Goal setting is a vitally important part of the content planning process. Whether you’re just getting the hang of creating bits of content here and there, or you’ve been churning out daily posts for months now, setting goals will help you to evaluate how you’re doing, and plan for future success.
The most important thing to bear in mind when planning goals, is to stay focused on why you’re creating content in the first place. The goals for your business overall should feed into the goals you set yourself for your online content, so that you know the time spent on it is bringing real, measurable value to your business in the long term.
We’ve put together a new set of worksheets to help you figure out what you want to get done when you’re creating content online. You’ll start by addressing your own values and the time you have to dedicate to content creation, then dive into the goals themselves, and how you’ll measure your success down the line.
You probably have some idea what values are important both to your business and your customers. Take a look at the websites of your competitors, or others, to identify what you do and don’t like about them. What messages are these sites sending about each organisation’s values, and how do they compare to your own? Remember you’re not looking for the visual features that appeal to you, but rather the message that comes across in the content about who they are and what’s important to them.
Goals are great, and ambitious goals are often even better, but it’s also important to be realistic. Before we set goals, we need to take a good hard look at the resources we have to put into achieving them. Does past activity reflect your intentions for the future? Is it likely that you’ll be able to spend as much time as you want on your content? Or conversely, do you want to streamline your content process to spend less time working on it, whilst still getting as much, or even more from what you put out there?
Having considered what’s important, and what might be realistic, now is the time to start writing down your actual goals. Key to success here is making sure that each of your goals has the following:
- a measurable target
- a fixed point in time for review
- a clear purpose behind it.
These three things will make sure that your goals support your business aims, and that you’ll be able to assess performance properly at your next review.
For each of your goals, your measurable target should make it pretty clear what the most important data will be to indicate success or failure. It’s important to make note of these, and that you know where to find the information. But as well as those strong indicators that let you be sure of your progress, it’s also a really good idea to look at smaller, tangential indicators as well. These would be data points less closely related to your goal, which will tell you more about why you succeeded, or didn’t. Without that contextual information, you’ll struggle to take away meaningful lessons when it comes to evaluating and planning for future content cycles.
Each of these four areas is covered in detail in the worksheets, with space and prompts for you to consider your own answers in your own time. They’re great to use in conjunction with our Content Auditing worksheets as well, whether your evaluating past performance or preparing for a whole now cycle of content creation.