and statistics
As a team leader, you should share data and statistics, especially when they’re related to goals. But there’s no reason why your team members shouldn’t be doing the same.
Encourage your team to consult results- and goals-related data on a regular basis. Get them to share these data with the rest of the team. This helps to develop a goals-oriented mentality.
If this is a practise they’ve never done before, they may have difficulties identifying the right data and information. Your role here will be to explain the kind of data that are relevant and useful and provide examples.
Evaluate the results of the established routine
Positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in learning.
As your team begins to pick up this new routine, you’ll begin to notice changes. They will begin to attack each piece of content with a more strategic focus and with a clear end-goal in mind. This will be reflected in the quality of the work that they produce.
As soon as you begin to witness these positive changes in their work habits, compliment and congratulate them.
3. Prepare a checklist of the requirements that a piece has to meet based on its objective
The definition, communication, and the creation of a goals-oriented mindset for your team are extremely important. But that’s not the end game.
Besides simply being aware of the specific objective, your writers need to know how to work to achieve it.
You may need to prioritise certain details over others. This will depend on the types of objectives you’re trying to reach (traffic, leads, brand awareness, educating your customers, etc). And this is when a checklist comes in handy.
If your goal is to increase organic traffic, you focus on factors that affect your SERPS ranking, such as keywords, links, and producing original content.
Want to get more leads with downloadable content? Optimise your content for all types of devices. Create forms that are easy to fill in. Its value proposition must also be clear it must offer a concrete solution to your buyer persona’s pain points.
Want media coverage? Switch to a journalistic style and avoid self-promotion. Craft messages with opinions from your management team or company experts. Support these with reliable data.
Having a checklist for each type of objective can help your team in three ways.
- It reminds them of the important aspects they have to pay attention to during the entire content creation process. Consider each element in the checklist as a secondary objective. These are what they have to fulfil to take them closer to the greater overall objective of your content.
- It helps to filter out the content whose minimum requirements you’re not able to meet. If you want to increase traffic, optimising a keyword with a search volume of 27 per month doesn’t make sense.
- It establishes the minimum requirements each piece of content must meet. This is especially important if you’re working with freelance writers or content marketing agencies. If you want to publish content that meets your expectations, be clear about what they are right from the get-go.