As we kick off 2022, marketers all over the world are setting brand new goals.
How are your goals looking? Have you taken the time to set any yet?
I know I have set a few already.
One involves writing an eBook about treating your content like a garden, so stay tuned for that!
But the most common content marketing goal each year is:
“I want to publish more content this year!”
It’s admirable, but it’s flawed from the very beginning.
We’ve been told that publishing more content, more tweets, more everything will lead to content marketing success.
I will be the first to admit that I have fallen into that trap a few times before.
Honestly, that will lead to burnout faster than success.
Mainly because that isn’t a content goal. It’s more of an aspiration.
Goals have measurable outcomes and timelines built into them. The goal we outlined above does not.
Without a real goal, you end up publishing content just to publish it.
Whether it be on social media, in your customer’s inbox, or on YouTube.
Just adding more noise to an already noisy year.
Let me show you how to avoid doing that in 2022.
Stop Publishing Just to Publish
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to setting content goals is the belief that you always need to be publishing something new.
The need to fill out a content calendar with fresh ideas is all-consuming. Even if those content ideas don’t really help you reach your goals.
Especially at the start of the year, or quarter.
I have seen a lot of marketers get stuck in a publishing cycle that only rewards making sure a blog post is live or the Tweet is shared.
Then they are confused as to why their content marketing efforts are not succeeding.
Publishing a piece of content should be a checkpoint in the creation process, not an end goal.
I have seen new and veteran marketers get stuck on that publishing cycle with no real goals or end game.
The only thing they are thinking about is getting that newsletter, thread, or blog post live.
They don’t really think about what that piece of content accomplishes in the grand scheme of things.
Or how they are going to distribute it so that their followers and customers will find it.
So it just becomes more noise.
On top of all the other noise that they have already published this year.
Let me let you in on a secret: you don’t have to publish a new piece of content every week, month, or even quarter.
At Foundation, we publish our teardowns when they are ready, not based on some arbitrary cadence.
Some of the best content creators publish a few pieces of content for the entire year!
I have always been a proponent of consistent publishing, but if that is the end goal it becomes self-defeating very quickly.
Your team gets burnt out trying to hit deadlines, without seeing the needle move on important metrics.
Trust me, I have been in that exact situation a few times in my career.
Thankfully there’s a pretty easy solution. But your boss isn’t going to like it…
Stop publishing until you set some real content goals.
Otherwise, you will never get off the “publishing just to publish” cycle.
And you will struggle to see real results from your content marketing efforts.
Setting Real Content Goals
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
The best thing you can do when it comes to setting new goals is to set realistic, measurable, and specific goals.
Everyone wants to grow their email list or social media following by 500% next year. But if you don’t have the bandwidth or resources to hit that goal, it could lead to a negative reaction from your team.
Also, lofty goals like that are hard to work back from, especially if there isn’t a concrete end or due date.
According to our friends over at HyperContext: “teams with clear goals experience 20–25% improved work performance.”
That’s nothing to scoff at.
I recommend setting very specific and realistic goals for your content in the beginning. And once you have solid baselines set up, you can start setting more stretch goals for your team.
For example, here are a few goals that I would avoid setting:
- Increase our social media presence on TikTok
- Publish 20 new case studies this year
- Share 10x per week on LinkedIn
- Launch a new podcast
Again, those are not goals, those are aspirations.
They are so vague and meaningless that just by publishing content you are going to hit them.
The time period to hit those goals is open-ended as well, which isn’t a good sign when setting goals. And that likely places you right back on the dreaded “publishing just to publish” cycle.
Instead here are some more actionable goals that you should set:
- Increase the views and shares our TikToks get by 25% by March 1st
- Publish 2 monthly case studies that focus on B2B marketing tactics to boost our newsletter subscriber count by 50% by July 1st
- Share data-driven and thought leadership content 2x daily on our CEO’s LinkedIn page to increase their following by 25% by February 1st
- Launch a new marketing podcast with 6 pre-recorded episodes by August 1st
Each of those goals has both a measurable outcome and a set due date. In my experience, they are pretty realistic as well.
Now that you have those goals set, it becomes so much easier to create a plan of attack.
You can easily work backward from a goal like: “Launch a new marketing podcast with 6 pre-recorded episodes by August 1st.”
But not so much from a goal like “Launch a new podcast.“
Your team knows exactly what the end goal is and how long they have to work on it. That sense of urgency should help you actually achieve the goal as well.
Content now becomes a lever, just like other marketing assets, that can help you achieve your goals.
And best of all, you might find that you actually have to publish less in 2022.
Now if you need help planning out your content, check out our content calendar template!