I love acronyms today, but it wasn't always the case. It all started with the inspiring class speech Cher (Alicia Silverstone) gave in what has been immortalized in my mind as one of the best movies of all time, "Clueless." And that's exactly how I felt when she went off on the subject of R.S.V.P.s - clueless.
I asked everyone I knew what it meant, no one knew. I couldn't find the answer, but it didn't keep me from etching "R.S.V.P." on my beautiful gold and cream wedding invitations years later.
Honestly, I'm still not exactly sure about what R.S.V.P. means. Sure, it's just a quick Google search away, but why ruin the mystery? Especially when there are more important acronymns to look up, like S.M.A.R.T.
SMART goals are invaluable to everything we do. From losing weight to launching an inbound marketing campaign, if your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, you're set up for success.
But what if your SMART goals aren't as smart as you think they are? What if your SMART goals are actually pretty DUMB?
Your goals are what guide your content creation. Content that is DUMB - Distracting, Unrelatable, Menial, and Boring - will leave your audience thinking you "Don't Understand My Business."
- Distracting: No one wants to be advertised at. Instead of creating 500 words of “We’re so awesome, give us your money!” your content should speak to a particular problem your target audience might be facing and its solution. Inbound marketing is about being helpful.
- Unrelatable: You’ve heard it a million times by now, I’m sure. The success of your inbound marketing campaign hinges on the robustness of your persona profiles. Creating persona profiles earns you the information you need to speak your target’s language. (Need help with your persona profiles? Click Here to download a free persona profile template!)
- Menial: Are you just trying to fill out a word quota? Readers can tell. Make sure that what you’re saying matters. If you don’t have enough to say to warrant a blog post try another medium instead. Slide shares and infographics are great.
- Boring: There is so much to do in a day, and so little time to do it. Whatever you’re writing about, bring it to life. Being boring is the worst thing you can do to your audience or your brand.
If you want your content to be just as smart as your goals, you have to make your content generation process is SMART too. Aligning your Sales, Marketing, Audience, Reach, and Tracking techniques ensures you overcome many of the pitfalls that can make your content seem DUMB even when your goals are brilliant.
- Sales: Talk to your recruiters! They are on the front lines, in direct contact with your target audience. Make sure you get their feedback and valuable insights into topics like what kinds of questions they hear regularly.
- Marketing: They’re the brains of your operation, but they still need input. Feed your marketing team as much data as possible. Guide and align their goals and output with that of the rest of your institution. Don’t leave your marketing team in a bubble.
- Audience: Everything you do should revolve around your audience. It is only through influencing your audience that you meet your goals.
- Reach: You must know where your target audience goes for information, and you must tailor your content to each platform.
- Tracking: You will never know if your plan is working if you aren’t set up to track the results. Be sure to collect more data than you need on everything you do to make informed decisions about how to proceed in the future.
When your goals are SMART and your process is SMART, your content will likely be SMART too. Your content will be Significant, Memorable, Arousing, Relatable, and Timely. And when it is, you WIN. (That last one isn’t an acronym, it’s just that awesome.)
Well, how’s that for some seriously useful alphabet soup?
Still feeling kinda clueless? We've got a tool for that! Download the free Inbound Marketing Campaign Checklist today!