How to set SMART goals for content marketing

All articles | Content
Published Sep 14, 2022 | Written by Katie Hughes

SMART goals are an essential part of a content marketing strategy. In this blog post, we show you how to set SMART goals for your business so you can meet your overall goals of winning more customers and increasing revenue.

Content marketing is a great way to drive sales for your contract manufacturing business, by giving your buyers what they’re looking for while they’re actively searching for it. But content marketing is a big investment. 

SMART goals will give you a clear structure for measuring how your content marketing efforts are impacting your overall business goals.

What are SMART goals for content marketing?

SMART goals are concrete targets that you aim to hit over a certain period. “SMART” is an acronym that describes key characteristics of each goal.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The SMART framework enables you to write goals that will drive a real impact for your business. You’ll be able to quantify how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go, and once you reach your milestone, you’ll know you have achieved something tangible and impactful. 

Let’s break this down.

To make your goal SPECIFIC, you’ll need to focus on one particular metric you want to improve upon, like visitors, leads or customers.

To make it MEASURABLE, your goal should be quantifiable, like achieving an X% increase in visitors, leads or customers.

To make it ATTAINABLE, make sure that what you’re setting out to do is achievable. Your goals should be based on your own analytics, not industry benchmarks. If you made a 3% increase in traffic last month, aiming for a 5% increase next month is a realistic goal.

Your goal should also be RELEVANT, relating to the overall goals of your business. 

To make your goal TIME-BOUND, be sure to attach a deadline to it. That way you’ll be more likely to accomplish it, and will prevent you from falling into the trap of procrastinating on items.

Examples of SMART goals for content marketing

Let’s say you want to increase the number of visitors to your blog. Your SMART goal might be to increase your blog traffic from 3-5% by the end of May by publishing two more posts per week.

Here’s how that might breakdown:

  • Specific - We want to increase traffic to the blog by publishing more high-quality posts. We’ll publish four blogs per week instead of two.
  • Measurable - We’re aiming for a 5% increase in traffic.
  • Attainable - We grew by about 3% for the last few months, so 5% seems an achievable goal.
  • Relevant - We’re looking to raise brand awareness and nurture leads for our sales team. Driving more traffic to our blog will help us accomplish these goals.
  • Time-bound - We want to achieve this increase in traffic from 2-5% by the end of the next month.

Other examples of SMART goals might include:

  • Increase leads by 5% every month, leading to a 30-35% increase in 6 months
  • Increase blog subscribers by 25% month-over-month this year
  • Reach 20,000 website visitors via organic search monthly by the end of the year
  • Increase the average monthly open rate from 25% to 40% in one quarter
  • Increase the MQL to SQL conversion rate from 15% to 25% by Q3

Why you need SMART goals

Setting SMART goals is an essential part of your content marketing strategy. They give you a clear line of sight as to how your content marketing efforts are impacting your overall business goals.

SMART goals are important as they:

  • Help to give you clarity, rather than working with vague goals
  • Enable you to measure progress
  • Provide realistic and achievable objectives 
  • Set a clear pathway to follow in reaching your goals

Every business has the same vague goals; to attract customers and boost their revenue. But these aren’t quantifiable. Of course you want to bring in more customers, but how many do you need to meet your growth ambitions? Over what time period? And how do you intend to attract these customers? 

When you make goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound, you increase your odds for success. If you set vague goals, if you don’t identify the actions needed to achieve success, or you don’t set yourself a deadline, you may lose focus and fall short of what you hoped to achieve.

Setting your SMART goals

You can use the following steps to set SMART goals for your content marketing.

1. Identify the purpose of content marketing for your company

Why do you invest in content marketing?

Of course, the true purpose of every marketing effort is to increase revenue for your business. But your content marketing efforts also tie into other important business goals, like improving website traffic, lead generation, brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Take a step back and think about why you blog regularly, and why you write eBooks. It’s so you can provide answers to the questions your prospects and customers are asking at each stage of the buying journey. And in doing so, guide them through the buying journey and towards a solution.

You’ll only succeed in your goal to attract customers and increase revenue if you keep your target buyers needs’ in mind at all times. 

2. Determine the appropriate metrics to track

Which metrics will you need to track to measure how you’re performing?

Once you have your goals, you will need to assign key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs will help you determine whether or not you’re on track to achieving your objectives and goals. 

Here are some examples:

  • Website sessions - The total number of visits to your site (includes new and repeat visits) 
  • Page views - The total number of visits to a specific web page (this could be your homepage, your blog, or any other page on your site)
  • Bounce rate - The percentage of visitors to your site who navigate away from the site shortly after viewing one page rather than visiting any other pages afterwards
  • Page views per visit - The average number of web pages a user views on a single visit to your website 
  • Ranking keywords - The number of keywords your content appears on the first page of organic search results for
  • Organic website traffic - The total number of visitors who find your website after using a search engine, like Google
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) - Contacts that are most likely to convert based on their engagement with your site (e.g. they may have downloaded an eBook or submitted a form)
  • Conversion rate - The number of visitors who took the desired action when viewing your web page (e.g. downloaded an eBook or submitted a form)
  • Email open rate - The percentage of subscribers who open a specific email out of your total number of subscribers 

Using the earlier example of wanting to increase your blog traffic from 3-5% by the end of May, the KPI you would need to track is page views. 

If your goal is to increase leads by 5% every month, leading to a 30-35% increase in 6 months, you will be most interested in tracking your conversion rates and MQLs.

And if you wanted to reach 20,000 website visitors via organic search monthly by the end of the year, you’d need to track the organic traffic.

3. Track your progress

How will ensure you stay on track?

It’s vital to regularly monitor your progress toward your goals. Here are some ways to help you do this:

  • Set regular meetings - establish dedicated times for you and your team to catch up on progress 
  • Break larger goals down into smaller milestones - this way it will be easier to spot if you’re getting off course (e.g. rather than aiming for 2,000 more blog subscribers by the end of the year, you should be aiming to add 500 per quarter)
  • Put the right tools in place - the easier it is to see how your measuring against your goals at all times, the more likely you are to stay on track (tools like HubSpot can help you to track and quantify your goals’ progress in real-time)

Content marketing is immensely valuable for contract manufacturers looking to grow their business. But with so many strands to think about, from blogging to ebook creation to videos, email and social media, it can be easy to feel weighed down and to lose sight of the impact your efforts are having on your overall goal to grow your business. SMART goals give structure to your content marketing efforts and ensure that everyone in your team is on the same page.

New call-to-action

Published by Katie Hughes September 14, 2022
Katie Hughes