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Aug. 17, 2022

Setting & Scoring Your Content Goals

Achieving goals always starts with setting those goals. It seems obvious, but many people overlook this crucial element to many endeavors. I've been guilty of it myself. You may be looking at the end-goal of something, and overlook or underestimate the challenges that surely lie ahead. 

It's great to have a sort of roadmap in place no matter where you are on your journey. Whether you're just starting out, or well down the road, the most successful people are those who have clearly-defined goals - set in place and guiding them as they move forward.

Yes - just as important as it is to start something (rather than plan and dwell on it), it really pays to clearly define exactly what it is you want to do, how you want to do it, and setting a series of logical steps - goals - to eventually get there.

So in this episode of the Towncast Podcast, we're continuing to develop our content strategy before we even press record. It's a prudent step that, on a surface level, may not appear to be the most fun, and maybe it's not...

...but it will surely set you up for a greater chance at success once you get to the work itself.

So let's get into it!

(But first, I'd like to mention: Check the bottom of this post for a PDF that you can follow along and fill out as you read this blogpost or listen to this episode!)

Overarching goal

First, I want you to think about what your overarching goal is. This is the primary goal that you wish to achieve through your content. The contribution that you want to give to your listeners. That feeling you want your listeners or viewers to walk away with, and what keeps them coming back. 

This can be as simple as a single word. Entertainment? Education? Charity? Impact?

Or it could be a sentence or more.

For example, on the Towncast Podcast, my overarching goal is something like: “I want to educate and enlighten every single listener on how they can create content.”

In any case, this overarching goal is critical, and it also can serve as a great tagline or pitch when someone inevitably asks you: “What’s your podcast about?”

Once we have our main goal established, it pays to define some of the finer details a little more. Even if only for your own sake, as a creator, it’s good to establish things such as your target audience, your content identity, and even your core values as a creator.

Knowing where you stand on these kinds of things will help you down the road as you create more content, and encounter forks in the road where you may need to make a difficult decision with no clear answer.

So, think about it... what is your main goal with all of this?

Maybe it's something like...

  • You just want to have some fun provide people with entertainment
  • More than anything, you'd just like make some friends and gain some followers along the way
  • You're going for a mixed blend of education and entertainment - you have something that you want to give to and share with the world, but also keep it light-hearted and human
  • You’re an entrepreneur who is approaching podcasting more like a business - you want to use your content as a vehicle for networking and for increasing your presence within the digital domain

Think about this, but don't think too hard. Usually, your overarching goal is one of the first things you think about when you ponder goal-setting.

Secondary Goals

Once you have that overarching goal set, it’s a good idea to jot down some of your other goals too. In the process of considering what your overarching goal was, you may have come up with a bunch of goals that you have.

Well, good news: you can have more than one! In fact, you can have as many as you like.

Let your mind run wild with the possibilities of what you and your content can achieve, and write down as many as you can.

Maybe you have some personal goals - like you want to use your towncast as a journal to chronicle your adventures about town. Maybe you want to learn more about a particular subject and you’re using the podcast as a vehicle for your own personal development. Maybe you want to give back or contribute to a cause you believe in, and you feel that podcasting is a great way to do that. Maybe one of your goals is to eventually work up to making a bit of side cash, using your content as a side hustle - or maybe even more, depending on how things go.

Goals are highly personal, and they don’t need to be shared far and wide. They can be as big or as small a part of your motivation as you so choose. But if they’re inspiring you to do something, that’s really all that matters.

I’ve found that it can very helpful to write these out, ponder them a bit, develop them, create some action steps that can help you a little bit towards each of these individual goals.

Target Audience

One of the most important aspects of goal-setting for your content is identifying your perfect listener. Imagine that ideal person you would like to reach. Someone who would be interested in your podcast’s topic, interested in your travel vlog, or maybe a local citizen that you want to reach with your towncasting endeavor. In short, who would absolutely love your content?

If you’re having trouble with this, start broad. By your estimation, who would be most likely to listen to your content? Maybe it’s a certain age-range, a certain geographical population, or people who work in particular industry. The characteristics of this perfect listener can be as broad or as specific as you like. But, the more specific you can get, while still remaining accurate, the better.

It really can’t hurt to get granular with this. Get specific. What are some characteristics, traits, habits, likes/dislikes of your perfect listener? Later on, when we’ve got some content ready to release and we’re deploying some early-stage marketing for our show - like social media posting and maybe some features on other shows - it will be very valuable to have this information. The more specific you can get with your target audience, the better it is for the purpose of effective marketing, and content direction.

And if you can’t get too specific right now, that’s okay. Broad definitions are a great place to start for now. You just want to get some idea of that perfect listener in mind.

And here’s another interesting bit for you to consider: your perfect listener - your perfect audience - they may not even realize that they want your content. Think about it, if your content is serving them, but they don’t even know you’re there - well, that’s both good and bad. It’s good because it means that you’ve probably found an untapped niche that there is an audience for, but there’s just not a lot of creativity happening in the space. It’s bad because, well, they don’t know you’re there. So part of your job will be to reach those people and introduce them to the content they didn’t know they needed. But we’ll cover that in a future episode. For now, just spend some time thinking about your perfect listener. Who they are, what they want, and how they want it.

Core Values & Content Identity

Core values. We all have them. Those ideals that are at the, well, core, of who we are. Many people don’t think about their core values everyday - it’s not something many of us walk around thinking about. We just go about our lives and do the things we have to do, and the things we want to do. 

As a personal exercise, spelling out your core values - what you stand for, what you believe in, the ideological pillars from which you live your life and make your decisions - can be really valuable. Going over these things, giving them some serious thought - again, writing them out - can really help you to see things from a wider perspective. 

These tenets are at the foundation of who we are as people. If we apply them to creative endeavors, how does that translate? Well, it obviously depends on what kind of content you’re creating, as we discussed. 

From a content standpoint, core values are very much a similar thing as they would be on a personal level. But maybe a little different, depending on your - yes - goals. What are the core values that you would like to instill within your content - almost, in this sense, treating your content as if it were a business entity, or even more relatable, an actual person. And that begins to walk the line between values and actual content identity.

Yes, there’s an interesting question - if your content was a person, what kind of person would they be? Would it be a direct reflection of you? Would it be something of a caricature? Certain parts embellished, other parts toned down a bit? Maybe you want your content to take on a life of its own, in a sense. This is higher-level, almost philosophical idea - and definitely pushing the boundaries of what this episode is meant to touch on - but it’s an interesting thought. How do you want your content to be received? With a tone of seriousness - as is the case with many non-fiction, personal development content. Do you want it to be purely entertaining - heavy on the laughs and as minimal as possible on the serious talk?

In any case, thinking about what you want your content to stand for goes hand-in-hand with the goal-setting we discussed before. It can also help in beginning to paint a picture of the personality, the character, the identity of the content itself… Whether you, yourself, are front-and-center in every videocast you create - a familiar face people can expect to see - or maybe you’re podcasting and thus only perceived as a disembodied voice. Nonetheless you are there, educating and entertaining, but in a different way. Still, people get a sense for whatever it is they’re consuming. So, be mindful of this and try to steer your content in that direction from the very beginning. Everything from the artistic decisions to the social media engagement is going to have a part in the overall “vibe”, so, be yourself but also don’t be afraid to lean into that creative self and let your content almost take on a life of its own.

It may seem a bit convoluted. But think about this stuff now, before you even press record, and you’ll be at a serious advantage from the start.

Bonus Takeaway

As promised, here is the bonus takeaway for this episode. It's a PDF with some space for you to write out your goals.

Click here for the free PDF!

Feel free to print it out or write on it digitally. I hope it helps you on your way to creating great content.

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Thanks for reading! 

Until next time, keep on sharing the sounds of your community!