Take a look at the next piece of life science marketing content you’ll publish. What do you want readers (or viewers) to do when they finish? Should they rush to fill out a form? Do you want them to share it with all of their colleagues on LinkedIn? Will they be so impressed, they’ll crash your server with quote requests?
How does this asset fit in with all your other content? Do you have a goal for the whole collection?
Of course, you probably have some overall lead or opportunity goals you are trying to reach. But by the time you look at those,you’ve missed the boat. It’s too late to change anything.
Set smaller intermediate goals to make continuous improvements along the way.
Compare content marketing to a scientific experiment. A hypothesis defines the expectations for an experiment. A goal defines expectations for your content marketing. They both focus effort on things that matter and learning from the results.
Without knowing what outcomes to expect, scientists and marketers both struggle to make real progress. For example, when you post content to LinkedIn, do you want to create more followers there or do you want to generate leads by taking them to your website?
It’s important to know what works (or doesn’t) and why.
You should have a goal for your entire content plan and for each piece of content. Begin with the end in mind. How would you like to shape the marketplace? Who do you want to reach? What should they do next?
Why goals are important for content marketing.
A specific goal for your plan identifies the behavior that you want from your prospects.
- The goal defines your target persona(s)
- Each persona describes a buyer’s journey
- The buyer’s journey reveals the questions your customers will ask before buying
- Those questions define the content you need to create
You can craft a plan that will tell you exactly what content you need. It will provide an outline of each piece and show you how you can re-purpose it in many formats.
You shouldn’t be creating content and hoping to generate leads. Create each asset for a specific purpose.
Is this guaranteed to work?
No one can make that promise.
But like a hypothesis, you can test it. If the end results aren’t what you expect, you’ll know which asset isn’t working. Unexpected results lead to a new hypothesis. Maybe you need a video instead of PDF for that product selection guide. Or maybe your tweets are too pushy.
Possible goals for content
- Drive traffic to site
- Download or subscribe
- Request a demo or quote
- Keep the customer happy for next purchase
- Move to another piece of content (This is totally legit. I highly recommend it.)
Let’s take a blog as an example. The last time I looked, many life science blogs were missing a call to action. Are they afraid of appearing too pushy? It doesn’t hurt to ask for a subscription or link to another piece of content.
A lot of head-scratching, sweat and tears goes into a blog post. It ought to lead to something. A call to action isn’t a subpoena. It’s an invitation. It benefits you and your prospects at the same time. They take one step toward solving a problem. You learn what they care about.
Whenever you publish content (and measure the results), you’re testing a hypothesis. This scientific approach ensures that your marketing becomes more effective over time.
I know what you’re thinking.
The answer is: Subscribe to this blog.
If you are already a subscriber, contact me and tell me about one goal you have for your content marketing.