Objectives-Based Content

Feb 23, 2017


Key to assessing whether your content is doing what it should be is being able to articulate up front what your objectives for it are. If you don’t know what it’s intended to do and can’t identify (and quantify, in some cases) the business benefit, it isn’t fulfilling its purpose as a business asset.

In a recent workshop at the Content Strategy Applied conference, my co-presenter, Kevin Nichols, and I addressed what objectives-based content is, how to establish your objectives, and how to analyze content against them.

Objectives-based content planning ensures that you have identified the business and customer impact of each piece of content. It allows you to measure performance of existing content and plan for future content.

Defining objectives starts with reviewing all strategic inputs:

  • Business requirements, gathered via stakeholder interviews of cross-functional teams
  • User needs, gathered by reviewing personas, customer journeys, user research, user testing, card sorts, search log analysis, and customer support logs

Then, align those requirements with goals. Example goals might include revenue targets, conversions from prospect to customer, existing customer loyalty.

Now, think about what your content needs to do to support those goals. Think through the end-user needs and ask what content is necessary to fulfill those needs.

Create a map that allows you to capture the business goals and user needs for each primary persona, matrixed against the steps in the customer journey (a typical set of journey steps is Discover, Consider, Decide, Advocate, but there are variants that may work better for you).

Add in content needs. For example, at the Discover step, you may map in content such as campaign landing pages, events pages, major site section landing pages.

Determine how you will measure success of content at each of those steps. For example, at the Discover step, you may decide to track clicks to lower-level content or the response rate to a call to action.

Once you have that matrix in place, you can map in your actual content and begin to analyze it against the goals. In addition to the typical audit criteria you would look at the metrics you selected. The matrix will also allow you to see where you may have content gaps. Keep in mind that each persona may be already at a point along the journey other than Discover. For an existing customer, for example, you would worry less about Discover content and more about content that will help them use your product or service and help them continue to purchase from you—i.e., you are more focused on retention than acquisition of that customer.

For an example of a map, see this article at our sister site, Strategic Content. You can also view the slides from the conference workshop.


Category: Content Strategy

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