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Guest Post by Rachell Allen from BoltfromtheBlueCopywriting.com

There are some things that are taken as givens when you’re running a small business: having a website, developing a social media presence, and of course, blogging. It’s one of the first things that people tell you to do when you start a business — but when’s the last time you thought about WHY you blog?

If your first thought is “well, because I’m supposed to,” then strap in, because this post is about to shake up your content strategy.

Here’s the thing: every single thing you do in your business needs to have some sort of ROI (Return on Investment), blogging included.

Are you ready to start getting a return on investment from your blog? You can make your bog work for YOU, instead of the other way around! Whether you're an entrepreneur, freelancer, or small business owner, learn how to set goals that are achievable, plus get the FREE Content Strategy 101 Cheatsheet!

Your content can be an incredibly powerful asset for your business, but only if you’re going about it intentionally, with clear end goals in mind and a process that lets you make the most of them. But the way most people do it, it’s random, the virtual equivalent of throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. And as you’re probably guessing, you can’t count on an ROI from random.

So what should you be doing to make sure that you’re getting an ROI on your content?

It’s all about setting good content goals.

How to Start Getting Real ROI on Your Content!

Think of your content goals as the destination in your GPS on a road trip. They give you a direction to go in and a way to tell if you’re off. But what makes a content goal good? And more importantly, what makes a content goal a good fit for your business right now?

A solid content goal should be specific (so you know what you need to do) and tied to something that you can measure, whether that’s followers, comments, conversions, etc.

So for instance, a bad content goal would be “I want to blog more,” or “I want to grow my audience.” The more useful version of these goals could be “I want to blog twice a month instead of once a month and use those blogs to get people to sign up to my mailing list”, or “I want to grow my Instagram audience and then later, my pool of potential clients by creating an ongoing series of graphics that link to my most successful content.”

OK, but how do you know what’s best for your business right now?

Setting Goals that Achieve a Good ROI

A lot of people set content goals based on other people’s businesses and working models, often because these goals are sold as being “the right thing to do” or someone’s claiming that they made six figures in just six months with this ‘perfect’ blogging strategy.

The truth is, there is no content plan, course, or six-step process that can fit your business exactly, so forget about systems and think strategically instead.

Think about what you want to happen in your business as a result of your content. It’s crucial to understand that there’s no single right answer here — it all depends on your bigger picture business goals. So start by looking at those goals, and then figure out how your content is going to fit into that. Value-test your content goals based on whether achieving that content will get you closer or further away from your big picture goals.

For instance, let’s say that you want to start a group program, and you want to populate that program primarily with people from your mailing list. In that case, you’ll want to use your content to focus on growing your mailing list, which means that you would measure your goal by the number of new subscribers, and then by conversions via email sequences.

But take the same overall goal and change one element — for instance, say that you want to populate your group program via Facebook ad signups. That’s going to mean that you’ll need different types of content to support and back up your ad copy, and you’ll measure your success in terms of conversions. So as you can see, it’s not particularly difficult to set your content goals, but there are nuances to pay attention to.

Once you know what you’re aiming for, it’s time to collect data.

Gathering Data to Determine Your ROI

You can set the best content goals in the world, but if you don’t have the data to tell you whether you’re getting closer to them or not, they’re useless. So once you set your goals and get your content going, you need to be tracking its performance.

Tracking goal performance doesn’t have to be some big, elaborate system; a simple spreadsheet works just fine. The main point is to keep track of the data (this is why you make sure that your goal has a measurable component). Give it at least a couple of weeks, and then see what’s going on, whether you’re getting closer to your goals or not, and why this might be happening.
If everything’s working like a dream, then great, keep it up — but keep checking in. As your business changes and grows, your content goals should too. If things aren’t working, then you have the choice to adjust your strategy, your execution, or your goals. If you can tell right away where the problem lies, then focus on that; otherwise, try changing up your execution first, your strategy second, and then, if things still just aren’t working, reassess your goals.

Reach Your Goals with Good Content ROI

So remember:

— Set goals that are both specific and measurable.
— Make sure the goals are a good fit for your business, right now.
— Track your data, and adjust accordingly.

It’s certainly not as simple as a six-step strategy for super-performing content — but unlike those strategies, it WORKS.

Want some help getting started with the specifics of content strategy? I’ve got a free cheatsheet for you right here that walks you through setting achievable goals, executing them flawlessly, and tracking the right info at the right time — and you don’t even have to give me your email address to get it. Enjoy!

Download the Content Strategy 101 Cheatsheet!

What goals will you be setting for your content to achieve a real ROI, based on the information Rachel shared? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author:

Rachel Allen Guest BloggerRachel Allen is the founder of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, where she helps small and brave business owners like you shake up the world one industry at a time with devastatingly incisive copy and content that gets right to the heart of who you are and makes your readers’ synapses sparkle.

Like what you see? There’s more at BoltfromtheBlueCopywriting.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

The Creative Entrepreneurs L.A.B.