Lesson 3 – Mastering Your Strategy and Goals

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From Internet Rubbish to Content Gold

You've just finished polishing your bicycle. It's in perfect traveling order. You strap on your helmet and ... you have no idea where to go.

You're not ready to leave! You need a map, an itinerary, a list of destinations along the way.

You move the bike aside for now. It's time to plan the route.

A successful content marketing strategy isn’t much different.

Every successful business needs a roadmap, a destination and intermediate goals before setting off.

Bad Content Marketing Lacks a Roadmap

Once upon a time it was enough to create some content on your website. It didn't need to be quality content and it didn't need a direction.

In those days, simply being on a search engine's radar was enough to drive people to your content. In other words, your content didn't necessarily need a specific destination or direction. It would fulfill its function just by existing.

This was years ago. If you try to do that today, someone else with goal oriented content will zoom past and you'll be left in the dust, helplessly sitting on your bicycle, not knowing where to go.

This is what happens to bad content marketers. Their content is simply buried and forgotten.

How to Create Content For Your Roadmap

All content should be formed as part of a larger whole. Successful content marketers know this, and plan every bit of their content as bits of a larger story, a roadmap.

There's different types of content. Some content is only there to teach and inform and some have a direct conversion purpose. Some content is created only to build relationships with people.

You need to be aware of what you want to achieve with your content and only then start creating it.

1. Choose a Goal For Your Content

A common mistake in content is to start from the beginning.

Wait what? Why is that wrong, you say.

Instead, you should start with your end goal. What are you trying to achieve with this piece of content? Why are you writing this blog post? Why are you recording this video?

A good content marketing goal is attainable and realistic. Common goals for a single piece of content are:

  • Build authority
  • Increase sign-ups and build your mailing list
  • Increase shares

Figure out where your content fits on the roadmap.

If you want to turn your visitors into subscribers, you create authority content or shareable content.

If you want to turn subscribers into customers, you need to create courses and other exclusive material, and then eventually lead into your paid content.

2. Create Appropriate Content For Each Goal

You know what you want to achieve. Now you need to figure out how you'll get from your current position to your chosen goal.

Let's see how we can achieve these goals:

Build Authority

When your audience knows you provide usable and practical information on a topic they're interested in, they'll be compelled to listen to you. If you consistently provide them with great solutions, they'll return to discover more of your content.

You'll become the person they quote when asked for an expert opinion.

You become an authority.​

This is the most important goal, and the one you should strive to work on first and foremost.

Bear in mind, if your content is uselessly rehashing things everyone already knows, you'll come off as just another internet drone.

Content that increases authority is:​

  • Original - Your information is completely new or presented in a new way
  • Well written - Carefully crafted content looks professional and gives an air of authority
  • Amazingly useful - Practical and immediately helpful content is engaging and helps your reader apply your solution immediately
  • Well explained - You explain your points using practical examples or relatable use cases
Authority Post Example #1

This blog post by Smartblogger checks every mark on this list:

  • It's original. The information isn't new by a long shot. You can find this information elsewhere on the web, but Glen Long paints a clear frustration before illustrating the points. Instead of just giving out factual information, reading becomes an emotional journey.
  • It's well written. Rich and fluent language with careful editing makes this article a joy to read.
  • It's useful. The tips and pointers are long term goals, but every one of them has an action step you can take today.
  • The article uses specific examples to illustrate its different points. This helps us as readers connect the abstract information to concrete real world situations.
Authority Post Example #2

Another good example is Digital Marketer's post on marketing books.

  • It's original. While we've seen book lists and recommendations before, this is a book list every marketer should read this year.
  • It's well written. Good images and a simple structure makes for a good presentation.
  • It's useful. With the massive amount of books out there on this subject, it's helpful to have a place to start from.
  • The article uses specific examples to illustrate its different points. This helps us as readers connect the abstract information to concrete real world situations.

Good news is that any form of published content will help achieve this goal. Whether it be video, audio or written content, it'll do fine.

Shareable Content

​Shareable content is paramount if you want your content to gain popularity outside your mailing list.

This sort of content is great for getting the attention of influencers and increasing awareness of your content.​

We all dream of creating content that goes viral and shoots up to tens of thousands of shares, but virality is always an erratic goal to shoot for. Elements required for a viral reaction change daily.

Basic shareability on the other hand? Much more consistently attainable.

Shareable content:

  • Provokes - It includes an original or controversial point about your subject matter
  • Pleases the eye - It's well presented with great visuals and great examples
  • Helps your reader understand - It's practical and makes your reader go "a-ha!"
  • Consumable - It's easy and fun to read
  • Touches - It's emotionally engaging and hits your reader under their skin
Example of Shareable Content

Shane's post about sliders is something that inspired a lot of shares.

  • It provokes controversy. Everyone uses a slider, so how could it be a bad idea?
  • It pleases the eye with a well produced video and easily readable post.
  • It challenges the reader and then helps them understand.
  • It's annoying. Can you imagine yourself sharing this controversial claim just to spike up a conversation?

Increase sign-ups and build your mailing list

To increase email opt-ins, you need irresistible content. Designed to be so magnetic your visitor will gladly give you their email address in exchange.

See this lesson for more information on building your own opt-in offer.

Content to increase sign-ups would be:

  • Landing pages - Intriguing copy on a page with one single purpose: make the visitor sign up.
  • Opt-in offers - Make your freebie an irresistible opt-in and your reader will gladly give their email address in exchange
  • Content upgrades - Add bonus content to your existing blog posts that your readers can access in exchange for signing up
Example of Unique Landing Page

When guest posting, it's a good idea to create a unique landing page for the visitors from that site. We created this landing page to welcome our visitors from Jeff Bullas's Blog.

Example of Content Upgrade

We use this headline swipe file as bonus content to supplement an already massive post. If you were interested in reading the post, you're most likely going to subscribe to receive this extra content as well.

You can download it here, by the way.

Your Turn - Figure Out Your Content Marketing Goal

You've now seen examples of how to turn goals into actionable steps. Your task now is to create a goal you want to pursue with your content marketing campaign.

With every bit of content, remember to constantly ask yourself, “How will this content help me achieve my goal?"

Now that you have a grasp on technical skills and content strategy, it's time to work on your execution. In the next lesson, you'll discover a system for pumping out quality articles in a matter of hours.​

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