Defining Your Business Objective



Is your team aligned on the purpose of your content?

Is your team aligned?

The sheer number of content pieces to publish or the task of coordinating content creation can become the day-to-day focus for us as content marketers. It’s easy to get caught on the hamster wheel. Some days, making a measurable impact on your business and the daily grind of planning, producing, and promoting marketing content seem miles apart. 

You can bring those two worlds closer together. When you do, your organization will grow, and you’ll be recognized for it. Here’s how to get started:

  • Step 1: Define a business objective for a particular marketing initiative or content campaign.
  • Step 2: Share your content campaign including the business objective with everyone you touch in your organization. This will align activities and bring additional support.
  • Step 3: Keep reading this guide to flesh out your content strategy and start executing your plan

All great content strategies start with a clear business objective. A clear statement of purpose ensures the content is tied to company goals.

The business objective is the first of the four elements of an effective content strategy. Content marketers must strike a balance between company and audience needs. The business objective represents the interests of the organization sponsoring the content.

Business objective statements are most effective when they follow a consistent format. A consistent format makes them easy to write and easy to understand.

Let’s try an example. Think about one challenge your organization is facing. In that context:

  • What is the most important goal?
  • How should that goal be measured?
  • By what date?
  • What product category(s) is involved?
  • What is your offering and who are your competitors related to this?

How confident are you that your team, your boss, and your colleagues in other departments would answer these questions in the same way? Start a conversation and ask them. Better yet, answer them yourself using the template provided in the next section and then circulate for reactions. The exercise of sharing a statement of your business objective is so powerful because it gets the key assumptions out on the table. We’ll guarantee it will make a positive impact on your organization.

A simple template for defining your business objective

It’s easy to capture your business objective in a template like the one shown here.

Take a moment and do this for the challenge you had in mind. Next, string together each element into a sentence for easy sharing with others!

A templated statement to guide you through the process:

  1. Quantitative Goal

    Our goal is to grow [goal, e.g., revenue] by [growth target, e.g., 10%] to [outcome, e.g., $2MM] for [our organization/division name] by [date]...

  2. Competitive context

    ...for our [offering name] with the [product category] category versus [competitor offerings].

  3. Intended audience

    We will win by creating more value for [persona or market segment], who need or desire [persona goal or pain] when they [persona action].

Here’s an example taken using the Cobomba platform to capture the business objective.

Tips for using Google search to help you build a great business objective statement

Search engine results pages or “SERPs” are a treasure trove of data. These pages no longer simply display organic and paid search results. They are home to an array of data that Google serves up based on its search algorithm and knowledge graph. We can tap into that knowledge each time we execute a search query. 

Here is an example of the different elements we may see when executing a search query for “running shoes.”

You may already have a strong perspective on the name of your product category, a list of competitors, and your audience’s pain points. But, with how easy it is to run a Google search, check your assumptions! 

Need more convincing? Consider the following:

  • The product category label your organization uses may not be the product category label you should adopt in your content strategy. It will be more effective to adopt the product category name that is most easily understood by your audience.
  • You may think about competitors as those organizations that look most like you. When it comes to content strategy, your competitors are anyone who is ranking higher than you or is paying to appear on searches for your important keywords.
  • People share how they really feel when they search, and Google keeps track of what they say. Focusing on the goals, pains, and intended actions of your audience is crucial to content success.

Identifying how your audience refers to your product category

The product category label your organization uses may not be the product category label you should adopt in your content strategy. It will be more effective to adopt the product category name that is most easily understood by your audience when planning and communicating your content strategy. 

Running searches on a few alternative product category descriptions will allow you to zero in on the name that most likely resonate with your audience. For example, think about the difference between “quick serve restaurants” and “fast food” if you are McDonalds.

There are a few places to look to check your own category:

  • Paid results - are there paid search results, and are any from competitors?
  • Organic results - Would a customer that wanted to buy one of your products (or that of a competitor) be happy with the top results, or would they be confused?
  • Is there a knowledge graph entry on the right side of the screen with the expected product category information?
  • Are “People Also Asked” questions provided? Do they seem like the type of questions your target audience would ask, or do they sound like the questions someone inside the industry would ask?
  • How many other clues is Google giving that this is a place that your target audience frequents? For example, are there other knowledge graph entries such as Local Results, Top Stories, visual Related Search boxes, or Discover More... tiles?

Here are 3 ways to identify competitors using search:

  1. “Competitors of [my company or product brand]” - look for a visual “related search” box with potential competitors
  2. “[my company or product brand] vs.” - don’t complete the query. Let Google suggest alternatives.
  3. “[one of my brand’s top keywords]” - make note of the organizations represented by the organic and paid results. These are competitors even if you wouldn’t classify them in the same product category.

Give yourself a score on the first C in Content Strategy: Company

What role do the assumptions about your business objective play today as they relate to your content strategy?

If you aren’t at a 5, commit to bumping up 1-level with your current content strategy. Revisit your assumptions about the goals for your content or incorporate a specific business objective into your strategy. This will lead to great conversations, more internal alignment, and ultimately more successful content.

Now you are familiar with the important assumptions you’ll make when planning content that is aligned to achieve your business’s goals. The next chapter (Identifying Your Target Audience) will focus on the other critical stakeholder for your content strategy.  We’ll take a closer look at the relationship between your content and your target audience by exploring the second C in Content Strategy: Customer.