Prioritize content topics based on goals

1. Review or define your content marketing goals based on your larger marketing and business goals.

For example: If a major business goal is brand awareness in a competitive niche like online apparel, content goals might include increasing the total views of your web content and product pages.  If a major business goal is increasing online sales for a specific product or product line, content goals might be increasing conversion rates from your owned content to that product’s purchasing decision. Refining or defining your business goals into measurable, timely content goals allows for actionable decisions throughout the content creation process.

2. Create a spreadsheet with a column for each content goal you have identified.

This spreadsheet will serve as your evaluation tool to see which past content fits into what objective, and how it performed. For example, you might have three columns for each content goal: Total content web views. Total engagement rate with content for a specific product line. Conversion rate for content related to specific products or product lines.

3. Inventory your past year of content, assigning each content piece to a content goal you have identified in your spreadsheet.

List any content that didn’t fit into a specific goal at the bottom of your spreadsheet for reference. You can also use the four funnel stages of ecommerce content marketing – awareness, consideration, decision, and delight – as a guide to the types of content that might make sense for each goal. For example, you might have published three pieces of content related to your goal of increasing conversions for your apparel: a guest post reviewing the product from an influencer, a guide to picking the right outfit for a given season, and an explanation of the apparel’s materials and your emphasis on sustainability. Each can help to increase product sales conversions while fitting into a different funnel stage: Awareness: outfit guide Consideration: sustainable materials Decision: influencer review.

4. List all relevant KPIs for each piece of content you’ve inventoried in a column alongside the content piece.

Examples include organic traffic, sales generated, number of shares on social, etc.  List only the KPIs most relevant to the content goal you’re looking to achieve. For example, a guide about outfits serves to help conversions in the consideration stage, which can be measured through sales conversion rates and social media shares.

5. Identify goals in your spreadsheet that have little to no related content listed. Prioritize these topics first for content creation.

For example, if one of your goals is to increase online sales for a specific product, but you have not written any direct or indirect content about that product in the past year, finding topics related to the product should be a priority.

6. Review the KPIs of past content and how closely they connect to their goal. Prioritize updating or rewriting content pieces that closely match a content goal but have performed poorly.

For example, you might have consistently written about a product whose sales you are looking to increase, but have not seen the content result in increased sales conversions. In this case, you can identify new topics or update existing topics around the same product and goal. You might find that content related to one of your content goals consistently outperforms other goals. Prioritize new content for this content goal because it is more likely to support your business goals.

7. Create a priority list of 10-15 potential topics that addresses your evaluation of underserved and underperforming content goals.

Your inventory, including the KPIs of each piece, should give you a good idea of what content has performed well in the past. This knowledge can now translate into a formal list of potential content topics that might resonate with your audience. Keep your topic list manageable. Anything over 15 topics will be difficult to manage, and preferences or content goals might change in the meantime.

8. Refine your priority list to find specific topics using SEO research, internal feedback, and user feedback.

Keyword research can help you find potential topics for the top of the content funnel. Look for keywords that have at least 100 monthly searches but are not too competitive to rank. Tools like Moz and HubSpot can identify both search volume and competitiveness for any given keyword.  Talk to your internal teams about potential topics using your priority list. For example, customer service departments and social media managers can help you identify frequently asked questions about a product and other trends that may narrow down your topic choices. Ask potential users directly. If you have an active Instagram or Twitter presence, use Instagram Story stickers or Twitter’s poll option to find out what topics potential customers would like to learn more about.

9. Finalize your master topic list using workload as the lowest priority tie-breaker. Increase the priority of content that matches all criteria.

This step ensures that you can realistically create all content in your list within your typical weekly workload, without emphasizing quantity over quality. A content piece that matches your goals and audience preferences perfectly should realistically demand more resources and workload. For example, if brand awareness is a major goal, a long-form guide on seasonal apparel may be worth spending more time on than a short, republished customer testimonial.

10. Repeat the inventory evaluation process once you are beginning to exhaust your priority content list, evaluating newly created content to see how it performs against your KPIs.