Content is hugely powerful. While pure ads used to be able to pierce through, we’re now so bombarded with advertisements every day that we tune them out. Trying to force your message upon people will no longer work. In fact, content marketing is really the only marketing left.
Why? Because content marketing turns your message into something people want to consume. Instead of being forced to consume an advertisement, good content is something that people seek out. And good content is content that tells a story. Your story, your brand’s story, the authentic story of your business. People love to read stories.
Does the idea of telling your brand’s story sound exciting to you, but the idea of actually having to write it sound horrifying? Don’t worry. For each strategy, we’ll give you options for doing it yourself or for outsourcing it to someone who loves to write.
Understanding your SMART goals
SMART goal setting is probably nothing new to most small business owners, but a little recap never hurts. We found a great article that lays it out in The Balance. small business planning process from the balance. A SMART goal evaluates a goal and determine its viability using the five criteria outlined below. Setting a SMART goal (and then nailing it with content) will help take your goal from a general idea stage and put it into action.
S = Specific
When you are just getting started with goal setting, you may only have a vague idea of what you hope to accomplish. As you get further along in the process, however, you will need to be as specific as possible about your goal. A specific goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish, why it is an important goal, and how you intend to accomplish the goal.
M = Measurable
You need to be able to determine, without question, whether or not you are successful in achieving your goal. In order to do this, you need to create a way to measure your progress and your end result. A measurable goal should include a plan with targets and milestones that you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction during the process and should clearly tell you when you’ve completed the process.
A = Attainable
While business goals may often pull you out of your comfort zone and challenge you, if the goal and the parameters you have created are not realistic, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
An attainable goal should be realistic and include a plan that breaks your overall goal down into smaller, manageable action steps that use the time and resources available to you within the timeline you’ve set.
R = Relevant
The relevancy of a business goal will often determine the likelihood of achieving it.
Goals that do not mesh with all of the other factors that directly and indirectly impact your business are often unachievable. Ultimately, a relevant goal should make sense when measured against your business model, mission statement, market, client base and industry.
T = Time-Based
Business goals cannot be open-ended; every goal should be limited by a period of time. The timeline may vary by weeks, months or years depending on your goal, but a defined timeline is vital in order for you to commit to the goal. Having a deadline can also create an urgency that will motivate you.
A few examples of using content to nail your SMART goals
SMART Goal for Photography Business:
Within a month, I am going to re-energize my photography business, which will allow me to benefit financially from one of my favorite hobbies. Within six weeks, I will have personally called clients from the past three years who were pleased with their photos but have not booked another session. I will follow up those calls with a “5 tips”-type of document that will give them ideas on how to take better photos with their smart phones and ask them to follow me on social media. By making those personal calls and following up with the “5 tips” document, I will schedule at least 4 photo sessions for the next month.
Content strategy for the photography business:
- Define talking points for the phone calls, including a specific ask to follow on social media
- Define strategic keywords to highlight in your social media profile and product descriptions
- Start blogging, documenting the process of your photo shoots
SMART Goal for consulting business:
I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within two months by launching a social media marketing campaign and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.
Content strategy for a consulting business:
- Create and market your referral program
- Make sure all social media profiles are keyword rich and authentic to your voice
- Create newsletter
SMART Goal for social media expert:
In order to establish myself as an expert, I will write a 150-page book on social media by writing one chapter per month (3-5 pages per week). The book will be completed in 10 months, and then I will search for a publisher or explore self-publishing.
Content strategy for social media expert:
- Outline book, and share your thoughts on social media
- Ask for early readers to give feedback
- As you write, turn each chapter into a blog post and share before you publish
SMART Goal for small business accountant:
I will acquire the services of a PR/publicity firm and launch a publicity campaign that will help establish me as a well-known expert in small business accounting who is asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receives interview requests every week and writes one article per month for a top industry publication. This will reinforce my 20+ years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small business owners who need accounting advice.
Content strategy foran accountant :
- Load your blog with good, rich content to establish your expertise
- Write long-form articles to share on LinkedIn
- Update your LinkedIn profile with keyword targets
Where to Find the Words
Once you’ve created your SMART goals, and the content ideas to go with it, it’s time to start creating. Love to write? Great; here are some resources to help you get started.
- Content Marketing Institute
- The Words Girls – Find Your Brand’s Voice guide
Not interested in doing your own writing? Not to worry; there are plenty of us content creators out there to help. These resources may help you find the right person.
- What to look for in a freelance content creator
- What to pay your freelance content creator
- 10 questions to ask any potential writer or content creator