Creating content is no longer a ‘nice to have’ item on your ToDo list. If you’re not creating content for your business, then you’re being overtaken by the people who are. More and more businesses, and by that I mean your competitors, are getting in on the act, and consumers of all descriptions expect you to make it easy for them to find out who you are, how you can help them, and decide if you’re the person they want to do business with.

But content for content’s sake isn’t going to get you very far. If you want the content you create to bring value to your business, if you don’t want to be wasting your time, I suggest you put in place some content marketing objectives prior to picking up a pen, typing out a title, or pressing ‘record’. Unless you want to be running around like a headless content marketing chicken? And who has time for that!

Whatever the content, whether it’s blog posts, podcasts, or videos, you want it to be worth the effort you expend to create it. And presumably that means making your content work for your business. The kind of content I mostly speak to business owners about is their business blog, and all too often their questions revolve around how to do it: how to write a good post, how often they should be blogging, what they should be blogging about, and how they can find the time to blog. When actually, all of that is secondary when it comes to setting content marketing objectives that will help your blog, podcast, vlog, or however else you publish your content, to grow your business.

The place to start is not ‘how to blog’. The place to start is with your business, and specifically your business objectives. Let’s begin with your long-term, strategic goals: your Vision and your Mission. What are your long term goals? What’s the thing you do for people? How can the content you create help you to lay the foundations to meet your long term Vision? How can you use the content you create to communicate how you help people, as well as how well you understand your customer base?

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your business objectives: those shorter-term, tactical goals that you set yourself each year. What are your key business objectives, and what do you need from your content marketing to help you reach them?  Consider the other marketing activities you’ll be undertaking, and see how the content you create can help you with those. One of my ghost blogging clients doesn’t try to get any business online: their business development team uses the blog posts I write as a reason to keep in touch with prospective and existing customers, without seeming like a stalker!

The final piece of the puzzle is to look at your personal objectives for creating content. If you’re a solopreneur or business owner, then your personal objectives might be simply to realise your business objectives and grow your business. But if you’re part of a larger organisation, being asked to create articles for the company blog or LinkedIn, perhaps you need something more? In these circumstances, your personal objectives might be to learn a new skill; or to raise your profile in the company, and be seen as someone to look out for; or to become a known and leading authority in a particular industry or market. What are your personal objectives for creating content? And how can that content help you meet them?

Once you’ve worked your way through the exercise, you’ll have the beginnings of a content strategy. You should have some good reasons for creating content, some criteria that your content needs to meet, some ideas of what you should be writing or talking about, and some motivation to create the content in the first place. And the best bit? It’s all business and no fluff!

Share some of your objectives in the comments, or sign up on the right for weekly content marketing chat, with bonus cartoon fun on the side!